Christmas is over, New Year’s has come and gone, and we’re back to the everyday routine of life—right? As we get started into this New Year, rather than making resolutions which never last very long, I want to once again encourage you to choose “one word” as your theme for 2021.

I’ve been doing this for the past few years—choosing one word to focus on all year—one word to think about and pray about and remember. I first got started in this practice after I read the book, My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen, and I highly recommend the book to you. The subtitle for the book is “Change your life with just one word.”

You may be thinking, “How can one word change my life?” I admit it sounds like a bit of an overstatement, but words have power. When you look at the 29 times that words are referred to in Proverbs, you will see that words can be perverse and seductive, they can ensnare you and pierce you like a sword. Or, on the other hand, words can be wise and insightful, they can be just and pure, they can bring healing and comfort, they can be gracious and sweet. Words have the power of life and death.

So, choosing a word—the right word—to focus on for an entire year can indeed effect personal change and spiritual formation in your life. It’s not a self-help program; it’s a way to change your thought life—to see things through God’s eyes. And when you and I become truly focused on changing our attitudes and our thought patterns, then we open ourselves to wonderful changes by the power of God’s Spirit.

How do you choose your one word for 2021? Well, first think about some things you would like to change about yourself. For example, patience might be an area where you know you need improvement. Or discernment; that was one of my words in the past, as I recognized that I am not naturally a discerning person.

Or you might choose a word that exemplifies areas where you want to grow, such as wisdom or thankfulness. As you think and pray about what your one word will be for 2021, you will be amazed at how that process will lead you to the right word for you.