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My Word for 2018 (+ one pretty shocking thing I’m committing to!)

Two years ago, I chose the word REST for my Word of the Year. And it changed my life.

I’d tried to jump on the whole “Word of the Year” bandwagon before, but it just never stuck. I would begin the year with these big ambitions and then I’d fizzle out.

OR, I wouldn’t really define what that word meant and how it was going to shape my goals and my focus for the year. So it was just a good idea that never went anywhere.

I thought maybe I was just not cut out for the whole Word of the Year thing. I thought maybe it didn’t work for my personality or something.

That was, until I declared 2016 my Year of Rest. And well, the rest is history.

I’m not the same person I was when I started 2016. I’m so much calmer. So much less stressed. So much healthier. So much happier. So much more content. And get this, I’m so much more productive! Because I’ve learned to invest my life in a few things and do those things really well. Instead of chasing a hundred things and just feeling constantly overwhelmed and exhausted.

So how was I finally successful at this whole Word of the Year thing? Well, I believe it was because of three reasons:

1. I drew a line in the sand.

Instead of thinking that I just needed to get more organized or sleep less or find a way to use my time more wisely, I realized that I needed to draw a line in the sand and make some major changes in my life because I didn’t love my life at all and didn’t want to live life so exhausted and overwhelmed and lacking joy… just trying to make it through.

2. I defined what it would mean.

In addition to drawing a line in the sand, I sat down and defined what it would mean to claim Rest as my word for the year. It meant that I would say no to pretty much everything and everyone except the absolute necessity until I found some breathing room in my life. I wanted to actually discover what it would feel like to not live life at breakneck speed, to not constantly be going-going-going, and to not be so overwhelmed by my to do list.

3. I declared my intentions publicly.

I got brave and posted publicly that I was committing to have a Year of Rest in 2016. Putting it out there for all the world really gave me the courage and accountability to follow through with me.

At the time, I didn’t even realize that my worth was coming from what I did or that productivity had become a sort of “drug” for me. When I committed to a Year of Rest, it gave me the space I needed to untether myself from being chained to a worth based on productivity, to pry my hands off of my tight grip of trying to control so many things in my life, and to step way back from my usual highly-driven, task-oriented focus.

And it was there, that a whole new world opened up for me! It was colorful and full of life and joy and breathing room. And I’ve never gone back.

Inspired by my 2016 Year of Rest success, I chose the word Yes for 2017. This wasn’t about saying Yes to adding more to my plate, it was about saying “Yes” to more fun and spontaneity and the few things that really matter most and are my priorities in this season of life.

I loved spending some time today reviewing this past year and seeing all of the fruit of my commitment to saying Yes. In 2017, I said yes to:

among many other things!

As I’ve been contemplating what my word for 2018 would be, it just sort of came to me at the beginning of November. But I let it simmer and marinate for a few weeks before I even mentioned it to Jesse. Because I wanted to make sure it was the right word.

I still felt a peace about it after a few weeks, so I told Jesse. He loved it.

So I got brave and told and few close friends. They loved it, too.

And it was settled.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to my Word of the Year for 2018… SLOW.

Yes, s-l-o-w.

2018 is my Year of Slow.

Anyone who knows me well knows that this word isn’t a word that you’d think of to describe me. I’m someone who is fast — my brain thinks quickly, I make decisions quickly, I respond quickly, I’m a fast reader, a fast eater, a fast walker.

As an INTJ, Enneagram 8, my brain doesn’t slow down much. 🙂 I don’t like to sit still, I get bored very easily, and my definition of a “quiet day” is very different than what most people would consider a “quiet day”.

So, S-L-O-W is not my usual pace.

Let me be clear: I’m not trying to change my personality this year, but I want to challenge myself to slow down in certain key areas. Because I think this would be healthy and good and, quite possibly, life-changing, for me.

Here are the specific ways I am planning to walk out more slow living:

1. I’m going to focus on being slower to speak and slower to react.

You guys, here’s the blatant truth: I can steam roll over people if I think that my idea is better than theirs (which I usually do) or if I think that my way is the right way (which I pretty much always do!) or if I feel like they are just wasting my time by talking about something when I’ve already made up my mind (which is a LOT of the time!).

