By Jimmy Page, Fellowship of Christian Athletes
“…I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race…”
– Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)
I absolutely love the New Year! If the previous year was long and difficult, the New Year provides a fresh start and a clean slate. If it was exciting and fulfilling, it brings an expectation of great opportunities to come. Either way, the possibilities and potential are energizing.
New Year’s Resolutions
That’s why every year, 87 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions. We begin with the best of intentions and crank out our list of things to do this year—lose weight, improve our marriage, read a book each month, get a quiet time every morning, achieve a goal, and on and on.
Unfortunately, good intentions often meet reality and most of us experience the same frustrating results—false starts and failure. Statistics say half of those who make resolutions fail or quit within just 30 days!
The biggest barrier to life-change is a lack of focus. We try to do too much, get overwhelmed and give up. Busyness leaves no time for mission or meaning and makes us stop focusing on the things we care about.
A Solution to Failed Resolutions
Back in 1999, Dan Britton and I discovered a solution to failed resolutions. We traded in our long lists for the power and simplicity of One Word. By developing a One Word theme for the year, we discovered a secret to life change: Less is best. The simplicity of focusing on One Word for the year brings clarity, power and passion.
Paul understood the power of focus. In Philippians 3, he pioneered the idea of focusing on one thing, putting his past behind him and pressing on with focus. Narrowing the focus allows us to keep our eyes on the prize, finish the race and receive the reward.
So, as we begin the New Year, let’s try a new approach. Let’s throw out the endless lists. Let’s focus on One Word. I believe that God has a word that is meant for you. And when you find it, live it and share it. God will bring great life-change, purpose and impact.
Three Simple Steps
The One Word process has three simple steps: Look In, Look Up and Look Out.
Step 1 – Prepare Your Heart (Look In).
This is where you take action to unplug from your hectic pace, noise and clutter. Finding solitude and silence can be a difficult task, but hearing from God is essential. There are three key questions to ask God as you look in: 1. What do I need? 2. What’s in my way? 3. What needs to go? As we let God examine our heart, He will give us clarity (Psalm 139).
Step 2 – Discover Your Word (Look Up).
This step helps us plug in and listen to God. Taking time for prayer—that simple conversation with God—is the place to start. Ask Him this question: “What do you want to do in me and through me this year?” That will help you discover the word meant for you. Don’t pick a good word; receive a God-word.
Step 3 – Live Your Word (Look Out).
Once you discover the word that is meant for you, it’s time to live it out. Your word will have impact in all areas of your life—physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, relational and even financial. Keep your one word front and center. Tell your accountability partners and close friends your word for the year. Write it in your journal. Post it on your refrigerator. Talk about it with your family at the dinner table. Do whatever it takes to keep it in focus and fresh in your mind.
In 2011, my word was “life.” For such a small word, it had a huge impact. Relationships improved as I became more aware of speaking words of life. My food choices got healthier as I focused on eating living foods. Financially, spending less brought less stress (and more life). Spiritually, I realized again and again the importance of starting the day and remaining connected to the Source of life. I even replaced some old, negative patterns of thinking that were preventing me from experiencing abundant life.
One Word Can Change Your Life!
So, if you want a new you in the New Year, get One Word. God will use that word to bring simplicity, focus and change. You’ll be amazed at how One Word can change your life!
Credits: This article appears in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of FCA Magazine. Adapted from the new book, One Word That Will Change Your Life.