Skip Resolutions – Embark on a One Word Adventure Instead


Did you make New Year’s resolutions in 2017? Here’s what the top ten New Year’s resolutions were for 2017 according to the 2000 people they surveyed.

Perhaps you too made one or more of these resolutions.

While it’s traditional to make New Year’s resolutions, it’s something I rarely do! Did you know that only 1 out of 10 people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them? That isn’t very motivating to me. Given that 55% of Americans don’t make New Year’s resolutions at all, tells me I am not alone.

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I’ve been adopting a different strategy. For the past five years, I’ve adopted a single word to focus on for the year; a word that drives everything I do. Curious about some of the words I’ve chosen? Here are my One Word choices for the past five years:

  • Proactive
  • Faith-full (I know it is not a word, but it is the one God gave me!)
  • Release
  • Receive
  • Refresh

If you’d like to learn more about the One Word concept, checkout the book One Word: a collaborative effort by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon. If you have not yet read it, I urge you too! It’s a short and sweet read!

The results of focusing on a single word for an entire year have been surprising! You just never know where that word will take you. Even when I think I know how God wants to use a word in my life I am amazed by all I have learned, the ways I’ve gown, and how my word has taken on new and deeper meaning. This past year, my One Word REFERSH has …

  • Provided a focus– especially in difficult moments.
  • Stretched me and helped me to let go of old ways of doing things that no longer served me.
  • Challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and try new ways of doing things in all areas of my life.
  • Guided my decisions encouraging me to make them refreshing rather than taxing.
  • Changed my perspective as I actively searched how to bring new life, strength, and energy to the various aspects of my life.

The whole goal of New Year’s resolutions is to motivate you to make personal improvements. Adopting a One Word is a simple way to change your life in positive ways – even unexpected ways! When used as a reference for your life, your One Word encourages you to make better choices that have an impact on every aspect of your life, not just your health or a specific habit. And if you are willing to take your One Word seriously, it will enable you to make life giving changes at a deeper level.

Ready to adopt your One Word? Here’s how you can begin the One Word adventure:

1. Evaluate Your Life

Take time to consider the various areas of your life including your relationships, finances, health, work, intellect, leisure, emotions, and spiritual life. What would improve these areas of your life take them to the next level? What needs to change in order for you to grow in these areas? What do you need that you aren’t getting? What’s preventing you from experiencing satisfaction you desire in your life?

As you answer these questions, do you notice any themes or patterns? What changes would have the greatest impact on your life? What words would sum up these ideas?

2. Seek God and Listen

This is a process. God may not instantly reveal your One Word in the middle of seeking Him. Then again, maybe He will. The important thing is to listen, really listen, over a period of time. He will whisper that word – be patient!

3. Out of Sight, Out of Mind

If you want your One Word to truly have an impact on your life, you have to keep it in front of you! Without frequent reminders, you will forget it and minimize the power of your word. For me, I spend a great deal of time in my office, so I hang my One Word in a prominent place and  I have also made it my wallpaper on my phone. Where ever you need to post your word to keep it top of mind, post it there!

4. Check-In

Routinely check in with yourself. Pick a time that you can regularly evaluate how things are going. Perhaps on the first of the month, every other Friday, or when you pay your bills; whatever works best for you. You may even wish to keep a journal of all that you are learning around your One Word. Look for examples of how you are living your One Word and areas where you can focus on your One Word more. What changes do you need to make to ensure that your One Word is having the greatest impact it can on your life?

5. Don’t Go Solo

Your One Word will be even more powerful if you share it with others – your spouse, a trusted friend, or your coach. Don’t keep it a secret! You will face challenging moments – moments that test your ability to live your One Word during the year. When others know what your One Word is they can help point you back to it when things get difficult. It is one more way to help you fully experience the power of your One Word!

This year will be my sixth One Word adventure.  Every year has been a unique experience. In addition to my One Word I like to add a tagline. This year my One Word is…

ACCEPT: Receive & recognize the gifts God brings your way. He gives good gifts

I’ve already seen so hints of how powerful and all-encompassing this word will be in my life. God has a funny way of showing me my One Word towards the end of November making December a month where I feel like I am living two words for a short time. I look forward to sharing my word journey with you a year from now! I know it will be memorable and life-changing!

How about you – what’s your 2017 One Word adventure been like? How has your One Word changed your life? What’s your One Word for 2018?

© Can Stock Photo / tovovan


Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.


  1. Cindy Colby on December 13, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Hi Marvae! I love this and also have done this over the past 18 years. I just found it was written about and there is a movement for this combined with goal setting! I had heard a word from God for me on New Year’s Eve as I did my dream board in 2000 and it stayed with me. He has given me one every year since sometimes it is the same word or a repeat. Recently God game me one at the Jewish New Year! So I have had two in the past year! Can’t wait to hear what he tells me for this New Year’s! I may need the last word a bit longer! I think I will do a journal with the word and keep a record of things he tells me. It would be nice to go back and read as I have not written them down in the past and some are alluding me. I love to practice what God says I expect he will remind me of some identity words to think of as I approach a new career or hobby! You are a fantastic writer, coach and encourager . . . MOSTLY to me you are my friend! I love YOU.

    • Marvae on December 13, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Oh what fun to journal your One Word journey! It is so fun to look back at all the ways you grown and the ways that God has been at work in your life. I look forward to hearing what One Word God gives you for 2018.

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