What Your One Word?

Made popular by speaker and author Jon Gordon a great practice people can do as we are in the initial stages of the new year is picking one word to represent their personal vision for the upcoming year.

It sounds easier than it is. For me I spent some days thinking about what the “right” word was. You have all these thoughts, goals, and dreams. How do you put them into a specific word. The word though doesn’t have to take on my whole persona. It is just something I want to be a major theme to various things I do.

When you choose your one word, don’t do it lightly. I think the practice of this 2019 plan is just as much about the process of coming up with it. This word means more is I think is miles ahead of people making resolutions. Resolutions are a means to an end, often for people and early end. Resolutions come off as a checklist we create for ourselves, a to do list that sounds good on paper. As we embark on a new year we can embrace change. Rather than resolutions we need to make changes for life and how we live. Becoming a better person is an all the time things. That’s where the one word comes in. The one word allows us to live our life with a purpose, make decisions with correct aim with everything. Resolutions are limited in their reach.

Pick your word and live life.

Choose One Word That Represents Your Hope To Focus On In The Upcoming Year. One Word That Represents Vision For Your Life And What You Do.

There is a four step process I would encourage you to use. I used it with my students this week as I am taking them through the process as well as we start our new semester. If the word comes to you that is great, if not take time to institute it.

Step 1: Prepare Yourself (Disengage, Eliminate Distractions, What is your mind, soul, and heart feeling?)

Step 2: What Type Of Person Do You Want To Be? (Beyond just “Healthier” or Richer”)

Step 3: Identify The Characteristics Of That Person

Step 4: Choose Your Word

My word for 2019: DEVELOP

I chose this word so I can develop two things. 1) Myself 2) Others

In this year I want to develop everything I am in. I want to develop my mind, body, and soul. I want to develop my skills, both the tangible and intangible characteristics. I think developing the things that can be seen (like more content and blog posts) and things that can be unseen (Leadership, Positive, Caring) will lead to a tremendous 2019. I also want to develop others. I have the opportunity in the present moment to develop students, athletes, and who knows who else if they can read or watch my posts. The same things I want to develop in my own self I want to develop in others. I also want to take the greatness in others and develop it to become even greater. I like taking the one word for 2019 and not just making the focus on me, but on others.

I made note on my poster (I developed and you can access HERE) to also add the definition of the word to give further context. The definition is “Growing or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate”. As I develop I hope to take steps forward and advance. What that looks like I don’t know, but that’s is the fun in this word. I also wanted to make it connected and faith based. I picked three verses from the Bible that I could refer to when I am in need to encouragement.  

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and

looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” - Luke 9:62

 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10


If you look I also made a mention of a dark room in the lower right hand corner. Outlined in black are the words “DARK ROOM”. Why you ask. Well old school photography has this cool process of making great things. Only in a dark room can prints go through a process using photographic film/paper to be laid in a mixture of chemicals and water to develop a magnificent photo. This process is as old as photography is going back to the 19th century. If you wanted a family photo you had to put it in the dark room to be developed. I will be spending time in my dark room this year, for I know it is a way to develop myself and others. The dark room photo process also reminds me that you need to have the right support in terms of people and materials to develop correctly. Wrong chemicals or bad equipment the photo won’t develop plain and simple.

My final mark on the poster was to sign it. By signing it I take ownership of the word. It is officially mine (don’t try and steal my word now). I did not just put a word down to create a cool looking poster. I encourage you to do the same for your word. Own it, make it yours, and have a purpose behind it. Just the other night Clemson University won the college football national championship. Dabo Sweeney is a huge proponent of culture and choosing your own word. I recently found that his word for 2018 was “JOY”. That joy he took into everything he did in 2018 was capped by winning a championship. Thanks Dabo for setting the bar high for one word outcomes!

What is your one word? What vision do you have for your 2019? Stop the resolutions and take on the one word philosophy.

Steven Hovermale