|A student at Hudsonville High School displays her one word resolution (photo courtesy of getoneword.com).|
New Year’s resolutions could become a thing of the past.
That is, if the 88 percent of Americans who failed to achieve their goals in 2014 find a better approach for 2015.
“This year, choose a single word that will give mean, focus, and purpose to your life,” said Dan Britton, coauthor along with Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon of the popular self-help book, “One Word That Will Change Your Life,” ($20, Wiley/getoneword.com). “No matter how busy or stressed you are, or how many distractions and obligations are fighting for your attention, it’s easy to remember one word. Believe it or not one word has the power to impact your life so much more than a laundry list of resolutions.”
The three authors have been practicing the “one word” strategy for almost 20 years and as motivational speakers have shared their process with numerous audiences, companies, professional sports teams and schools with great success. A visit to their website reveals numerous photos of sports teams and students expressing their one word resolution and success stories.
“Your one word represents the essence of what you want to accomplish during the year, but instead of burdening you with a list of tasks to do, it keeps you focused on an overarching concept of how to be,” said Jon Gordon. “No matter what slings and arrows life throws your way, your one word can endure and adapt.”
Gordon’s one word for 2014 for example was “serve.”
“(This) inspired him to approach his work and family with a servant’s heart and to put others’ needs before his own,” explained Britton. “And mine was ‘one.’ Unfortunately, leaders often focus on how many they are impacting instead of on how they are impacting each individual. My word reminded me that great leaders, care about each person and invest in one relationship at a time.”
|A Hudsonville High School student (getoneword.com).|
So what one word will you choose?
As Britton explained the key to picking the right word is to make time for reflection, introspection, meditation and prayer when considering what you want your one word to be. “Think about the positive changes you’d like to see in your life, bad habits you’d like to break, and goals you have for yourself. Look inward and ask important questions like, ‘What do I need? What do I want?’ Then see if any common values or themes or specific words bubble up.”
The authors also suggest listening to your intuition when picking your one word for 2015.
Sometimes we tend to overthink things. While it’s a serious commitment the point is not to make your “one word” impressive or extraordinary but rather influential and impactful for you.
“A few years ago, I absolutely couldn’t decide whether I wanted my one word to be ‘surrender' or 'enjoy'” said Gordon. “While jumping into the ocean on New Year’s Day, which I do every year, I felt a sharp pain in my knee and had trouble walking out of the surf. I thought to myself, not a great way to start the year – maybe I’m pushing myself too hard. As I reached the shore, I heard the word ‘surrender’ loud and clear. My intuition had spoken and I listened. I knew it was my word.
It’s also important to figure out what your one word looks like in real life. Think beyond the word’s obvious definition and what it might look like when applied to your life.
“While you may have intended your one word to apply to a specific area of your life, chances are, its sphere of positive influence is much wider,” explained Page. “For example if your one word is invest, it might prompt you not only to be a good steward of your money but to invest more emotional capital in your family and to invest some time in your professional growth.”
Your one word should be visible on a daily basis. Consider posting your one word on the refrigerator or a bedroom mirror. Your reminder could be as simple as a sticky note or as elaborate as a decorative poster.
“Over the years, my coauthors and I have seen people get really creative with depicting their one words,” said Britton. “Some people have depicted their word in jewelry. We know of corporate teams who each write their word on wooden spoons that they take back to their desks. And every New Year’s Eve, my family and I paint our words on small canvases and hang them on a wall of our home.”
|A collection of one word examples from Hidden Lakes Elementary (photo courtesy getoneword.com).|
Encourage others to join you.
“Imagine the impact if everyone in your family or team helped each other live their words,” Gordon said. “My wife, son, daughter and I share our words with each other every year. It’s inspiring to see the word everyone chooses and how it shapes their lives throughout the year.”
It’s not necessary but keeping a record or journal of your one word progress can be a great way to reflect back a few years from now.
“At the end of the year it’s helpful to perform a one word review,” notes Page. “Consider the past 365 days and ask yourself, ‘How has my life changed because of my one word? What lessons did it teach me this year? What blessings did it bring to my life?’ Even though I’ve been living the one word process for almost two decades, I’m always surprised by how much my word has impacted my life when I look back on the previous year. And it’s nice to have a record of how my words have helped me grow, achieve and learn.”
“One Word That Will Change Your Life, Expanded Edition” authors Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon offer the following list of potential “one words” to inspire you in 2015: