Don’t Make Resolutions. Do This Instead…

I don’t like resolutions. In fact, I can remember as a child listening to the adults discussing their various New Years resolutions–things like losing weight, finding a spouse, wearing less spandex–and thinking that it sounded like a complete waste of time.

I mean, why make a list of improbable, if not impossible, goals only to be left flattened and disappointed when the next 365 days rolls around? What’s the point?

Now, as you can tell I’m not much of a goal setter, but don’t hold that against me. Despite my adverse reaction to setting goals (which I’m working on, by the way) I do happen to engage in a rather cool and challenging New Year practice. Instead of making resolutions, I choose a word. One word for the whole year.

That word becomes my motivation, convicting reminder, constant companion, and sometimes my bane. But nevertheless, it is my word for the year. And I’d challenge you to do the same this year. So, what’s my word for 2012? Well, I’m glad you asked…

My word for the year is HOPE.

Sounds a little corny upon first reading, huh? I’ll admit it, but here’s how I select my words. It is by no means a random process. Instead, I simply do a wild and crazy thing called pray.

And every time, without question, as soon as I begin to pray, asking God what my word for the year should be, one pops right into my mind. Granted, I have prayed and heard some less than desirable words. Lest we forget the fiasco of 2005? Or even the painfully recent selection of 2011?

I have had not-so-fun words, like “humility.” I’ve had words that upon first reading sound wonderful, but hold hidden suckiness, like “victory.” And so, you can imagine that upon hearing the word “hope,” I drew a quizzical smile. “Hope? Huh?”

But, then, I opened up my old trusty Bible, complete with a semi-lame concordance, and I began to look up this over-played and often over-used word “Hope.”

What does it really mean? Well, for starters, it means hope, like we would suspect, but it also means so much more. To my surprise (and slight horror) the phrase often read in scripture, “All who hope in the Lord,” is a characteristic term of piety.

Say what? Piety? Now there’s a Christian-ese word not commonly throw around today and certainly not by me. But as I re-read the phrase it made perfect sense…All who hope in the Lord…

If I recognize that I have nothing, that heck I am nothing, without Him, well, then, all I have is in Him. All I have is Him. He is my hope. Hope then, real hope, forces a position of humility. It demands that we call God what He is: Our only hope and nothing less.

So while my study of the word hope has just begun, I am already struck with intrigue and desire to see not only how God reveals this word to me over the next year, but also how I can humble myself in a way that brings this hope, in Christ, to fruition.

It’s gonna be interesting, like all things with God. I’m looking forward to sharing all the gory and glorious details here. I hope you’ll come along…

For some of you this word selection thing isn’t new. So what’s your word for 2012? For the newbies, do you have any words come to mind? What do you hope to focus on this year?

27 thoughts on “Don’t Make Resolutions. Do This Instead…”

  1. I love this idea!

    I’ve never heard of this word of the year idea but it sounds challenging and intriguing. I break my resolutions regularly, so I’m always open to different ways of approaching the new year. This year I opted to make promises to God instead of expecting things of God for the new year. I also posted my other resolutions on my blog so as to have open accountability.

    Your exploration of the word ‘hope’ completely blew me away. If I were to pick a word that reflects what I’d like to see/work on for 2012, I would pick hope as well.

    Thanks for writing, Nicole, your posts are always refreshing to read.

    Happy new year!

  2. i’m a one word girl myself… my word for this year? choose. because while there may be many things i lack, i ALWAYS have a choice. and i want to choose well.

    happy new year, nicole! hope our paths cross again sometime soon…

    (oh! have you seen the site??)

    1. Alece, I know you are a one word girl. I remember last January, in fact, I wrote about choosing one word the same day as you. I didn’t know, at the time, that you did this also. I enjoyed following the one Word campaign last year, too.

      I didn’t know there was an actual website though. Too cool. My husband introduced me to this idea back when we were dating. I’ve been doing it for 7 years now and every year, and thus word, is a new challenge and revelation of God.

      I like “choose,” and I’m looking forward to reading how God uses that word for you this year. Blessings Alece!

  3. Good post Nicole. I had just finished posting my definition of Resolution as my FB status: What I would like to publicly concentrate on failing this year.

    Having said that, without the benefit of hours of pray time I am sure you had, I think submission may be my word this year. Submission to God, to service, to the tough ideas that I want to dodge.

    1. Ken, ha! I love that definition of resolution. So true and so funny.

      Submission is a heavy word. I had surrender last year and it was interesting. I find that when God chooses the word for me, it is in areas that I most need His touch. Looking foward to seeing how submission plays out for you over 2012.

  4. This is my third year having a One Word. 2010 was about courage, and 2011 was a beautifully messy year of learning about Beloved. So I had a word picked out for 2012 in the waning days of 2011: Dream. But on the 1st, God gave me another word, burn, to make it a two word year. Dreaming while burning more and more for Jesus in 2012.

    1. Great word! It can encompass so much. I think too of Ecclesiastes, there is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice (or dance). There are certainly seasons to celebrate, but it also invokes a spirit of gratitude when we celebrate both the little and big–seemingly meaningless and significant.

      I love you closing line: “I’m giving ceremony to as much living as I can; sneaking sips of future glory like an audacious, mischievous child.” So good…Thanks for sharing your one word here.

  5. That was my One Word last year. I failed at keeping up with it. Why? I got… busy. Though I failed to focus on hope, hope focused on me. That’s the faithfulness of our savior.

    Knock ’em dead Nicole… with hope of course!

    1. Moe, ah dude, I’ve done the same thing. December 31st hits and I’m like “Oh crap, what was my word for the year again…’cause I totally forgot.” So are you going to try again? Maybe choose another word this year and really focus on it? I’d be curious to hear.

        1. I’m intrigued. Can’t wait to read your selection.

          P.S. What is this awesomeness of Discipulus? Seriously, so cool. My heart beats for discipleship, real genuine discipleship. I am so blessed knowing you are encouraging others to feel the same!

  6. If i were to pick a word, I would choose “more.” This is because I can see God calling me to be more involved in my life- more passionate about my relationship with Him, more interested in maintaining my physical fitness, more giving and patient in my relationships with others. Of course, this word comes with its twin, “less”- less insistent upon being “the right one,” less scared about how others see me (and more secure in what God says about me as His daughter), and less of a person who is so ready to fight (verbally) about anything.

  7. My word for the year is FAITH, that He will accomplish all that He has in store for our lives. We have a new baby, a new construction license and business and a new life coaching business that we are welcoming this new year. All very exciting, but also requires a lot of trust in HIS ability, as I know I cannot do it all apart from Christ. So grateful for your blog and your influence. May your year be blessed and full of HOPE!

  8. A word I’ve been thinking about over the past couple days is ‘success’ and what/how we define it both on a personal and spiritual level.

    1. ooh Wesley, I love that idea. Are you familiar with Dr. Kimmel? He has a ministry for marriages and families called Family Matters. I heard him speak on this very subject and the word “success.” He said something that has long since stuck with me. It is so simple, but profound:

      “Sucess as the world defines it is beauty, wealthy, power, and fame. Success as God defines it is loving Jesus Christ and loving others as yourself.”

      I remind myself of this truth often, especially as I raise my three small children. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      1. i’m guessing you aren’t referring to Jimmy Kimmel, so no i am not familar:-)

        That is a good point that he has though. one of the quotes i already found in my search is from CSLewis “it is not your business to succeed, but to do right. When you have done so the rest lies with God”.

        it will be interesting to see what or how i think about this over the coming months. i think its highly important to seek Godly/spiritual success, but that success by world standards can be part of that too somehow or a fruit from the obedience to God. i don’t think we have to choose one or the other. I guess its ultimately ‘am i driven to spiritual or worldly success’ first that becomes the launch pad for it.

        and there is another aspect of success – where you’re looking at yourself versus other people looking at you. (i know that shouldn’t matter, but it still does on some level). though i know God’s view of us is most important and the only one that matters.

        So yeah, ‘success’ it will be an interesting journey.

  9. My word is: Time. I’m going to invest more one on one time with my husband, my three kids and my friends. When I’m with them, I’m going to give them time to talk and I will listen. I’m going to get down on the floor with my kids and play with them more; sometimes the laundry and dishes can wait.
    Also, as a Children’s Pastor, I’m going to give more time to the kids in my ministry. After all, they might not remember the amazing lesson I teach them on Jonah and the Whale, but they will remember the time I sat down with them and listened to them share their feelings about what it’s like watching their parents go through a divorce.

    1. Angela, I commend you for this word. Americans are so quick to guard, hoard, and protect our time when so often it is the very thing God is asking us to give. It is an act of selflessness and shows great love for others.

  10. Thanks for the idea! AND “The Apostle” dvd, which I am anxiously waiting to watch! My word for this year is “healing.” I look forward to seeing what God wants to surface and touch in my life and trusting for new levels of healing.

  11. This year I decided to choose a word…and set goals (what can I say- I am a Type A++). My word for the year is AUDACIOUS. Webster’s defines it as:

    intrepidly daring : adventurous ; recklessly bold; marked by originality and verve.

    I want to live life like an adventure, pray to God and believe Him with a reckless abandon, and look back at this year as one in which I lived out the unique purpose has for me.

    1. Oh man Lindsey, your word just got me pumped! “Reckess abandon” before the Lord? Soooooo goooood…. You better keep me updated about how you are living an audacious year. I can’t wait to hear how God uses this word in your life for 2012 and beyond…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *