Word of the Year – Setting Your Focus for the New Year

Are you a New Year’s Resolution maker? Do you make yourself a promise at the beginning of each year and hope you’ll stick to it? That used to be me. I would start the year with grand intentions and I would fall flat by February. The all-or-nothing, pass-or-fail approach of a New Year’s Resolution didn’t inspire me, it discouraged me. “There’s always next year!” I would tell myself when I eventually gave up.

Recently I adopted the “Word of the Year” approach instead. Spending the year focusing on one word that sums up my goals is empowering. It is a guidepost rather than an assignment. It is about who I want to be not just what I want to do. Not just changing my behavior; but changing my mindset.

Over the years I’ve developed a process for coming up with a word that encapsulates my goals. Here are the steps I follow:

Start with prayer. I ask God to show me the ways He wants to work in my life and I listen for the prompting of His still-small voice.

Reflect. I look back over the past year. What were my struggles? What were my victories? What do I want more of and less of in the year to come? When I get to December, how do I want to be able to define the past year?

Dig into the Bible. I explore what God’s word says about the ideas bouncing around in my mind. Is there a verse or a passage of Scripture that stands out to me? Is there a hero of the Bible that I can relate to?

Look for a pattern. As I pray and reflect, I look for certain words or concepts that repeat. Is there an overarching theme?

Narrow it down. This is where I pull out the dictionary and thesaurus. As I look over what I’ve come up with, one word will start to stand out. It will appear in bold italics in my mind. That’s my word!

Choose a verse or write a mission statement. This will serve as my reminder throughout the year of what I want to focus on. It will be an encouraging message to keep me on track.

Pray! (Again). Now that I’ve set a course for the upcoming year, I ask God to keep me focused on glorifying Him. I ask Him to help me live out His purpose while striving for my goals.

My word for this year is YIELD! It’s a two-for-one meaning to both surrender and produce! I want my life to glorify God, so I must be fully surrendered to Him. And along with surrender will come fruit produced in line with His plans and His purposes.  

My Mission Statement: I will yield (surrender) as I proceed, waiting on God to make my way clear and moving forward one step at a time because yielding is not stopping! I will yield (produce) a harvest of fruit for the Lord using the time, talents, and treasures He gives me.

My verses:

“Now yield and submit yourself to Him [agree with God and be conformed to His will] and be at peace… Job 22:21 (The Amplified Translation)

And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season; its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity]. – Psalm 1:3 (The Amplified Translation)

Lord, thank You that Your mercies are new every day! Thank You for new beginnings and second chances. I pray that as I head into the new year, You will give me a fresh perspective and an empowered spirit to live all-in for You. I pray that You will give me the strength to yield to Your will with total faith and trust. And I pray that as I remain in You, I will yield a bountiful harvest of fruit for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19 NLT

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