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Why I Am Not Choosing One Word This New Year

Years ago the trend began. Every year people are encouraged to pick one word for the new year. One word to guide them through the coming year. One word that describes the type of year they want to have, or a personality trait they want to develop throughout the year.

I’ll be honest, I loved the concept of this tradition.

However, I always struggled with committing to it. And when I finally found my one thing, it was so revolutionary it wasn’t just a year-long phase, it was a life-altering calling.

But maybe I should back up…

My One Word Struggle

I use to watch everyone pick out their one word with an uneasy sense of awe. I always felt a little bit left out. Like they had something I didn’t.

Everyone would post their one word online with enthusiasm, and I would wish I had the confidence to pick out a word like them. I was left feeling unworthy. Like I didn’t measure up.

Have you ever watched other women pick out their one word and felt less than? Me too. Share on X

I always wondered how they could come up with such great words that were so perfect for them, when I loved words so much, but could never think that far ahead.

My first attempts at picking a word fell flat. At the end of the year when everyone else was celebrating, I felt awkward and disappointed. I wanted to try again, but I still didn’t feel confident in my word picking abilities.

Why I'm not choosing one word this year... #oneword #newyear

Am I the only one who has ever struggles to pick a word? The only one who has looked at other women and their words and felt less-than?

One Word vs No One Word

Somewhere along the way, I stopped looking for words.

Last year, I posted that my phrase for the year was “Point to Jesus.” But it wasn’t just my phrase for the year, it’s my life phrase. My purpose.

The last several years I haven’t even wanted to pick “one word” because my word is always Jesus. Just Jesus.

It’s not that my word was always Jesus. It’s been a long road from where I was to where I am now.

I remember the first word I ever chose was “doulos.” It was back when John MacArthur had just released his book, “Slave,” and I was really impacted by it. I wanted to be sold out for Jesus, but I wasn’t. Not really.

It’s amazing what a difference eight years can make.

Growing With God Without One Word

I am so much more comfortable in my own skin now. And that’s because of the work Jesus has done in my heart. I’m not the same person I was eight years ago.

God is continually working in my heart, drawing me closer to Himself, making me more like Him.

I don’t need a word this coming year, because I have the Word. And He’s enough.

Why I'm not choosing one word this year #candidlychristian

I don’t know where this year finds you, and if you are one of those amazing women who already has a word, that is fantastic. There is nothing wrong with picking one word to guide you through the year. Please don’t think I am saying otherwise. I’ve just learned that it’s not for me, and that’s okay.

But if you are like me and struggle with picking a word, don’t sweat it. Don’t be intimidated by the women who make it look, not just easy, but wonderfully advantageous. If your heart is yearning for a word and you don’t have one, I encourage you to let your word be Jesus this year. Because you can never go wrong with that.

Join The Conversation

So, let’s hear it. Do you have one word for this year Let us know in the comments below.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” ~ Philippians 1:6

What's your one word for this year? Heather isn't picking one this year. Here's why… Share on X

Start Your Year

At the Feet of Jesus

One of my favorite people in all of Scripture is Mary of Bethany. She had a heart for Jesus like none other. We first meet her in Luke 10, sitting at the feet of Jesus. Later, in John 12, Mary returns to the feet of Jesus, dousing them with expensive perfume and wiping them clean with her hair.

While Mary is my favorite person in the Bible, I started to wonder about others who spent time at the feet of Jesus. My name is Heather Hart, and I would love to invite you to sit at the feet of Jesus with me in my newest devotional book, At the Feet of Jesus.


  1. Yes! I had the same struggle with picking that one special word. I even wrote a similar post as this a year ago. I left myself open to God’s leading and had Him give me a focus. He gave me a word several months into the year and I didn’t even realize it until someone else mentioned it to me. I knew God was showing me something and on the last day of the year I know why. This coming year, He has made my focus clear early on, thankfully. Thanks for this great post!

  2. Sometimes the Lord gives me a word, and some years He doesn’t. I don’t force it, and I don’t sweat it. I’m learning that just because others do, or don’t do something…it’s on me if I let that make me feel a certain way. So some years I have a word and some years I don’t. Others it develops more slowly through study of my Bible. I’m sorry it has caused you stress but glad you found a way above it by choosing more of a lifelong word instead of a yearly one. Do what works for you 🙂

    1. I think it’s trying to force it that was my biggest problem for years. I wanted to be part of the movement, so I pushed it and it forcing it never worked. Learning to be okay either way is the key. Thanks for stopping in, Crystal.

