Focus: One Word for 2014

Focus: One Word

It’s time to create New Year’s resolutions. However, resolutions often don’t last long. I find that the more complex my resolutions or goals are for the New Year, the less likely I am to see them through to the end. Last year, I discovered a key that radically reduces complexity in New Year’s resolutions or goals. Here is the key: One Word. That’s it. Simply determine and focus on your One Word for 2014. Here’s how.

Focus: Finding Your One Word

Last year, I used the simple process in the book, One Word that Will Change Your Life to find my One Word for 2013: Will. “Will” became the central focus of my thinking and my actions for the entire year. That’s why I am eager to share the One Word process with you. The process summarized here is modified from the book. The approach in the book is Judeo-Christian in its orientation. As a Christian, I found the process helpful and enthusiastically recommend the book. However, persons from different faiths or persons self-identifying as non-religious may not easily understand how to modify the approach for their needs. Consequently, these persons may miss out on applying this potentially life transforming tool. I’ve attempted to adapt and condense the One Word process from the book so that anyone can easily use it.

Take Time to Reflect

In order to discover your One Word, you will need to make time to get alone and ask specific questions. One’s One Word is not so much chosen as it is recognized and claimed. It will take some time, some alone time, some silent time for your word to emerge. You can make time for reflection over the course of several days, one day, or a single hour. You choose how much time, but you must take time to focus and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I need? This is not necessarily about what I want, but what I really need. What areas in my life need the most change and why?
  2. What’s preventing me from having what I need? Reflecting on barriers to our growth can be a powerful exprience. Sometimes we discover that our barriers are mostly in our mind or of our own creation.
  3. What needs to go? Are you being held back by past mistakes, past failures, emotional pain, bitterness, or unforgivness. It could even be a job that’s a bad fit. What do you need to let go of in order to obtain what you really need?

Connect, Listen, and Watch

Having identified what your really need and the hinderances to achieving that need. Connect to where you turn to for guidance and direction. For many people, this will be the teachings of their religious faith. Some persons may focus on an ethical code or set of values. Still others, will want to connect with their trusted advisors. In fact, you may want to connect with multiple sources of guidance. After you connect to your source(s) of guidance, then listen and watch. Listen for words that emerge in your thinking and speech related to what you need. Listen to the words of others that connect with what you need. Watch for what is happening around you, to you, and through you that relates to what you need.

Identify and Claim Your Word

As you connect, listen, and watch, focus on the words that best relate to your need for this year. There may be several. For me, it has come down to two or three nearly equal choices. At this point, I chose among those two or three words, the one word that best corresponds to the personal change I want to experience in 2014.

Focus: Live Your Word

This is the fun part! Living your One Word includes making sure that you keep it front and center in your life all year long. It also includes sharing your One Word with others. Here are some ideas, taken from the book, for keeping your One Word always in mind and ready to act on.

  • Create a hand drawn poster of your word or create a computer poster of your word and display it in a prominent place so that you will see it on a regular basis.
  • Keep a journal and write down the insights and lessons learned about your word.
  • Start a One Word dinner discussion once a week where you share your progress with your family.
  • Collect sayings, quotes, or songs that relate to your word.

Be creative, there are unlimited ways to create focus around your One Word.

Finally, share your One Word. When you are ready, share your word with your close circle of friends and family that you trust without hesitation. Give them premission to ask about your word. Sharing your word with others will help you keep on track. Your progress may inspire those persons with whom you shared your word to join the process as well!

Focus: The Benefits of One Word

What benefits from the One Word process can you expect in the coming year? I have experienced what the authors of One Word promise, “One Word will give you clarity and focus for the challenges of a busy, stress-filled world . . . a force for challenging the status quo.” Last year, I found the primary benefit to me personally was greater focus on the personal change I wanted to create.

Drop by this post from time to time in 2014. Leave a comment on the progress that you are making with your One Word. Wishing you a joyous 2014!

Disclaimer: WellSpirit Consulting Group Inc. and Dr. Jeff R. Hale are not affiliated with nor with the authors of One Word that Will Change Your Life . The content of this post reflects the views of its author and not necessarily those of or the authors of One Word that Will Change Your Life.


  • Karen Kleine

    LOVE this concept!! And anyone can do it…Cheers to the New Year 2015 (My one-word resolution is PRIORITIZE :*}

    • Karen, PRIORITIZE – a great word for 2015!! Hope you are off to a great start with that. Keep us posted on what’s working for you.