One Word Resolutions for the New Year

Serene wintry scene looking up a hill while the ground and bare trees are covered in thick white, pristine snow, as large snowflakes are falling to the ground. Contemplating our one word resolutions for the new year

Do you ever see those “one word for the year” captions and posts on social media besides the usual New Year resolutions and goals?

Do you ever wonder: Hey, what’s that all about?

Let’s discover the One Word resolutions together, beginning with a quick history, vision, and mission overall of this 20+ year practice.

Ready? Let’s go!

One Word Resolutions: Introduction

In 1999, Jon Gordon created the One Word concept with colleagues Dan Britton and Jimmy Page at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Gordon, Britton, and Page first began the practice with their immediate families.

When One Word proved to have more lasting power than traditional New Year resolutions or goals, they spread the good news.

They later wrote the best-selling book, One Word That Will Change Your Life.

Following that success, they wrote more books. Then added journals. Expanded the program. And also launched an annual free One Word Challenge.

One Word applies to all dimensions of life – mental, physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual.

One Word means to evoke clarity, power, passion, and change.

Not only at the New Year’s heady and happy start. But also through the ups and downs of all 12 months to come.

One Word Resolutions: Benefits

Consider the exciting flurry of New Year resolutions, goal setting, and self-improvement to-do lists. Unfortunately, these too often turn out to be unsustainable in the long run and thus fall by the wayside.

So here are four benefits of choosing One Word over the initial enthusiasm and inevitable drop-off of typical New Year’s resolutions, goals, and to-do’s:

  • Simplicity
  • Purpose
  • Focus
  • Effectiveness

In short, One Word distills endless list-making to a simple and clear essence. It builds a foundation for the entire year.

In truth, Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page believe One Word changes your life.

Because its simplicity, clarity, focus, and effectiveness can certainly crystallize and catalyze such change.

One Word Resolutions: Your One Word

Choosing Your One Word

Here are four steps in order to choose your One Word for the New Year.

Firstly, set aside the typical New Year’s resolutions. Put away the familiar traditional goals based on results and oriented to outcomes.

Instead, ask yourself perceptive questions, such as:

  • What inspires me and lights me up?
  • When do I hear a whisper in my hopes and dreams?
  • How do I want to make a difference?
  • Where do I want to make a difference?
  • And most importantly, WHY?

Because the WHY underscores everything.

Secondly, write down and reflect thoughtfully on your questions, answers, and priorities.

Thirdly, winnow down the options and choose your One Word to commit and focus on for the year ahead.

Fourthly, write down your One Word, its meaning to you, and the WHY for you. It’s important to write it down.

Writing Your New Years Resolution Essay

Let’s be clear: “Write it down” doesn’t mean that you have to write a long and lengthy New Years Resolution essay, as if you were a student.

The best length to write is as short or as long as you wish. You can jot down a few bullet points, a short paragraph, or, yes, a full essay.

The best way to write is however you prefer. Whether that’s scrawling on scratch paper, captioning a social post, or journaling in a special and beautiful journal.

The choice is yours. Because the content and context matter much more than the length and the format.

Overall, it’s a great idea to capture your perceptive questions, answers, priorities, and One Word ideas. As well as your final decision of your One Word, the meaning to you, and the WHY for you.

Capturing your thought process chiefly helps to consider, clarify, and commemorate the care and consideration you have invested in your One Word inspiration and activation.

What’s more, your “essay” now becomes a valuable motivational reference during the current year and an inspirational resource for future years.

One Word Ideas

Here are some One Word ideas to spark your creative thought process:

Act: Your One Word inspiration can be an action verb, an imperative; for instance:

  • LEAD
  • MOVE

Trait: Your One Word may be a quality you’d like to develop; such as:

  • EASE

Emotion: Your One Word can also be a feeling or expression you’d like to deepen; for example:

  • JOY
  • HOPE
  • LOVE
  • CALM

These One Word ideas are just the start. With a thoughtful mind and an open heart, you will surely find your One Word inspiration.

One Word Resolutions: Our One Word

Every year at Spotlight Sojourns, we pray, contemplate, deliberate, and decide our One Word for use in both our business and our personal lives.

