Ditch the New Year’s Resolution and Do This One Thing Instead


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Admit it, you’re in trouble with your New Year’s resolution, aren’t you?

That’s okay, you’re not alone. Surveys show that just a few days into the new year, 22% of people have already broken their resolution, 11% have abandoned it altogether, and just 8% will actually keep their resolution the entire year.

So ditch the New Year’s resolution…go ahead, just do it. I give you permission. But do this one thing instead: choose a word.

One word.

A couple of months ago I spent a weekend at a men’s retreat with Jon Gordon and that’s where I learned the power of one word. Jon’s written a number of best-selling books including The Energy Bus, The Carpenter, and One Word, co-written with Dan Britton and Jimmy Page.

The concept is simple yet powerful. Spend time in solitude and reflection to determine one word that will provide focus, clarity, motivation, and purpose to your activities this coming year. Not a mission statement…not a phrase…but a word. Just one word.

The word applies to all dimensions of your life: mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, and relational. Choosing one word forces you to think deeply about what’s important, not just what’s urgent. It forces you to consider the impact you want to have on others and how you want to feel about yourself when the year is done.

Jon would say the word chooses you as much as you choose it and that was true in my experience. The word I chose during the retreat, and that I’m carrying over to this year, is invest.

I’m in a new season of life where I want to invest in relating to my sons (22 & 18 years old) as adult to adult and not just parent to child. My children don’t “need” me in the same way as they have in years past and sometimes that hurts. Occasionally I find myself mourning the change in our relationship rather than celebrating the season we’ve come through. Invest reminds me to get out of the victim mentality and be active in creating new ways to relate to my children. You never stop being a parent; it just changes complexion over the years.

I want to invest in rediscovering my wife of 26 years and developing new aspects of our relationship. Since our lives are no longer driven by the activities of our children, new doors are open to us that have been closed in the past. I want to invest in personal friendships that have taken a back seat over recent years as my focus has been on family and career. I want to invest in my physical, emotional, and mental health by developing healthy and nourishing hobbies, like cycling and golf.

I want to invest in being a better leader at work, by making a positive contribution to the organization and helping my team members reach new levels of success. I want to invest in my spiritual life by developing more regular times of prayer, meditation, and reading Scripture.

Invest…just one word but multi-dimensional in implication and potential impact.

Life gets busy and we find ourselves occupied with the urgent circumstances that arise. It takes intentional effort to focus our energies and simplify life and the one word process can help in that regard.

So ditch your new year’s resolution, if you haven’t already done so, and choose one word instead. Leave a comment letting me know your one word and why you chose it. I know Jon would appreciate you tweeting him with your one word also.

Make 2015 a great year!

17 Comments on “Ditch the New Year’s Resolution and Do This One Thing Instead

  1. Great blog. Thanks Randy. My word will be ‘Faith’. Taking steps of faith and believing by faith that the things I put my mind and heart to this year will come to pass.

    Every blessing

    • Faith is a powerful word and a worthy focus for all of us. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Best wishes,


  2. Love the idea of this! My wife and I have decided “healthy” is our word for 2015!! We’re excited on where this will lead us!!

  3. Hi Randy,

    I wish you and your beloved ones a happy 2015. That’s an inspiring article. I did something similar by a) writing about how easily New Year resolutions parish (the article will appear tomorrow; Tuesday as usual and b) by carrying on working on the plans I made before and not adding new targets until the set ones are fulfilled.

    But now – because I like your idea – I just choose a word of the year. But since I never talk about my plans until “their time has come” I’ll tell you the word at the end of the year and we see how far it took me. This task is already in my calendar.

    All the best

    • That’s great Brigitte! I can’t wait to hear about the word you selected and I look forward to you reading your article.

      All the best,


  4. You’re right. My word chose me at the end of last year. It is ‘wellspring’ – I shall be looking at activities and mindsets that keep mine refreshed, and looking at how this flows out into life and loves around me

    • Wellspring…what a great word! We all need those people, activities, and mindsets that keep us refreshed. It’s hard to pour into people if you are filling up yourself also!


  5. Just found some of your articles off of a Twitter post and I’m loving them. My word for this year is “Serve”. To serve the Lord better, to serve my wife and kids more, my team more, and just others in general. Great article, thanks Randy.

    • Hi Mark – I’m glad you found me! Serve is an excellent word to focus on in 2015. Best wishes in all your efforts.


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  7. Hi Randy. I like this idea a lot! After spending the last 24 hours or so reflecting on the core of what I want out of 2015, I chose the word ‘create.’ There are some business programs I’ve been planning and I just need to do it (or create it!). Also, I want to continue with some of my creative passions, such as blogging, and return to others that have taken a backseat, such as rug braiding. I’m excited to use this word as a filter for decisions on how I prioritize things for myself that will create the year I want! Thank you. (And I’ll go tweet this as well!)

    • “Create” is a fantastic word. It’s easy to get stuck in the status quo and “create” serves as a catalyst toward movement. Good luck!


      • Excellent point, it’s easy for me to get stuck in the planning stages of a project (which is where I was all of 2014!), and I liked the word ‘create’ as it implied action. I like the way you phrased that: ‘catalyst toward movement.’ YES!

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