How to Find Your One Word

Finding One Word

One Word

Choosing one word for the year brings focus and clarity. No goals. No wish lists. No New Year’s resolutions. Just one word.

A single word acts as a guide or focal point for the year, helping us intentionally seek God, and grow in wisdom. It’s good to release expectations with their limiting parameters and allow God to lead us in understanding our one word.

God can and will help us grow in our One Word throughout the year.

The simple power of ‘One Word’ is that it sticks. Our word doesn’t have to be complex or unique; it just has to be relevant to the current season of our life. Once we find our one word for this season of our life, we live it and share it.

How to Find Your One Word

Here are a few pointers to get you started finding your One Word for the year.

  • Ask the Lord for a Word. Take time to listen for His still, small voice.
  • What word pops into your heart or mind when you hear the phrase ‘One Word.’ Write it down.
  • List out all the words that describe the season of life you are experiencing right now. [Example: light, blessed, empty, uncertain, steadfast, simple, etc.]
  • List out all the words that describe your heart, thoughts, and emotions as you think of this coming year. [Example: excited, anticipation, fear, overcome, faith, brave, tenacity, grateful, joy, hope, etc.]

Over the next few days, you will recognize one word that is highlighted repeatedly to you, and which seems to be perfect for the upcoming season.

Helpful One Word Resources

My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word, written by Mike Ashcroft and Rachel Olsen. Narrated by Tommy Dylan. Audible 4 hours and 22 minutes. [Available in Kindle and Paperback]

In the book, My One Word, the authors make it clear that a single word doesn’t change us, but when we get into position for God to change us, He does.

My one word is simply a doable way to support the formation process of our hearts until we’ve gained the strength necessary to live fully from the inside out. We depend on Him, and God forms the image of Christ in us. ~Ashcroft & Olsen, My One Word

Recommendations for choosing your one word.

  • What kind of person do you want to be? (Not behavior modification, but character modification)
  • List the characteristics of the person you would like to become. (Fill the page with characteristic words – being words and doing words)
  • Mark off words that resonate the least with you. Reduce the word list to ten words or less.
  • Write down a brief description of each of the remaining words. (Definition from a dictionary. Synonyms. Scripture verses.)
  • Pray and ask God for clarity of mind as you think about your short list. Ask God to highlight one word.

God will honor your faith in Him to effect change in your heart through the process of seeking Him about your word. You don’t have to fear ‘missing it’ or getting the ‘wrong’ word. God will use any of the words you pick.

Change is possible. Focus is required. Commitment to depend on Him. Our effort centers on remaining in a focused position for a length of time while depending on God’s ability to do in us that we cannot do for ourselves. ~Ashcroft & Olsen, My One Word

This is an outstanding book, and I highly recommend it.

One Word that will Change Your Life: Expanded Edition, written by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page. Narrated by Jimmy Page. Audible 1 hour 3 minutes. [Available in Kindle and Hardcover]

In the book, One Word That Will Change Your Life, the authors show us how to find, then implement our one word. Their book offers a simple process for determining our One Word.

  • Look In – Prepare your heart. What do we need? What’s in our way? What needs to go?
  • Look Up – Discover your word. What does God want to do in us and through us? We want a God word, not a good word.
  • Look Out – Live your word. Keep your word front and center. Live it out by sharing it with others and actively practicing your word.
  • Spread the Word, gave examples of how people found and implemented their words. It was helpful to hear the stories, yet it sounded like a continuous sales pitch which was a negative for me.

The first three sections are simple to hear and to implement. It’s a good audiobook.

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. They 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 one 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

I feel like the authors did a fantastic job simplifying the one word discovery concepts, making it easy for parents to guide their young children or educators to lead their students in recognizing their one word. The story takes place in the classroom. The illustrations are lovely, and the book has a positive story line.

The author, Jimmy Page, reads the book aloud. You can find it here: One Word for Kids – Book Reading with Jimmy Page

One Perfect Word: One Word Can Make All the Difference, written by Debbie Macomber. Narrated by Beth DeVries. Audible 4 hours 40 minutes. [Available in Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover]

One Perfect Word is primarily Debbie’s reflections of God’s faithfulness to reveal Himself to her through the years in her ‘One Word’ journey. Debbie says to choose and explore your word. She says to find your one word; you need to:

  • Listen to God and listen to your heart, then choose your word
  • Spend time in God’s Word
  • Spend time exploring your word
  • Record what you learn in light of what’s happening in your life
  • Keep your word in front of you all 365 days

Practicing your one word is a form of meditation by spending 365 days pondering its meaning. ~Debbie Macomber

One Word Encouragement

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.

Our ‘One Word’ can be used individually, as a family, as a teacher, as a business owner, as a team leader – anywhere. Our one word provides a focused yet straightforward approach to the next year of our life, family, class, business, or team’s group.

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 3:5-61


I reflect on my One Word for 2021, Harvest.