My personality is such that I am able to assess situations really quickly and know what path I want to take. I’m typically a very quick decision-maker. And once I know the path I want to take, I don’t stand around worrying that I might be making the wrong decision or waiting and hyper-analyzing and researching to make sure I feel like the decision is right. I pretty much make up my mind quickly and then I JUMP.

Which can be a great trait… in many situations. But it’s not so great if you’re married to me or in a close relationship with me and I’ve made up my mind and you are not in agreement with me or haven’t had enough time to really make up your mind. (I’m sure you can envision how that would play out!)

I get impatient easily and I have a habit of cutting people off or shutting people down — without even realizing it. And it’s not good.

So one of my aims in 2018 is to s-l-o-w down when it comes to conversations with others. I want to really take time to listen if someone disagrees, to wait to move forward until I’m on the same page with Jesse, and to not cut people off or get impatient with them in conversation (I do this especially when it comes to my kids, Jesse, and a few people on my team).

2. I am going to have one SLOW day each week.

Beginning in January, I’m taking Wednesday off from work every week to have an intentional SLOW day — an unplugged, offline day where I’ll move at a slower pace.

That’s the day I have Discipleship Group in the morning and I’m planning to go on a date with Jesse after Discipleship Group. It will be my day to invest in my local community, hang out with Jesse, read, and enjoy a quieter and slower pace.

I’ve planned our routine and my weekly commitments accordingly and I’m really curious to see if I can actually consistently do this! Will you help keep me accountable??

3. I’m going to stop reading self-help books this year. (Shocking!!)

I know. Did you just fall out of your chair??

Considering that this is the genre I almost always gravitate toward and considering how much I love to read, this is pretty shocking. I came up with the idea a month or so ago and it took me two weeks before I would even say it out loud because it felt so scary.

But when I told a close friend, she said, “If it scares you, you might consider whether that means it would be a really good thing?”

And I knew she was right. Jesse agreed.

So here’s the reason I’m not going to read any self-help books in 2018: In the spirit of my Year of Slow, I want to stop reading books that are making me feel like I’m not doing enough — that I need to do more and add more to my plate.

There’s nothing wrong with self-help books and I think they can be fantastic — especially when you’re in seasons where you need the encouragement and motivation. But there’s also a point, when you’ve read so many books about time management that you just need to stop reading them and get up and apply what you already know.

So instead of reading self-help books, I want to read books that are going to help me exhale — spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. (Such as story-driven books, inspirational books, fiction books, biographies, etc.)

So there’s that! I can’t wait to see what my Year of Slow holds for me, what I’m going to learn this year, and how this word is going to change my life!

Did you choose a word for 2018? If so, I’d love to hear what you chose and why you chose it!

Speaking of time management books and productivity, I have been working on a surprise project the past 2 months and finally get to tell you about it! I’m launching a live group coaching in January called 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life where I’ll be walking you through some life-changing principles to help you live a much more productive and fulfilled life.

It’s designed for you if you…

  • Wish you could change your life, but don’t where to start
  • Hope to find a way to become more productive and get more done, but feel overwhelmed by the thought of taking yet another productivity course or reading yet another book on time management.
  • Want to make 2018 the year that you actually stop wishing and hoping and planning and start DOING.

Doors will open for a few days only beginning January 1, 2018. If you are interested, you’ll want to sign up to be on the waitlist because you’ll be the first to know when it’s available and you’ll also get access to my brand-new printable called 6 Ways to Start your New Year Well.

Go here to sign up — I can’t wait to have you join me for the live coaching!

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  • Emily says:

    I didn’t have a word for 2017. But I guess my word for 2018 is Heal. I just lost my husband of 31 years last month. It’s going to be a very long hard road.

  • Cheryl says:

    This is my first year doing a word of the year, and I picked a big word for me, Discipline.

    I realized my lack of discipline really added to my stress and negative feeling of myself. So I’m going too focus on a few things that I haven’t quite ironed out.

    • Kathyb says:

      This is a great word, and I’m stealing it ☺️ I have terrible self discipline, and I can’t seem to stick to anything. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Melissa says:

      I have never had a word for the year, either, and I chose that same word. I think I used to live a lot more disciplined life than I do now, but I have let life’s circumstances get me down and have allowed myself to continue to live in an undisciplined state even though those circumstances have changed again for the better.

