I normally don’t pick My One Word for the year until February 1st (Except for this year- I’ll explain when I post my word next week).  So if you are struggling to land on the “right” word, let me suggest that you “try out your word.”  Here is the process I used for years:

Back in my New Year’s Resolution days I would make my list of resolutions in early January, and then “try them out” for the rest of the month.  It was like a 30 day money back guarantee for my hopes and dreams.  I would spend a month trying to see which of my resolutions I was serious about, and which ones were just good intentions.

This trial period would whittle down my list of resolutions from 10 or 15 promises to about 5.  Then I would enter February with the promises I planned to keep –  we all know what happens with promises.

But now that I only pick ONE WORD, my 30 day trial period has become more about getting clear on what I am looking for and through. It’s more about seeing how my one word could be applied in my life, and less about measuring my seriousness about changing.

I narrow my list down to 4 or 5 words within the first two weeks of January.  I look up definitions, and I find the words in the Bible to see if any verses “jump” out at me.  I spend time praying through each word, allowing God to search me and to reveal my motives and my intentions for that word.  I like this process because it helps keep me from just picking the coolest or most clever word – which is something I have done in the past.

Then with about 10 days remaining in January, I’ll try my possible one words on for size.


You try on your word simply by trying it out.  Take a day and look through the lens of that potential word. See how it works; see how it feels.

Identify how it could apply in the course of a normal day:

  • Were you able to do anything about it?
  • Were you challenged throughout the day by looking through the lens of this word?
  • Did you discover any unexpected implications revealed by this word?

At the end of the day, reflect on what you have seen with this word as your focus.  Write down what you learned: What surprised you? What encouraged you? What challenged you about it?

If you work through this process, you probably won’t try on all the words from your possibility list.  I know for me, after the first two or three, I can pretty well lock in my word for the year.

So if you are struggling to pick your word for 2017 – just pick a potential word today and try it on.  Engage in the process and see where it takes you.

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