Want accountability? Want to Join a Group for Your One Word 2022? (


1New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995), copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member #bgbg2 #BibleGateway

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30 thoughts on “How to Find Your One Word”

  1. Lisa, hi! Although I’m not doing a OneWord this year, I appreciate all the resources you’re sharing … the accountability Lisa’s group and linkups gave me last year was truly helpful and fun. It was the first year I focused on it throughout all 12 months.

    It was a good experience, for sure.

    Have a blessed weekend, friend.

    1. Last year was my first year to do One Word, Linda, and I found it so helpful. I hope 2022 is an amazing year for you!

  2. Who knew there were so many resources to help us come up with One Word? Thanks for sharing. I am not a choose a word person. Instead, I let the word come to me. Reciprocity came to me this year. We’ll see how that plays out. Not sure I’m going with it.

    1. I really appreciated the many resources with this book, My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word, written by Mike Ashcroft and Rachel Olsen, being my favorite because they had the right focus. Reciprocity would be an interesting word to live out…although when applied to our relationship with Christ and “exchanging” or “trading-off” our ways for His ways, I can see how it would come forth in daily life. I hope you find clarity soon!

  3. I’ve never felt led or felt the need to choose one word for the year–as I like to say, God usually has more to say to me than one word. 🙂 And I feel that by being in His Word every day, I am getting what He has for me that day. But I enjoy the testimonies of those who do this practice. I’ve read some amazing outcomes of how God has used this in lives. I never knew there were so many resources! Thanks for pulling them together.

    1. Last year was my first time to use One Word, Barbara, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I’m going to do the adventure again this year. Yes, God definitely has more than one word to say to us. I have seen where some people do a Word a day or a Word a month, so they have the clarity of focus without the twelve-month commitment. Perhaps that would be a better fit for you.

    1. How fun! My One Word this year is intentional, Suzan. I look forward to walking through this intentional journey alongside you. Are you a part of the One Word Community that Lisa Burgess (Lisa Notes) hosts?

  4. I like the concept of One Word, but struggle to settle on just one. God always seems to be dealing with me on so many things. Love all the resources! They are good ones even for those of us who need a number of words.

    1. I did come across several people who did one word a month, or one word a week, and even some who did one word a day. I think it’s good to walk in a life-giving way – no matter what it looks like. I kept hearing – surrender, prayer, cultivate, delight, humility, but intentional kept rising to the surface. I finally realized I could intentionally surrender, intentionally delight, etc. and that brought me to a place of peace because I could still incorporate the “other” words in with the “main” word.

  5. Lisa,
    What wonderful resources you shared. I love the word you chose for the year. I am still working on my word. Intentional has popped up a few times. Thank you for sharing with Grace & Truth Link-Up. Maree

    1. This past year was my first time to use One Word, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. May you experience clarity as you settle your One Word, Maree.

  6. Lisa, thank you for this post. I’ve never had a one word and wasn’t ever sure how to go about it. I love the concept and several years the Lord impressed on me to have a Bible verse for the year. And it made a difference as I focused on the parts of those verses and wrote about them on my blog and in my journal and quiet time. I have friends who do both a one word and a Bible verse to go with it.

    1. Last year was my first time to use One Word, Karen, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, I think a lot of people ask the Lord for one word and a Bible verse to go with it. I thought the authors of My One Word summarized it best when they said, “A single word doesn’t change us, but when we get into position for God to change us, He does.” I think the One Word (like your one verse) helps us to press into Him and dig deeper, then we discover more of His heart for us and toward others.

  7. What a great post to round up these resources! One of the beautiful things to me about our One Word choices is that they really do encompass SO many words throughout the year. The One Word sets the overall theme but it doesn’t limit God. God always is so active in the details and branching out in so many directions with our word. I love what God did with your word Harvest last year and I know he’ll do the same for us again this year. God has already taken me on a few tangents this year with my word Release. 🙂

    1. It is amazing how our One Word encompasses many words throughout the year. I appreciate you sharing your monthly focus for release because it helped me solidify some of my thoughts with my word intentional and “other” tag-along words. I’m still working on my monthly list, but it’s coming along. I look forward to walking the One Word journey with you this year and hearing all that He is teaching you in release.

  8. I didn’t know there were so many books on discovering your One Word! I’ve been doing a Word of the Year for 18 years now. Some years I haven’t been as intentional about it as others. I love all the points here on how to spend time finding what word will grow you from where you are right now. Thank you!

    1. You’ve been walking the One Word journey for a long time, Lynn. That is great! I just discovered it last year, and thoroughly enjoyed it!

  9. Lisa, I love your suggestions and resources here for finding One Word to focus on and dig deep into over the course of a year. I’ve picked a word to focus on for a number of years now, and it’s deepened my walk with Jesus.

  10. Hi, Lisa! I have always been kind of surprised by the word God impresses on my mind and heart. He has so many pathways prepared for our growth! I am sure these resources you have shared will be enlightening.

  11. What a wonderful approach to finding your word to focus on throughout the year. I like the concept of character modification. And I appreciate your advice about listening for God’s still, small voice amid the noisy chaos of everyday life. Thank you for linking up at Talent-Sharing Tuesdays on Scribbling Boomer.

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