One Word for the Year: Choosing Where to Focus

Do you choose “one word” for your year? If you’re not familiar with this idea, I believe it originated with the book My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen (which I have honestly not read).

Do you choose "one word" for your year? Is your focus in the right place? How do you choose where to focus anyway? Here are some tips to help.As I have heard it over the past few years, the idea simply put is to choose one word that will be your focus for the year. Anything goes. Faith, friendship, commitment, simplify, believe, pursue…

I pondered New Year’s resolutions, but I decided instead of another to-do list, I needed to work on focusing on the right things and eliminating the excess. So I chose one word as a reminder: priority.

When we allow ourselves to become too busy (and who isn’t, right?), we lose track of what’s most important. We spin our wheels trying to get it all done, but the reality is, none of it gets done really well, and the most important things are often the first to be overlooked

You may be wondering how, if we’re truly trying to do it all, we could possibly miss the most important. Can I ask some tough questions? (Be honest with yourself!)

Is Your Focus Misplaced?

Do you choose "one word" for your year? Is your focus in the right place? How do you choose where to focus anyway? Here are some tips to help.When you get busy, do you replace your quiet time with other things?

When your schedule is too full, do you save unhurried time to spend with your kids?

Does your spouse wonder when you’ll have time for leisure together — without thinking or talking about the many things you’re needing to do?

Do you ever just sit and think? No stimulation — no phone, no computer, no TV or radio? Just quiet, preferably with no time limit?

We have, as a whole, become so busy and over-committed that we have lost our focus. In trying to do it all, we’ve become great at none.


Colossians 3:2 says to “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes what happens when our focus is on the pleasures of this world: it’s all vanity! None of it satisfies like we think it will.

Philippians 4:8 reminds us to keep our focus on the things that are excellent, true, and praiseworthy, which can’t be said of earthly things…

So as I stepped back and looked at my day-to-day craziness, I realized that I’ve lost my focus. I’ve become great at nothing. This year, as each new opportunity comes, I am choosing to evaluate my participation based on whether or not that option helps me attain my true priorities.

Do you choose “one word” for the year? What is your priority for this year?



4 thoughts on “One Word for the Year: Choosing Where to Focus

  1. Good thoughts to consider…and you chose a great word. I’ve selected “one word” for a few years. The simple focus helps my walk with God. This year my word is SERVING.

    • Ooh, that’s a great one, too, Sherida!!

  2. Bruce

    Well stated! “Priority” is a word I constantly remind my students they have control over. “It’s a matter of priorities” I’m often heard saying to them. You’ve chosen a great word for the year! Hopefully, with regular practice, you will be able to achieve your goal. “One word”; great idea!

    • I heard recently that while “priority” came into the English language in the 1400s, it wasn’t pluralized until the 1900s. Which is an interesting thought, since a priority ought to by nature be more important than everything else, and yet we often try to juggle multiple “priorities”… Just a little tidbit your students might also enjoy. 😉

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