3 Steps to Receive Your Word of the Year

3 Steps in How to Receive Your WOTY

The forgoing of New Year’s Resolutions by receiving a Word for the Year brings intention, focus, and clarity to our lives. There are no goals. No wish lists. Just one word.


Step One: Reflect

As you being 2023, what characteristics would you like to grow in this year? What direction do you sense the Lord leading you for 2023? What do your goals for different areas of your life have in common? If a single word leads to a mental block, then think of a theme that encompasses who you are in this season of your life or the direction you are headed as you transition into this next season of life. Write down all the words that come to mind in a list format, then set your list aside for a few hours or a few days.

Review and Refine
Review and Refine

Step Two: Review and Refine

After taking a break away from the list you brainstormed earlier, review your list and narrow it down to the top five words that ‘jump out’ at you. Write down your top five words.

As you ponder over and pray over your five words, you will begin to see that one word will stand out to you. One word will become highlighted as a type of theme for the coming year.

A Word of the Year is great for our personal life, our business, or for our family. Even kids can receive a Word for the Year. Here’s a great resource to help kids understand how to receive their one word. One Word for Kids: A Great Way to Have Your Best Year Ever, written by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page. Illustrated by Korey Scott. The authors wrote the forty-eight-page book for ages 4-9 years of age. This book makes it easy for young children to discover their very own word.

  • Look In (Into Your Heart) – What one word will help you be your best?
  • Look Up – Believe there is a Word for You
  • Look Out and Live Your Word

The author, Jimmy Page, reads the book aloud. You can find it here:

Receive and Implement
Receive and Implement

Step Three: Receive and Implement

Once you “receive” your Word of the Year, it is time to take action.

  • Find the definition for your word.
  • Ask the Lord for a Scripture and for specific direction in implementing your word in the upcoming year.
  • Spend time exploring your word via books, podcasts, research, etc.

Our one word serves as a guide for the entire year. The simplicity of choosing one word prepares the way for growth. Our intentional focus leads to action to discover the meaning of our word. As we grow in understanding, we gain wisdom, insight, and the ability to embrace our one word.

As you seek the Lord for your ‘One Word’ for the year, you can trust Him to guide you to it, and you can trust Him to reveal Himself to you as you journey with Him throughout the coming year.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

My Word of the Year for 2022 was intentional. After receiving direction from the Lord for monthly-type themes in how to implement my One Word, I found much joy in the journey with Him. You can receive the highlights of my journey here: Intentional Reflections – Strength with Dignity


How to Find Your One Word – Strength with Dignity


New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995), copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

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Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is receive.

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16 thoughts on “3 Steps to Receive Your Word of the Year”

  1. I’ve been beaten up and blasted
    all through this long-suffered year,
    so I think I will get plastered
    and my One Word shall be BEER.
    Pop a Bud at three am,
    foamy mug to meet the dawn
    sets me up for later when
    this grand drunk front can roll on,
    shielding me from pain of cancer
    and associated ills;
    sure, I know that it’s no answer,
    but it sure beats popping pills
    that I do best to avoid;
    can’t abide those opioids!

    Been down the opioid road. Never again. Beer does dull the pain a bit, and cuts the nausea enough to let me eat.

    Besides, there’s no health insurance, and I won’t beggar Barb trying to chase what can only be palliative care.

    1. It’s amazing to find something that actually helps us dull physical pain, relieve nausea, and allow us the ability to eat nourishing foods, Andrew. You have had an intense year, Andrew, and I’m so glad to hear from you in 2023!

  2. I have had a word every year since 2016 and there have certainly been years when I’ve found it very helpful and I’ve been amazed by how God has used a single word so powerfully. Other years it hasn’t made quite such an impact. I’m taking a break from having a word this year but it’s something I’d definitely consider again in the future.

    1. I think a WOTY is helpful when it is a part of our journey, and not a taskmaster. Sometimes, we need a sabbatical from processes, I’m glad you are authentic in your life’s journey, Lesley! Here’s to a grace-filled year!

    1. I’m so glad you were encouraged, Rhonda! Yes, it is a great resource for teachers, parents, and grandparents to give guidance to children in discovering their one word or theme for the year.

  3. Great advice Lisa! For years I randomly chose my word without much thought, and you can imagine how that went! I think your word intentional is leading you into a new year!

    1. I really enjoyed intentional, Donna, and feel like I learned so much in the journey! My 2023 WOTY is leadership and I’m still trying to grasp how to walk it out in January.

  4. it’s one thing I’ve never been interested in doing is the “one word for the year”. But I know lots of people who do, ruminating on that word and gaining a great deal of insight from it. I’m happy for them, but it’s not my thing at all. FMF20

  5. Such good advice here on how to receive our word. Sometimes my word comes to me late in the year, but this time my 2023 word began arriving last summer and kept hitting me again and again. I’m still not sure what all God wants to do with it, but that’s part of the delightful mystery of having a word! I look forward to all that you’re going to share in this new year with your new word.

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