How to Focus on One Word for the Year

One word for the year

I used to make a long list of resolutions. Then around February, I would have abandoned my resolutions and have fallen back into my old habits. But, about 5 years ago, I stumbled across a bible plan in my app that told me to focus on one word for the year instead.

I found that keeping my focus on one word for the year helped me ACTUALLY accomplish what I wanted to. Especially since I could give up my daunting to do list that I had renamed my “resolutions”. Now that I’ve been choosing a word for a few years, it’s been exciting to see how my life has changed.

It’s never too early–or too late–to decide to start your focus. This year, keep it simple and choose one word for the year to focus on instead of a long list of potential resolutions. Here are the 4 steps you’re going to need to set your focus on one word for the year:

How to Focus on One word for the year

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How to Focus on One Word for the Year:

Reflect on the previous year

There isn’t a way to know where you’re going, unless you know where you’ve been (I’m pretty sure a smart philosopher said that). The first time I ever chose one word for the year, I had made a lot of big life changes. But I knew that there were still a TON more that I wanted to do. The problem with having so much to do though, is that you can’t focus your life.

Think back through your current year. List out all of the things that you wanted to happen, but maybe haven’t yet, as well as, all of the things that did happen (You may need a notebook for this one). Once you have an idea of your past, you can set a better focus for your future.

Take time to meditate

When I set out to find my word, I did so through prayer (It was part of the Bible app after all). Taking that time to meditate and do some soul searching really helped me narrow down my word. The first year, ironically, I chose the word 'Focus' as my inspiration all year. I was setting out to be a writer and needed to actually FINISH a book.

Now that you have your list of things that you want to accomplish, start to meditate on them. Find a quiet space alone to think through your list. What things do you REALLY need to see change in your life? What word--or even phrase at this point--will help hold you accountable to achieve this? If there are a lot of things you want to do (Like lose weight, balance your budget better, change jobs, or any thing else), you will want your word to encompass everything.

Focus on keeping it simple

When I first tried to set a word, I struggled with simplifying it to just ONE WORD (I'm a writer after all). But that's the point of this focus. You have to be specific. Some examples of words I've had over the years are connect, focus, finish, and believe. Words like these can be used as verbs that can work for every category in my life.

That will be your challenge: be as specific as possible. You can only have 1 word. A great tip to help you narrow things down, is to think of active verbs. Remember that every year you will be changing and perfecting who you want to be. For instance, when I chose 'Connect' as my one word for the year, I could use that verb for connecting with people, connecting spiritually, and making professional connections to help advance my career. This is how I want you to select your word.

Be sure to see your word every day

Your word can't be effective if you don't see it every day. I keep up with my word by setting a reminder in my phone. The alarm, with my word as a heading, goes off every day at 6:30AM. It stays in my notifications until I clear it out. This way I remember to take a second each day to focus my intention on my goals for the year (That's also a major step in getting exactly what you want).

Place your word somewhere that you will see it every day. You can do this by creating a vision board, sticking a note on your mirror, or creating a pop up reminder like I did. However will work best for you! By choosing to be mindful and intentional each day, it will bring your closer to achieving your goals.


Congratulations on choosing to focus on one word for the year! I'm telling you, skipping the long resolution list is well worth it. Choosing to focus your intention is setting yourself up to have a VERY successful year. 🙂

And if you want some more goal setting with intention, check out my article on how to get EXACTLY what you want. This is the year we choose to live intentionally.

Focus on one word for the new year

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