For years I have chosen a word to guide me for the year. Selecting a singular word challenged me to pray and seek God about what He would have for me the following year. Each time I decided on a word that I truly needed to work on in my personal life. Here are some of the words I’ve used for the last several years: action, content, and persist. I was struggling with all these things, and they helped guide other goals in my life too.
At the end of each year, it’s incredible to look back and see how the word was truly something I needed to be mindful of in that season. I mean “persist” for 2020? Wow. Look that one up. I can’t say I was perfect in pursuing my goals for 2020, but we all overcame many disappointments and challenges this year. If you don’t know your word by January 1, don’t feel pressured to rush it. Spend time thinking and praying about it. I also have a few helpful tips below.
Why choose one word?
Choosing one word helps guide my year rather than putting strict goals of what I want to accomplish. For instance, the year I chose “action” was the year after I had my daughter. I felt like I was stuck and not doing anything productive as far as my goals outside of being a mom. This word helped guide my year and reminded me when I saw it to take action and not be idle. As I’ve come to learn, inaction is comfortable for me in times of overwhelm, so I have to be mindful of it.
How do I choose my word?
Your word should be personal for you or your family. You don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to. I suggest posting the word somewhere in your home as a reminder throughout the year; more on that below. Try making a list of things you want to focus on for the year, then choose a word that encompasses all of those goals.
Using my word “action” from above summed up so many things I wanted to get done that year. That year was when I finally started this blog. The word action helped me choose something small each day to do to get things accomplished, but I didn’t put unrealistic goals on my year that would discourage me. At the end of the year, I was encouraged by all the areas I saw myself take action.
Questions to ask yourself or your family to help choose a word:
- What goals do we/I have for 2021?
- What kind of family/person do I want to be in 2021?
- What things are most important to us/me going into 2021?
- Are there areas we/I can improve in 2021?
Prompts to help your kids or teens choose a word:
- What things do you want to accomplish in 2021?
- What do you want to do more of in 2021?
- What skills do you want to improve in 2021?
- What’s one goal you want to accomplish in 2021?
2021 One Word Worksheets
I created these worksheets to use personally or with your family. This year, we will choose a word as a family, and I will also be choosing one personally. My daughter is only three, so I don’t think she’s ready for a personal word yet, but I have included worksheets for kids and teens too. Writing things down helps me remember them. You can also display the worksheets. Download the packet below and choose which one you’d like to use.
Each worksheet includes a place to write your word, definition, why, and a scripture. The definition can be from the dictionary, or it can be a more personal definition of what the word means to you. Your why should explain the motivation behind your word. Finally, adding scripture is important. The scripture can specifically mention your word or be a scripture of encouragement for the year.
How do I remember my word throughout the year?
I’ll admit sometimes it’s hard to keep goals, even a singular word, at the forefront of your mind daily, but keeping it posted or displayed somewhere will help. I’m a home decor enthusiast, so I purchased small signs to display in my home for a couple of my words. For your family word, this would help include somewhere the whole family will see it.
You can also keep the word in your planner or journal, as your phone’s lock screen, or on your bathroom mirror. Since it’s one word and not a huge checklist, it’s easy to keep it visible. I also create a board on Pinterest with my word for the year and add scriptures, quotes, and encouragement that I find helpful.
If you’re creative, take time with your family or friends to create a collage or sign to display with your word for the year. Creating something visual with your word will help you remember it too. Plus, it’s so much fun to get creative!
So, do I feel like I have mastered those words in my life? No. I still have work to do on action, contentment, and persistence, but each year, I’m consciously working to be a better person through the word God gives me, and you can too.
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