For the past six years, I have selected one single word to focus my life on for the duration of the coming twelve months, instead of making a bunch of New Year’s resolutions that I probably won’t keep. This one word is the word I will strive to live by for the coming year.
Identifying a word to live by for the year helps me to keep my focus on a specific area of growth, and helps me become more of the person God has created me to be.
I’ve set my focus on several different words over the last few years. For example, in 2011, I chose to focus on the word passion. This word underlined all I did throughout the year. It defined the year. Everything I did, I did with enthusiasm, and passion was pretty visible in most areas of my life.
In 2012, I chose the word commit. One of my biggest struggles in life has been to stick to many of the things I decide to do. Focusing on this word helped me to address that deficiency.
In 2013, I chose the word intentional. We have a large family, and as a result, we have a lot going on. I realized that I needed to be intentional, especially in my relationships with family and friends, and in my ministry.
In both 2014 and 2015, I chose the word wait. I tend to be very impatient at times, and focusing on waiting helped me see the bigger picture. And, rather than take matters into my own hands, it allowed my faith to grow by waiting on the Lord.
In 2016, my word was prudence. It simply means to use wisdom and discretion in all that I do. It’s actually very similar to the word wait, and God has continued to teach me to be patient and wait on him.
Each year, I choose to identify and implement a single word as a part of my Life Plan. I add this word to the beginning of my plan, and try to use it as a piece of the foundation for every portion of my plan. Some areas are more successful than others.
As I have reflected on my life for the past several months, I have noticed that I have a tendency to try to do too much, especially all at once. We have a very large family, and I find myself multi-tasking a lot of little things. In doing so, I have discovered that I am not being fully present with my family.
I don’t want my wife and kids to always see me as distracted. I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking that their dad was never there, even if I was. I want to be fully present in everything I do.
And so, for the year 2017, my word is Present.
I need to be fully present in all aspects of my life, whether that is with my family, or with friends, in my ministry to others, or in my personal study and growth. It will require self-control, in order to live a life engaged with the world around me, while at the same time avoiding being distracted from what really matters in my life.
It will require courage to stay the course. Because every distraction that crosses my path will be a temptation, and it’s the easier way, to follow those flirtatious temptations. But the easy path isn’t always the best path.
And perhaps the most difficult of all the temptations will be in the realm of social media. Our devices have given us the ability to over-indulge in the social world, and we lose track of what is happening around us, simply because we are thinking about how we can share it with others online. When that happens, we have stepped out of the present, and begun to live elsewhere.
That is not the life I want to live.
I want to be fully present.
That’s the word I plan on keeping in front of me for the year. It will be integrated into my life plan. It will be printed at the head of my goals lists. It will be hung on the wall above my desk so that I can see it daily.
But in order for me to see any growth in my life in this area, I must work at developing the actions of being present… fully present… in everything I do. It may be difficult, but it will help me be more of the man that I was created to be.
Question: Have you selected One Word to live by this year? If so, what is it and why did you select it? If not, should you consider doing so? You can leave a comment by clicking here.