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.

Do you ever see those “one word for the year” IG captions and social posts, alongside typical New Year resolutions and goals?

Do you ever wonder: What’s that all about?

Let’s find out, beginning with a quick history, vision, and mission overall of this 20+ year practice.

Intro to One Word

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

They first began the practice with their immediate families.

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

They later wrote the best-seller One Word That Will Change Your Life.

Following that success, they wrote more books. Added journals. Expanded the program. 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 up and downs of all 12 months to come.

Benefits of One Word

Consider the flurry of New Year resolutions, goal setting, and self-improvement to-do lists which often fall by the wayside.

Instead, four benefits of choosing One Word are:

  • Simplicity
  • Purpose
  • Focus
  • Effectiveness

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

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

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

How to Choose Your One Word

Follow these four suggested steps to choose your One Word for the year.

Firstly, set aside typical New Year resolutions and outcome-oriented goals.

Rather, ask yourself perceptive questions such as:

  • What inspires me and lights me up?
  • When do I hear whispers to 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, reflect on the answers.

Thirdly, winnow down and choose your One Word.

Lastly, whether you prefer jotting in a journal, captioning a post, or scrawling on a Post-It note,

Write your One Word and the WHY down.

Our One Word

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

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

Once it’s chosen, we commit the word, and the WHY, in writing. Both to reiterate and remind in the months ahead; and to review at year end.

Our One Word in Prior Years

Our One Word previously included: NOW, FOCUS, INSPIRE, OPPORTUNITY, and FORWARD.

In 2022, One Word became two: A different word, and a different WHY, for each founder.

Paul Kostadimas chose COMEBACK. He described it thus:

“People say all the time, ‘I want to return to normal.’ But there’s no returning to the way things were. There’s only the now normal and the next normal.

Still, I’m used to doing things a certain way. During lockdown, I developed different habits. I want to eliminate those bad habits. Restore some of the good habits that made me a better me.”

I chose LEAP.

“Leap into action. Leap with courage and confidence. Leap with faith, hope, and love.

Because a leap is movement forward. Movement is momentum. And momentum is mighty.”

Our One Word for This Year

In 2023, our One Word is SERVICE.

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

SERVICE is our calling, a clarion call to action.

SERVICE additionally encompasses our values, our beliefs, our faith.

Paul describes imperative in this way:

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

Our Poetic Inspiration

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

The epic “Ulysses,” written in 1833 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland.

Tennyson’s magnificent poem rings louder and resonates deeper at the present time.

Because it speaks to the triumphant spirit and the ageless qualities of:

  • 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.”

In Conclusion

As we step into SERVICE, may you, too, surely embrace the opportunity and the optimism of this new year.

May you also find your One Word, its meaning, and its WHY.

Discover its simplicity, purpose, focus, and effectiveness.

Move forward with clarity, power, passion, and change.

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


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