Change Your Life in 2013 With One Word

Last year, I created an ambitious list of 12 habits — one for each month. This, in addition to a rather-overwhelming goals for 2012 list.

It was too much. I felt somewhat burdened by the long list and the big ambitions. And truthfully, I felt behind most of the year.

This year, not only did I create a simpler list of goals, but I also decided against creating a list of habits to try and implement each month. Instead, I decided to choose a word to make as my focus for the year.

The idea of having a one-word focus is not original to me. Ann Voskamp has been blogging about it for the last three years and there’s even a book called My One Word that released just recently.

I spent the last two weeks of December contemplating which word would best encompass the direction God has been leading me in my life recently. I finally landed upon two words. I know, I know, that sort of ruins the “one word” thing, but I’ve never been one to follow the rules, have I?

My words for 2013? Margin and discipline.

Why I Chose the Word “Margin”

As most of you know, I tend to be a little Type A. Okay, maybe more like a lot Type A according to some people.

I like to have a plan. I like to be productive. I like to check things off a list.

I don’t like surprises or spontaneity. Well, unless it’s carefully planned. 😉

Ever since my 30 minutes of quiet this summer and reading Love Does, I’ve been challenged to work on becoming more laid back and focusing on enjoying the moment — instead of always trying to get things done and stay productive.

So I’m being intentional about allowing more room for margin in my life in 2013. More time to just be instead of do. More time to embrace the moment instead of stressing about productivity. More time to soak up the moments. More time for quiet.

Why I Chose the Word “Discipline”

So, this might sound like the exact opposite of Margin, but it’s actually not. In fact, I think that Margin and Discipline can be paired together beautifully. You see, by being disciplined in my everyday life, it enables me to enjoy margin. That might sound all whacked out to those who are Type B or Type Z, but you’ll just have to be gracious and cut this Type A gal some slack, okay? :)

The area that I’m specifically focusing on when it comes to discipline in 2013 is getting up at the same time (or around the same time — I’m shooting to be up no later than 6 a.m.) every single morning and then exercising, showering, and dressing by 8 a.m.

I’m really good about getting up early some mornings and really good about exercising, showering, and dressing at the beginning of the day some mornings, but it seems like it’s been more hit and miss recently. I’ll get up at 4 a.m. for a few mornings and then I’ll be so tired that I’ll sleep in until 8 a.m. on the weekends.

Some days I’ll run a few miles before the crack of dawn and be showered and dressed by 7 a.m. Other mornings, I never get in the exercise or shower.

While this might not seem to extreme or anything, this lack of consistency is having a trickle down affect in many areas. In addition, I want to set a good example for my children, just as my parents set for me.

After some long discussions with my husband, we both agreed that making this an every single day thing could be one of the best things I do for my year — and maybe for years to come. So that’s basically my desire with choosing discipline as one of my words for 2013.

Go happen to life

Have you chosen one word for 2013? Tell us what it is in the comments.

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  1. Julie Anne says

    Create art in the form of my handmade cards
    Create writings in essays, stories, blogposts, writing assignments for my class
    Create connections online and in real life

    And allow the Lord to create a clean heart in me…

  2. Casey says

    My word is GIVE. No matter how bleak the economy looks, we still have far more than we need. I want my kids to learn by example not to put their hope in material things and that when you give to those less fortunate, you become even more grateful for the blessings you have been given.

  3. Sandy says

    My word is FORGIVENESS. I’ve been bombarded with this word over the past few months and cringe every time I hear it because it hits a spot that I would rather ignore. I know that God is pointing out this area in my life that I need to work on in order to be what He wants and needs me to be. I am not going to enjoy this journey, but 2013 has purpose now so onward I go! I’m hoping the book you mentioned will help guide me in this journey.

  4. Julie Bernard says

    My word for 2013 is Power, I chose the word power because of Acts 1:8 NIV. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

  5. saraj musick says

    “BOOK” , I am writing a book that i need to finish for many many reasons. It will be done this year!

  6. Karin says

    Ok – I chose three words :) Grace, Health and Moments
    Grace – remember God’s grace and to thank, praise and pray daily
    Health – I have got to get healthy!
    Moments – I need to slow down and enjoy the moments with my kids!

  7. Michele from Pittsburgh says

    I LOVE this! My word is BELIEVE

    It encompasses allowing me to believe I can do what I set my mind to. Organizing my household, saving money, losing weight, exercising. But most important, believing in my husband and in strengthening our relationship, believing in my children and strengthening our family bond. Thanks for this!!

  8. Cheryl Armstrong says

    My word for the year is JOY! Focusing on:

    I pray I can focus on this everyday of the year!

    • says

      Love this idea! My word is “Family”. I started a new business (Kids Consignment Sales) in late 2012 and want to remind myself that no matter how crazy life gets FAMILY COMES FIRST.

  9. Lori F. says

    My word is Trust, as in Trust in the Lord. I will work this year on increasing my faith in God’s plan for my life and to trust that He will direct on the straight path.

  10. says

    I like your words, Crystal! My theme is Flourish in Faithfulness. There are so many areas of my life where I need to be a better steward of all God has entrusted to me.

  11. says

    I was having a hard time coming up with one word that I wanted to focus on for 2013. That’s when it came to me. My word is going to be FOCUS. Lately I have been trying to be super mom doing everything at once to make sure nothing got forgotten. However by doing that I have lost focus at to why I was trying to be super mom. I really feel as though 2012 I fell behind on my devotions and making sure my FOCUS was for the right things. This year I am making my one and only goal to be in the WORD every day and make it though the bible in a year. I am hoping and praying that by FOCUSing on that goal the other area’s that I struggle with in my life will fall in line.

  12. Jean says

    My one word is actually a three word phrase that I believe the Lord has given me for 2013. I really felt He was leading me in this direction anyway, but I couldn’t come up with one word that describes it. A friend in my congregation said that this phrase is what he feels the Lord is speaking to his heart for 2013 and my spirit said, “That’s it!”

    My three word phrase: Redeem the Time!

  13. says

    Oh I like this One Word idea. I always make large lists of goals and things I want to do. I think that for this year, I would pick the word ‘discipline.’ I have a lot of areas that I need discipline in.

  14. Jennifer says

    My word is stewardship. My overall goal for the year is to be a good steward of time, relationships and resources.

  15. Amy says

    It took me a few days to figure out the word I was feeling and then the light bulb went off. APPRECIATE. I want to appreciate and savor the gift of waking up each morning, my family, my friends, myself and I want to show my appreciation by giving more to others in intentional and satisfying ways.

  16. Cambria says

    It’s funny, even before I read your post I had decided on a word that encompassed the purpose of all of my goals for this year–CONSISTENT. I want to be a consistent person. Being a consistent person for me would be a wife that follows through, a mother my kids can trust and know where I stand, a friend who is present, and a daughter of God who can be relied upon.

    Ironically, I also had set a very similar goal to yours–to be up by 7AM six days a week. The first week of January I hit every day, the second week I missed one day by five minutes, but I am feeling really good about my goal, and I can tell it’s making a physical difference to my body to be so consistent. Good luck to you on making your goal every single day!

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