Answers In Love

Winning at Life God's Way

How One Word Can Make 2018 Better for You

My cousin married a wonderful woman who serves others with boundless energy and thinks deeply at the same time. For years we’ve enjoyed searching conversations that challenge both of us to move beyond our comfort zones. I hope you have someone in your life who thinks deeply and challenges you.

The One Word Challenge

Late in 2016 my cousin-in-law sent me an easy-read book entitled One Word. The authors assert the book takes only 49 minutes to read and that’s about right.

The book challenges readers to find a single word that captures a personal theme or vision for the year ahead. It takes longer to find one word than it does to read the book. Finding a personal word involves three steps:

Step 1: Looking in (by unplugging and being still)

Step 2: Looking up (to God)

Step 3: Living out (your theme)

The authors suggest ways to accomplish these steps. They advise from 14 years of personal experience using the one-word strategy and sharing it with others around the country.

I accepted the one-word challenge last year by choosing the word forward. I wanted to quit procrastinating and move toward some intimidating goals. To keep my word in mind I incorporated forward into several of last year’s passwords.

Having a theme word helped me. I made good progress toward doing certain things I found hard to do (Phil 3:14).  My forward theme also helped me move past mistakes – mine and those made by others (Phil 3:13). It even refreshed my heart when I grew weary by reminding me that the best lies ahead for God’s people (2 Cor 2:9).

A second friend shared how thinking on the word light helps her live more effectively. Jesus calls believers to live as light in a dark world (Matthew 5:14-16 ). My friend wants to be light so she repeatedly says to herself, “Light [her name], light”. Focusing on the word light helps my friend make higher-ground choices in vulnerable moments.

It takes effort to find a single word that gives focus and direction to life for a year. I did the work last year and benefited. I am close to choosing a new word for 2018. I believe the authors’ claim that a one-word focus can help us achieve clarity, passion, power and change.

Do You Need One Word?

What challenges do you face in the coming year? What do you hope to achieve? What barriers stand between you and your goals? What focus will help you rise to meet your challenges, achieve your goals and overcome barriers? What theme could help you love God, others and yourself better this year?

You probably can’t answer these questions off the top of your head. Take some quiet, unplugged time to identify what changes you want to make, what goals you’d like to reach and what barriers you want to overcome.

Then take your ideas to God. Ask Him for a word to help you focus in the coming year. Listen for His response by reading Scripture, speaking with believers, listening to inspirational music and even noticing billboards. God will give you the word you need to better live out His purposes (Psalm 16:7).

You can learn more about the one-word strategy by purchasing the book One Word. Also check out the video below and visit for additional insights, stories and downloadable resources.

If you select a word, why not share it in the comment section below? You might find a soul mate or inspire somebody else who needs a sharp focus for the year ahead.

Wishing you a focused and gratifying new year!


About Cheryl Savageau

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

4 Replies

  1. I heard about this book in December and put it on my Christmas list. I did receive it and just need to stop and read it. Thanks for encouraging me to do that!

    1. Cheryl Savageau

      I wish you a great word!

  2. dianestortz

    I’ve never done a one word before, and I haven’t done the process you recommend, but one word did drop into my consciousness a few weeks ago. GENTLE. Gentle with myself, gentle with others, gentle with my opinions. It’s going to be a struggle! LOL.

    1. Cheryl Savageau

      Love that!

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