  3. I love this post, Heather! I was never much of a word-picker either. Our pastor encourages us to search the Scriptures and find one of the hundreds of names of God and claim that for the New Year. Honestly, even this has always been a struggle for me. I felt like I needed to predict what might happen in the upcoming year and pick the appropriate name for whatever I would probably face. I can now see how wrong I had it! May we simply focus on Jesus Christ – the Word! You said this beautifully! I actually did decide to pick a word for the year this year, but it’s not because I forced it. It’s because this word won’t let go of me. No matter where I turn, there it is. We’re in a season of difficult pregnancy illness right now, and I’ve been a bit discouraged. But time and time again, the words of Hebrews 6:19 are set before me. And so my word and my name of God this year are one and the same: Hope. I thank him that he is our living Word and our living Hope!

    1. I think that’s the best way to do it, Stacey. When God presses a word on our hearts and we know it’s from Him, that’s totally different than trying to fit ourselves into a mold because everyone else is doing it. So thankful that no matter what comes our way, Jesus is our living Hope. What a great word. Happy new year!

  4. I don’t have a word either, or even a resolution this year. Part of me feels guilty for that, but the other part wants to rest in his grace!

    1. Definitly rest in His grace. I don’t do resolutions either. I just think we are all created differently and some of us weren’t built for these kinds of things, and that’s okay.

  5. What a beautiful perspective. I enjoy picking a word, it has been useful to me (most years). BUT, that said, it is just an “if you wanna” kind of thing! Good for you, and I love how you have “the Word”. Happy New Year!

  6. This is the first year I’ve ever chosen a word for the coming year. I chose “faithful” because this past year I made a huge leap of faith in my personal life and truly learned about God’s faithfulness. I never really understood the concept and really only came to know Christ about 5 years ago. This was the first year I put my faith to the test and just put it all in His hands. This coming year, I don’t ever want to forget this word – Him being faithful, but also for me to remain faithful as well.

  7. I love this and your different perspective! It’s so important to not settle with conforming to the world. I agree with most of what you said in reference to making one single goal/resolution for the year, which is why I’ve geared more towards choosing one word to encompass the various things I want to work on rather than “losing X pounds” or “eating healthier”. It’s easy to fall into the worldly standards of New Year resolutions, but keeping our eyes on Christ can steer us in the right direction! Thanks for sharing, Heather!

    1. Yes! I love the concept of choosing a word instead of making resolutions. I’ve just decided it’s not for me, and that’s okay. And it might just not be for me in this season, but maybe next year or in five years, God will place a word on my heart, and that would be awesome. I’m just done trying to force it.

  8. Hi Heather – I love that you feel comfortable doing what works for you and writing about it. I started choosing a word a few years back and love it. My words stick with me for years to come. However, I sit down each January (not Dec. 31st) and spend some time with God looking back and forward for what he wants for me for the year. It takes me a few weeks to choose a spiritual goal.

    In January, I offer a packet on my website on choosing a spiritual goal and verse to go along with it. It walks you through with worksheets looking back and forwards to see how our relationship is growing with God.

    It takes me weeks to choose and hear what it is God wants for me and from me. I am also very open to God changing it throughout the year.

    Great Post!

  9. Heather, my heart sank a little as I read your post. First, let me be clear that I applaud you for standing on what you believe and sticking with what works for you. But you see, I’ve chosen a word for the year faithfully for several years now and I write about it every year (sometimes sharing my word, sometimes not — long story). The thing is, I never, ever want to discourage someone else or make them feel less than. I’m not quick to jump on any bandwagon and I don’t want others to feel obligated to do the same things I do. My prayer is for us to rest in grace in the place God has led us — with or without a word. As you said, the Word is truly what matters.
    Thanks for being real, vulnerable and full of grace.
    Blessings to you in 2019 and beyond!

    1. Oh Marva – The saying, “It’s not you, it’s me” could never be more true than it is here. It’s the dreaded comparison trap that we all get sucked into. I looked at other confident women who were thriving and couldn’t help but feel like I didn’t measure up. It wasn’t their fault (or yours), it was my own for not resting in God’s grace sooner. For believing the lies of Satan and giving him that foothold.

  10. This year was the first time I heard about this pick a word thing. I used Dayspring’s quiz to pick mine because I was at a loss, too. It was a short fun little quiz and gave me a sort of one sheet planner to use to get me started on growing with that word.

    Anyway, I haven’t set new year’s resolutions in many years because I never keep them. I’m hoping I can focus on my word (delight) and learn to delight in the Lord each day growing closer to him in the process.