  • KnyttWytch says:

    Mine will be “Health” I always say “this year I will lose x amount of weight” and never do – so this coming year I am going to concentrate on being healthy, living healthily and any weight loss is a bonus!

  • Patti says:

    My word is IGNITE. I want to have more energy, ignite my 2 businesses. Ignite the romance with my husband! I want to be more active and productive.

  • Allyson says:

    I needed to read this today (and see it in your instagram stories too!). I’m the same with self-help, I read so much but don’t stop to digest and put in practice. I have a lot of knowledge but need to apply it. Thank you for this!

    My word for 2018 is Intentional. I want to do all things with purpose and with the right intention.

  • Brittany D says:

    This will be my first year trying a word of the year and I have decided that 2018 will be a year of FOCUS. I want to focus on myself and live a healthier lifestyle and I want to focus on getting our finances in order. I feel it is going to be a good year.

  • Victoria says:

    My word is B.U.I.L.D. Build Boldly, build Unity, build Integrity, build Love, build Diligently. A focus for every letter of the word. It came to me when I was doodling one day.

  • Quinn says:

    I am still thinking through my word of the year. Wow! Thank you for sharing all the details how you make your word of the year a success. I want to focus on building my relationship with Jesus. I get distracted by all the good books.good blogs.good podcasts. They distract me from the most important relationship I need to be building. They share lots of great thoughts and ideas like you said your self-help books do. Then I am off doing those things they suggest. Very fleeting. I want to stay focused and finish. I think I am going to start the New Year by doing 1&2 Kings study through First 5 App (Proverbs 31 Ministry). And I am going to do just that 1&2 Kings study and read the book Finish to encourage me to FINISH.
    So maybe relationship.focus.finish as my word of the year. What’s the opposite word of distracted? FOCUS?
    Thank you! Writing out my thoughts have helped.

  • Carmen says:

    I love this!

  • Sandi says:

    Discipline. My 2018 word.
    To do what needs to done,
    when it needs to be done,
    as often as it needs to be done.

    No excuses, just results. Tough one to be sure.

    Moving everyday on purpose and habit, not feelings. Like brushing your teeth. Doing the laundry or driving to work. You don’t feel happy or motivated to do those things. They are just things that have to get done.

    But you made a decision somewhere in your mind to make them a habit that you would do regardless of what you feel or how the day is going.

    Sounds good in writing, now I have to walk out the truth of it.

  • MrsRuz says:

    I love hearing about your personality challenges, since I am an INTJ too…and there are so few of those (esp women!). I am not familiar with the “Enneagram 8” – though I totally understand (and do) all three items you mentioned in the paragraph about “steam rolling” people. It’s hard to know how to balance embracing the personality God has given me with a humble, gentle spirit. (those two things really seem at odds at times!) So thanks (in advance) for sharing your SLOW journey this year…I may be following a few steps behind. 🙂

  • Amanda says:

    I’m right there with you! Slow needs to be my word of the year for 2018 as well. I have a very similar personality. I’m an INFJ and I can definitely relate to everything you said in this post. I need to slow down when speaking and reacting to others. I used to have more patience with people and would hear them out and actually listen, but I’ve found that I’ve slipped into the bad habit of cutting them off and/or being impatient with them, just like you mentioned.

  • Stephanie Fricke says:

    Congratulations! SLOW is the perfect word. I had been taking things slower and simpler this past year and I loved it! I also congratulate you on not reading self help books. I don’t read them for the very reason you state. May you have a wonderful blessed beautiful New Year and all of 2018!

  • Carmen says:

    Mine is “Joy”. This last year felt very Meh, and I need to spend more time in gratitude and relishing my life.

  • Amy says:

    My word for 2018 is Focus. I want to focus on what really matters long-term rather than allowing my short-term desires to overshadow what is truly important to me.

    On a practical level, I’m going to schedule a 3-hour block each morning to focus on studying (I’m in my last year of university!), and during study time I’m not going to do anything else. I’m going to choose to work on setting up my blog instead of watching TV. I’m going to choose to read books I’m excited about instead of mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest. I’m going to intentionally guide my attention to things that will matter in the long run.

    I’m really excited to see how my life will (hopefully) change this year now that I’m choosing to be intentional about where I put my attention!

