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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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  • My word is: Wonder. I want to look for the wonder of God that He shows me that I tend to miss. Whenever you read “Wonderstruck” by Margaret Feinberg, you will know what I mean. 🙂

  • tried to comment but it went POOF so if this appears twice, I apologize.
    My word for 2013 is a word that others have also chosen.
    2012 was a year full of challenges for us. The year was difficult, and I found myself at the end of 2012 missing so much of my joy.
    This year, I need to renew many things. I need to renew my focus on my homemaking, my discipline in teaching my children, my desire to build my marriage, my focus on the Word.
    I am looking forward to the renewal. I need it, and so does my family.

  • carol says:

    my word for 2013 is abide .

  • Rebekah says:

    I am so excited to see that you are doing ‘my one word.’ My pastor, in Wilmington, NC actually came up with it and wrote the book that has resently been published. I’ve been doing it since 2006. Look up Port City Community Church, and Mike Ashcraft. He has fed into my life more than he will ever know.

  • Meg Ross says:

    My word is CAN. I use I can’t all the time. I figured it was time to see how much I truly can.

  • My word is LAUGHTER! My focus for 2013 is to allow laughter to fill my day, instead of always having a ‘to-do’ list running through my head. I can still work on organization, exercise, cooking more, etc. but with an added dose of laughter, I will be creating memories and moments and not just completing tasks.

    Love this idea, Crystal!

  • I haven’t chosen a word for myself, but I wanted to share a book I started reading today that talks about margins in the first chapter. It’s Breathe by Keri Wyatt Kent. I just started it so I can’t give a full review, but she discusses the importance of building space into your day. Otherwise, you risk regulating God to the tiny margins you have left or, even worse, pushing Him off the page completely.

    Anyway, I thought it was interesting that I read that today and then saw your blog post tonight about margins. 🙂

  • Lisa Fluharty says:

    Sleep is my word. It’s something I focus on for the kids but not myself. I’ve always been a stickler about the kids getting enough sleep, but it seems like once the three are in bed and I get a moment to sit down and look at news, read anything and everything, or watch something on TV, I get sucked in. Which just leads to a vicious cycle of tiredness and more exhaustion at the end of the day, which makes me just zone out and stay up too late night after night. So, my word for the year is sleep: Maintaining that consistency with the kids and making it a priority for myself, too.

  • Ashley P says:

    lol. My one word?


    As in, my very first. I’m excited, enraptured, and… scared out of my MIND! I have no idea what I’m doing. Honestly, neither does my husband.

    But God does! Between the 3 of us (me, him and God) we’ll have to figure this out together!

  • Staci says:

    Did you really mean to write EVERY morning at 6 am? Really EVERY morning? :0)m Blessings to you on your journey.

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, that’s the plan. I’m sure I won’t hit the mark every single day… but I’m going to shoot for it and I think I’ll have made a whole lot more traction in the area of consistency by the end of this year — hopefully, at least! 🙂

  • Libby says:

    My word is AWAKE. I’ve done a pretty good job the last few years of not seeing some things I needed to see (another good word for it is denial). Debt, some dangerous habits, things that have brought me shame even as I worked to “not notice” them. This year I’m committed to living eyes wide open…facing things head on and, with God’s help, making some traction to live the life I have imagined. Incidentally, AWAKE also means turning away from my phone, computer, internet, etc.. and tuning IN to the people I love. No more checking out.

    • Lety says:

      Wow, Libby! This all sounds just like my situation. I “woke up” a few years ago and continued to do so in 2012. However, I have been struggling with pulling myself out from this situation. I’m hoping and praying 2013 will be much more successful. Wishing you the best in your journey! God bless.

    • Jenny says:

      I love that some people are choosing “sleep” and others are choosing “awake”! We are quite a mix of people!

    • sona says:

      Libby I want to congratulate you! Your transparency about checking out is refreshing and your desire to see it with eyes wide open is inspirational. May God give you peace as you move through your plan. There are members in my family that whistle or hum when in the company of others… interesting yet annoying way to check out 🙂 I wonder what I do!!!

  • Jean says:

    My word is present. As in I need to remain more present and focused. Also present as in looking for the gifts in each day. See how I just picked a word that had two meanings to get around those rules? 🙂

    • Nicole says:

      That is exactly the word I chose and am intentionally using both meanings as well. I want to fully acknowledge this gift, this present that is life and my children and husband and the only way to do that is by fully being present for all of it.

  • My word is “persist.” It’s seems like I do well in something for a little while and then completely fall off the wagon. I need to keep persisting in various areas of my life. I love the definition: to continue steadfastly or firmly; to last or endure tenaciously. That is so what I need to do !

  • Lori in NC says:

    My word is GRACE. I read the book “One Perfect Word” by Debbie Macomber in September and this word just kept coming to me again and again — just what I continue to need to give — and to receive. It’s ironic how often now I come across that word, too, in my everyday reading and conversation.

    • Laura says:

      You will love Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber!! I love her books!

      • Tina says:

        I read “One Perfect Word” by Debbie Macomber in January of 2012. My word last year was PURPOSE. I am still praying about this year’s word. Her outline of studying the word and it’s meaning in the bible and your life was really helpful.

  • Laura says:

    I have another book to add to you list for throughout the year! Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber! A very relatable theme when women pick a word for the year! I know you are not a big fiction gal but it is a good fast read as are all her books!! Love the idea of a word to focus on.