    1. What a great word, Nicole! I love how many resources have come out in recent years for helping us pick words. It makes it a little less of a struggle, doesn’t it?

  11. I began three years ago. Not one to worry about trends (there are too many and I can’t keep up!!), each time, the word appeared in my head and I’m grateful I was listening when they did. I could’ve studied them more, “done” them more, but each was beautiful and timely. I look at it as another way to know God’s purpose for me better, and this year’s Worthy is exactly what you mentioned above (I’ll post on it in two weeks – behind, see? (: ) : that God needs to be my Main focus. I guess we believers could call it: Our Main Thing of our lives. (: Next to you at Grace & Truth. Late in the day. It’s been a full one.

  12. “I don’t need a word this coming year, because I have the Word. And He’s enough.” Amen! He IS enough.

    I just pick a word because it helps me to focus. For instance, this year it is consistency. Because I am not consistent!

    But the thing I always want to focus most on is Jesus. He alone is worthy of all my attention!

    1. I love that God created all of us differently. Where a word stressed me out and took my focus away, it helps others focus and do amazing things for Jesus. And that’s what it’s all about.

  13. “I don’t need a word this coming year, because I have the Word. And He’s enough.” Amen! He IS enough.

    I just pick a word because it helps me to focus. For instance, this year it is consistency. Because I am not consistent!

    But the thing I always want to focus most on is Jesus. He alone is worthy of all my attention!

    1. Amen! And there is nothing wrong with picking a word. That’s definitly not what I meant to say, it’s just not for me in this season. I love your word, and the way you hope to apply it. Here’s to a great 2019!

  14. I love this post sweet sister! I know for myself, I haven’t been picking or choosing the word I want but more prayerfully listening for the word God had for me. It has been really awesome to watch God walk me through the year and manifest what He meant by the word He gave me at the beginning. Beautiful post! Thank you …

    1. That sounds wonderful, Donna! I love how God made each of us unique. So glad you found what works for you. I know having a word from God can be powerful.

  15. I’m so with you on this. We can’t grow with God using just one word. He is continually walking with us and working in us. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I’ve never picked a “word for the year”. Not sure if God often tells us ahead of time what he’s going to focus on for a whole year’s time. It’s just a human trend. Not a bad one, I might add. But I think, like many other “Christian traditions” the sometimes evolve into requirements. Your thoughts are right on!

  17. I’ve never been one to follow people just for the sake of it.
    Sometimes God gives me a word for the month or the year and it’s fine. Besides that, I don’t bother.

  18. I loved your post! However, I love choosing just one word for my year. I find that God actually chooses it and teaches me so much through it. Last year my word was ‘chosen’ and I thought that I wasn’t finished with it quite yet. S in prayer I happily told God that I would continue with it for another year but He said no! He told me my word is ‘trust’. I keep seeing that word everywhere and it makes me tearful because I know that I have a lot to learn!

    1. I love that God made each of us unique, and that He speaks to each of us where we are. He is so good! Praying you have a great year!

  19. I’ve never chosen a word either. Just never felt compelled to. Loved your conclusion, “If your heart is yearning for a word and you don’t have one, I encourage you to let your word be Jesus this year. Because you can never go wrong with that.” Jesus is always more than enough!! Blessings!

  20. Heather,

    I love your post! I was feeling a lot of the same things as you and thought maybe something was wrong with me. I didn’t want to pick the “wrong” word or put my focus somewhere maybe God wasn’t leading me, or even miss other areas of focus because I only had one word. The struggle is real LOL!
    Thanks for reminding us to always keep our focus on THE Word!! Can never go wrong there. 👍

  21. I tried a couple times to “fit in” by choosing a word for the year, too.
    I “failed” so I don’t choose one anymore. Thanks for this conversation. I finally fell like I “fit in” here. 😉

  22. I’ve had words ever my year except the last few when God asked me to let go of so many things, then I felt like last year was going to be a Clay in His hands even more year, so I went with clay and it was the hardest year of my life. I still don’t have one for 2024 but think it’s letting the Holy Spirit lead that is what matters. Forced things are not right, I don’t think? I love this post and think Tiffany Montgomery’s explanation was the closest that resonated, besides yours which is definitely something I’ve felt before. I felt it a week ago when I realized how far into the year we were. You’d think I would not lose track of time beings it’s Dec but we had actually taken a break from a lot of traditions the past few years too, so it’s been very different and I’ve experienced feeling like a foreigner all the more. It wasn’t out of legalism but stepping back to make sure it was Biblical and then praying and letting God lead each time. I commend you for writing this! We need to hear both sides of things.

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