Yesterday we talked about a few New Year’s resolutions that could help you get to financial freedom faster.

If you’re not the New Year’s resolution type—or if you typically find yourself forgetting all about your resolution by the time the Super Bowl rolls around—maybe it’s time for a different approach.

My One Word

A few years ago, I heard about the My One Word concept at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Pastor Mike Ashcraft had found New Year’s resolutions to be frustrating, ineffective and ultimately doomed to fail.

As he thought about why, he noticed that most resolutions have something in common: they tend to focus on a negative attribute in need of fixing.

I want to lose weight.

I want to stop yelling at my kids.

I’m going to watch less TV.

See the pattern? When we come up with ways to improve ourselves in the coming year, we tend to zero in on something we don’t like right now instead of envisioning what we hope to become in the future.

Even resolutions framed in a positive light (I want to eat healthier, I’m going to be a more involved parent, etc.) tend to be vague, difficult to stick with and nearly impossible to measure.

The Un-Resolution

That’s where My One Word comes in.

You can explore more about it here, but the basic idea is to ditch the list of resolutions and just pick one word to focus on for the next 12 months.

Many people pick biblical character traits they hope to embody, such as patience, kindness or perseverance. Others go for action words like move, believe or wait.

Adventure, hope, engage and fearless are a few of my words from years past.

When I was single I picked a word by myself; now my husband and I usually pick one together. We like to write it down—or if we can get to a beach, write it in the sand—and take a picture of it. The framed photo reminds us to keep working on our word all year long.

12 Months of Impact

Some would say you pick your word; others believe your word picks you. All I know is God seems to use our words to mold, encourage and challenge us in surprising ways. In fact, it’s not uncommon to choose a word with a particular reason in mind and realize partway through the year that your word has taken on a completely different meaning. Admit it, you don’t get that kind of adventure and intrigue with a standard resolution!

If you decide to try My One Word this year, I’d strongly recommend praying about your word before you make your choice. But don’t overthink it; this is meant to be less stressful than coming up with a New Year’s resolution.

I haven’t chosen my word for next year yet, but as I write this, I’m getting excited about the possibilities.

If you decide to try My One Word in the New Year, I’m excited for you, too. Start thinking and praying about it now and just see how God will work if you commit to sticking with it all year. Change is possible, and adventure awaits.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required Email Address *
About Kristy Etheridge

Kristy Etheridge is a regular contributor to the FaithWorks Financial blog. Having racked up a large amount of debt before using a biblical approach to attack it, Kristy is passionate about financial freedom. She and her husband live in Charlotte, N.C., where Kristy works as a writer for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.