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Jan 24 2018

New Year, New Me? How One Word Can Change Your Life

By: Kathy Pillow-Price, Ed.D.; ACH Director of the Arkansas Home Visiting Network

With the beginning of every New Year, our minds naturally begin to wander toward the topic of New Year’s resolutions. Everyone has certain aspects of themselves that they could improve upon, or areas in their lives that they could change for the better, and New Year’s resolutions seem like the perfect solution every single January.


So, why is it that every single year we find ourselves making the same resolutions, only to break them before February rolls around? Why do they never seem to stick? Could it possibly be that the problem isn’t us, but that the real problem is the daunting list of resolutions?

According to Jon Gordon, Jimmy Page, and Dan Britton, authors of the book, “One Word that Will Change Your Life,” you can lose the list of resolutions this year. In order to change problematic behavior that has been plaguing you and move beyond the toxic cycle, just choose one word.


Instead of trying to change your entire life with a whole new set of rules, just choose one word to focus on to help yourself improve and implement change. “One Word that Will Change Your Life” replaces broken promises with a vision for real change, so you can move toward the future rather than swearing off the past. It may seem daunting to choose only ONE WORD for the whole year, but there are some questions to ask yourself to make it easier.

What kind of person do you want to become this year? Is there something you really want to work on this year that you feel needs to change? Determine the kind of person you truly want to become over the course of the next year by thinking about the wants and needs of your heart.

Identify the major characteristics of the person you want to become. Is the future you more outspoken? Is he kind? Generous? Does she treat herself with more self-love, is she brave, or a leader?

Once you identify the qualities of the person you want to become, all you have to do is simply choose a word and really commit to it. Throughout the year, when you face a challenge, remember your word. When you face a difficult decision, ask yourself, "is this something my word can help me with?"

For example, I shared with you at the annual Arkansas Home Visiting Network conference that my word last year was “Courage.”


In a tough time, evaluate your behavior and ask yourself, “Is this how a person of courage would behave?” If you’re having a difficult time deciding what to do, ask yourself, “What would a courageous person do right now?”

It may take some time, but throughout the year, you will find that these small changes can lead to an overarching big change in your personality, as well as your life, for the better.

This year, I found my word through a faith-based book I was reading. This year, my word is “Hineni.” It’s a Hebrew word that means, “here I am” or “I am here,” but it’s so much more. 

It’s a word that means I’m all in. It’s a word that means I am going to be fully present and ready for the journey, even if I don’t quite know where I’m going.


For me (as I just celebrated my 50th birthday) my word is about the fact that it is time for me to stop messing around.

Lou Giglio said, “Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.”

So my task this year is to be “all in” whenever I say “yes.” In the meantime, I’ll be asking myself what it means for me to be “all in” at work, at home, in my faith, and whatever else I set about to do.

Here’s to the New Year! I’m hoping our lives are filled with love, our hearts with hope, and that our world enjoys peace. I’m also hoping you’ll take up this challenge and spend some time learning about yourself. I’d love to hear from those of you who do.

Please feel free to share your words with us in the comment section below, or you can share on our Facebook page or Twitter!

For more information and for further reading, you can visit Jon Gordon's website, or read his book “One Word that Will Change Your Life,” just like our Leadership Book Club is doing this year!


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