Because for us, the professional is personal. Likewise, the personal is professional.

Once it’s chosen, we commit in writing to the One Word, the meaning to us, and the WHY for us. Both to reiterate and remind us in the months ahead; and to review together at year-end.

Our One Word in Prior Years

Following this practice for several years, our One Word resolutions previously included:

  • NOW
  • LEAP

Our One Word for This Year

For New Year 2024, each of the Hidden Gemologists chooses a different but related One Word and WHY.

Foremost for this author, the One Word continues to be SERVICE.

Because SERVICE is our calling. SERVICE is a clarion call to action.

Additionally, SERVICE encompasses our values, our beliefs, and our faith.

Above all, SERVICE to others is our purpose. Professionally and personally to clients, colleagues, community, friends, and family.

“Serve others first. Then you will be served best yourself.”

For 2024, co-founder and photographer Paul Kostadimas chooses HEALTH.

He describes the WHY and its connection to SERVICE in this way:

“HEALTH is the key to better SERVICE. In essence, HEALTH is the additional directive to fundamentally improve the level of SERVICE in all aspects of our lives, personally and professionally.

One Word Inspiration

If One Word succinctly states our intention, then one poem especially expresses our leitmotif:

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland, wrote the epic poem “Ulysses” in 1833. 

Two centuries later, Tennyson’s magnificent poem rings louder and resonates deeper at the present time than before.

Because it speaks to the triumphant spirit and ageless qualities, which are, not surprisingly, all One Word ideas:

  • Resilience
  • Patience
  • Determination
  • Unity
  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Love
  • Gratitude.

The closing stanza particularly conveys profound resolve:

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved heaven and earth, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

One Word Resolutions: In Conclusion

May you embrace the opportunity and optimism of this New Year. May you find your One Word, the meaning to you, and the WHY for you.

So you can discover its simplicity, purpose, focus, and effectiveness.

And move forward with clarity, power, passion, and change despite, and indeed during, life’s challenges and surprises.

May your One Word help you to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


Check Out More Recommendations

READ: Peace, Light, Love and Joy in the Festive Season

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AND ALSO: Christmas in Lisbon: Best Things to Do in the Festive Season

GET: Now that you’ve found your One Word, get your exclusive free guide to tell your own story easily.

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Is One Word a complete sentence?

Certainly! “Yes” is a complete sentence, for instance. “No” is a complete sentence.

Likewise, One Word resolutions can be a complete sentence, too, as much as it conveys a complete concept.

Are One Word resolutions enough for New Years resolutions and goals?

Yes, if you choose carefully, and commit thoughtfully to your One Word, then its simplicity and clarity can crystallize and catalyze change.

Here’s how to choose your One Word:

  1. Ask yourself perceptive questions; that is: What, when, how, where, and, of course, WHY?
  2. Reflect on and prioritize your answers.
  3. Sift through and select the One Word that overall captures your most important answer and priority.
  4. Write down your One Word, the meaning to you, and especially, the WHY for you.

Then, One Word focuses on and applies to all of your life’s dimensions: mental, physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual.

So, the One Word resolution helps propel you with purpose and power during the year.

What are some One Word ideas?

Here are some One Word ideas to spark your creative thought process:

For instance, One Word can be an action and an imperative: LISTEN, LEAD, BREATHE, MOVE, CREATE, EXPLORE.

Also, One Word can be a trait you’d like to develop. Such as: BALANCE, RESILIENCE, PATIENCE, COMPASSION, and STRENGTH.

Further, One Word can be an emotion you’d like to deepen. For example: JOY, PEACE, CALM, CONTENTMENT, GRATITUDE.

Is it necessary to write a New Years resolution essay?

Remember, writing down your One Word inspiration doesn’t mean penning a New Year’s Resolution Essay like a school assignment.

Your “essay” can be either as short or as long as you want. In whatever format you like: A few bullet points, a social media post, or a beautiful hand-written journal.

Whenever you choose One Word resolutions, at least make sure to write down your specific One Word, along with the meaning to you, and the WHY for you.

Because it’s a good idea and best practice to create this helpful and useful resource for your current and future reference.


All opinions expressed are Spotlight Sojourns’ own.

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