    • I’ve found that time blocks where I just focus on one thing (especially when it comes to work projects!) work amazingly well — and I get SO MUCH more done! I hope it works really well for you, as well!

  • Kristen says:

    CONSISTENCY. I’ve never done a word of the year before, but as I was reflecting on this, the word “consistency” came to mind. This past year, my times of biggest stress and frustration were all related to me not doing consistently some routine things that need to be done. As a result, I’d have to rush around at the last minute and get them done under stress and pressure. If I had just been faithful in doing the small things all along the way, I wouldn’t have been in that situation. I’m someone who has a lot of ideas and I love starting new things, but I get kind of bored at the daily work required to maintain things. However, this lack of consistency in some areas robs my family of peace! I don’t need to start a bunch of new things this year, or dramatically change what I’m doing. I just need to quietly and consistently follow through on the small things I know I need to do which in the long run make a big difference to me and to my family!

  • My 2018 word of the year is Brave. Those five seconds of brave needed to hit submit on writing projects. Being brave and persevering when I’d rather jump ship. Being brave and running my own race.

    Looking forward to following along on your year of slow, Crystal.

  • Melinda Baillieul says:

    My word will have to be Peace. I lost my husband of 47 years to cancer in October 2017. I cannot/will not live this life in constant grief. He would not want that for me so I need to find a way to reconcile this horrible loss and then bring myself into a state of being at peace with it.

  • Amy B says:

    This will be my first year of selecting a word to be honest. I am struggling with the word here, I was thinking of focus, focus on my goals and my marriage, kids, work, house, health and me but those are things I always try and do and those are things that I somehow get lost in? I guess I am not that great at focussing on any one thing especially me?

    So I am back to another word I am considering and that is Content, I don’t know if I am or have ever been content to be perfectly candid. Always looking for more, striving for more, craving more. More time, more rest, more money, more space, more and more and I feel like I never am enough or have enough. I often don’t take time to see what is there because I am always looking for something more or better and miss so much. I am an avid self help junkie and strive for perfection but often get discouraged by the lack of support around me. If your family is not on board around you it often derails you and makes you feel worse. You can not exactly clean and organize your home if others don’t care and or get on board. You can’t do a couples book devotion if your husband will not read it? You can’t change others around you.

    Perhaps I should do the word, ME. The year of me, it seems somewhere along the way I lost me. Always pleasing others and putting myself last. Maybe this will be my year?
    Open to ideas and thoughts here everyone. How does one focus on herself and still be a great wife and mom? Is that possible?

    • Sandy says:

      I always forget to be kind. Not to others I’m pretty good at that but kind to myself. Kindness to yourself; could mean saying no, investing in self care, investing in the relationships around you. Kindness to others; praising the good in others around you and focusing on their positives attributes, getting involved in the community more or less depending.

  • Amanda says:

    My 2018 word is confident. I worry and I question and I take too long. Then I am
    late and everything is an emergency and I take
    it out on my family. I am your exact opposite in it takes me forever to make decisions and I ask all sorts of people for advise. Confidence…

  • Glenda says:

    I have picked a word most years since 2008.

    2016 was “Be” We were coming out of a hard season and I just wanted to be..
    to be present, to be engaged, to be still.

    2017 was “Content” Again it was all about the few years before that were life changing and chaotic.

    2018.. my word I chose, even before I read your blog post was, “Pause”. I was telling my husband. Pause for the important moments, to pause the craziness of having teenagers and the years going by so fast, pause to make time for my family. Pause before I speak. Pause before I act. Pause before I make commitments.

  • Marie says:

    This is the first year I have chosen a “Word of the Year” and actually chose it one morning after my morning quiet time with the Lord in early December. My word is ABIDE.

    The Holy Spirit gently gave me this word and these verses:

    “I am the true vine and my father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

    After pouring out my heart to the Lord that I no longer wanted to to strive in my own feeble strength to tackle “hard life issues and craved for change” only to end up exhausted, overwhelmed and joyless but instead to be joyfully fruitful and transformed…..He gave me the words “Abide in Me”.

    That settled it for me! I realized that I had responded to His call to “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy ladened….and I will give you rest.” but not responded to His loving command “Abide in Me” : surrendering my dreams, goals, will to Him AND slowing down to spend intentional time in His presence through His Word and in prayer, meditating on the specific truths He was speaking to me so that HIS will would be done in my life.

    2018 is going to be an amazing year because by His grace, I will trust and obey and intentionally abide in Christ who always does exceedingly and abundantly above and beyond what we hope for or can imagine! “We become what we behold. ” To be more like Christ in my all my realtionships and be transformed from the inside- out ( my sanctification), I must ABIDE in Christ.

  • Jamie says:

    Wow, Crystal, you have really inspired me! I followed your blog for many years when you first started and it was always so helpful! To be honest, life has become so full that I haven’t kept up, but I’m glad I happened upon this. I’ve never been good at word of the year, but I want to use your idea and focus on the word REST. I have 10 kids, and also homeschool my doctor’s son. My hubby and I own our own business and run the youth ministry and young adult ministry in our church. I LOVE being able to love and care for so many kids. However, my health and my house have taken their toll and I can’t keep up. I honestly don’t know even where to begin. I’m learning to say no, a little, believe it or not, but could use help on how to even rest. Sounds silly, but I don’t think I know how. Maybe I should read more about how you did this in 2016. Thanks!

  • Micha says:

    My word for 2018 was slow in coming but it is finally here. Renew.

    This year was marked by burnout and frustration in many areas so a year of renewal is what I need.

  • Keri says:

    Thank you for changing your blog back to how it used to be! I loved it!

  • Sharon says:

    Mine is solutions. I tend to focus on the problems.. and go round and round in my mind just thinking about them rather unproductively. Now when I realize I’ve been hashing something over and over, I’ll stop and say out loud ok I know the problem, so now what are my options? what are the solutions? Then I can make a decision to fix (as best possible) whatever is going on. No more merry go rounds of self berating, or worry, or helplessness. Solutions!

  • Katie says:

    Crystal! I love this post and I’m so glad to see you’ll be posting more like this. My word for 2017 was Daughter. God showed me how to receive from Him not just do for Him….and that whether I do or don’t do, He loves me the same. This message positively impacted my tightly wound self so much that it became the core message of my upcoming book, “Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who’s Gets Things Done.” 😉 This coming year my word is “beyond”…feeling like it’s going to be a year to enjoy God and those around me more and to receive and extend His love in greater capacity. Enjoy your year of slow! I’m inspired by how you set goals around your word, to make sure it stays a priority.

  • Stacie says:

    My word for 2018 is FINISH. I will complete my MS degree in May. I often start projects and don’t finish. I think by focusing on the ‘Finish’, it will help me be intentional with what choose to spend time on.

  • Christy C. says:

    My word for 2018 is Unafraid. I’m still unwrapping the layers of what that will mean for me. But I tend to be introverted and afraid to “do it scared”. I want to change that in 2018.

  • Cat says:

    Our word this new year is “adventure”
    It’s our year to get out of our (especially my) comfort zone
    To be more “yes” (open to the adventure)
    To stop being afraid of failing
    Of making mistakes
    Our year of just exploring
    Our year of “Just Do”

  • Sarah says:

    Oh my goodness. Your #1 focus for slow is so me. But using the word slow with it is a different way for me to look at changing. The best thing I’ve found helpful so far is praying specifically before I go into a social situation; not to take over, listen more. But I love thinking about slowing down my thoughts and conversation, also … always with prayer of course.

    And where do we exchange book recommendations with you? A book I really enjoyed this year that would be quite opposite of self-help is Sergeant Rex.

  • Kathy Brummel says:

    I really want to do his word of the year but I don’t know how to go about it – what to do etc. I know that I need to do something and I’m between slow, rest, focus. Any help is appreciated.

  • Rhonda says:

    My word this year is going to be “unplug.” Facebook and Instagram have been my biggest time wasters, so I’ve started limiting my time spent on these two social media sites and am already seeing benefits. 🙂

  • Lori :) says:

    My word for this year is LIFE. I wear a necklace with a big tree on it, and the back says “where there is love there is life”. I would choose LOVE as my word – but that is the theme for my whole life. And after having a pretty traumatic and challenging last couple years that have sucked the life out of me, added quite a few pounds, changed my identity, life trajectory and more . . . I want 2018 to be filled with things that bring me LIFE and give LIFE to others! 🙂

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