    • Crystal says:

      Actually, I totally changed my thoughts on fiction this past year… thanks to reading one of Tricia Goyer’s books last January! I then went on to read at least a few fiction books every month and enjoyed them all! 🙂

      Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  • jennifer says:

    Mine won’t be one word either but one concept: White Space. I want my life to feel less cluttered and the timing couldn’t be better since we added a baby boy to our lives five days ago. We already stepped back from extra commitments last month in preparation for our son’s arrival but don’t want to fill that free time needlessly in a few months. I want more white space in my home with clear counters, floors, closets, etc. This will take not just regular tidying, but purging and decluttering too. I want to enjoy the white space of being present in moments of quiet and cuddling with my husband and son. And white space with God so he can work in me more than I could ever work in myself. 2013…White Space.

  • Sabrina says:

    SIMPLIFY. I tend to have so many big plans during the year, that focusing on any one idea is hard. I plan to simplify every area of my life this year so that I am able to focus on more of what really matters. I’m reading your Time Management 101 to help me create a simple schedule. Hmm I guess FOCUS is my second word 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    I like your daughter’s nail polish. Very colorful. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      Oh and take note that she only painted one hand… don’t ask me why! She’s our little fashionista and comes up with all sorts of new fashion ideas every week. 🙂

  • Crystal,

    Your morning goals sound very similar to mine for this year!
    But if I had to choose one word for this year, it would be – “Purposeful” (really a continuation from what I started last year).

    After a period of working through a few family health and business challenges, I spent the last half of 2012 praying, setting goals, and working towards those goals for myself, my family, and my business. In order for me to continue working towards these goals in 2013, I know that I need to regularly evaluate how I spend my time. I truly want for there to be purpose behind the things I spend my time on – whether it’s spending time with my family, working on business goals and activities, or even resting.

    By the way, thanks for sharing such helpful tips, inspiration, and information in 2012. Looking forward to what’s to come! : )

    • Crystal says:

      One of my passions is to live life on purpose.

      One motto of mine is: Don’t let life just happen to you. Go happen to life!

      • sona says:

        In my desire to live with purpose, I learned a new lesson. ALL of life has an ebb and flow, just like the oceans. They are God ordained regardless of the season of life. There is time to move forward and a time to wait. I had to learn there is purpose in each.

  • Heather J. says:

    I think a good word for me this year would be BALANCE. I need to learn to balance the needs of my family, my job, my relationships, and ME! I need to learn to make better time for each of those things and dedicate myself to them fully in that moment. Work in progress!

  • Anna says:

    My theme/word are “It’s a wonderful life”. The movie gave me motivation to make 2013 a wonderful year. I watched the movie to get inspiration. My ideas is different from yours but has some of the same characteristics.

    I still like the idea of one habit per month despite how difficult it was to follow.

  • I’m not sure about the one word thing. Also, I don’t do goals right at the beginning of the year, because that’s my way of not following the rules.
    I like doing things every day–I find that’s when my life really starts to change. Some things I stick to 6 days a week and give myself a freebie, and that usually works. If I want a regular routine and try for less than 6 days a week, it just doesn’t happen.

  • Crystal, I like that you’re focusing on discipline in just one area of your life – easier to make it a habit. I’ve been working on waking up early for quite a while too! Here’s my one word:

  • Chelsea says:

    If I were to choose a word, it would probably be “trust.” Trusting God’s plan for me and my family, trusting Him to take care of things so I may live with more open arms, trusting the truth, and trusting those around me who have wronged me this past year. Yup- trust is definitely something I need to work on! 🙂

  • I chose the word Contentment for my word this year. Actually it more chose me. I wanted to choose Simplicity, but Contentment just kept making it’s way back to the forefront of my mind. I plan to blog about it soon!

  • Kelly says:

    My word for this year is IDENTIFY. I’m really excited about the opportunity to identify all of the ways God has been faithful in my life up to this point while adding to the list over the next year. In addition, I plan to be intentional in identifying with others, even when it’s uncomfortable or complicated and also identify and tackle areas of my life that need improvement or fine tuning.

  • Dianna says:

    I would probably have to choose two words also. Discipline and Giving. I too need to work on my sleep schedule and being more productive in the mornings. My family and I also would like to give more in 2013.
    Writing my goals down gives me something to read back over so I can stay on task, but I try not to have too many or make them over complicated. That would just cause too much stress on myself.

  • Kim McCulley says:

    My word is LOVE.
    Like you, though, I’m tempted to have a second “one word”…that would be PRAY.

    • Nicole says:

      Love these, you sound like a gal after God’s own heart. 🙂 do you have any specific plans for how to implement the word ‘love’ in your life this year?

      • Kim McCulley says:

        I actually am formulating a plan. I have goals concerning physical affection with my husband, greeting people when they come through the door, actively seeking a specific “kindness” to do for family members each time I see them. Mostly I’m just trying to remember “LOVE” as I go through the day, and I am praying it will improve all my interactions at home, church, work (I teach 2 year olds at a church Mothers Day Out program 2 days per week and also substitute as teacher or receptionist at my son’s Christian school.)

  • Theresa says:

    My word for 2013 is deliberate. I need to be more deliberate with my time, my family, my money, my housekeeping. I tend to get easily distracted. Focusing on being deliberate will help ease some of my mental chaos.

  • Amy says:

    GRATITUDE is my word. It’s been showing up for me in the past few weeks. I have much to be thankful for! I just had a life-threatening complication from a surgery I had in mid-December. I’m so thankful God is keeping me around.
    I also want to thank you for pointing us to the book “Choosing Gratitude” since it was on your list I chose to look more into it and I’m so glad I did. It’s excellent and is opening my eyes. There was one story in it so far that just made my jaw drop. It was about the man who saved 17 peoples lives and yet no one thanked him. It’s amazing and the author’s perspective deals with many things I’ve never thought of before.
    Thanks again!

    • Katie says:

      This is a word I want to focus on this year too! For me, gratitude is so easily put on the backburner in my mind– I want to be very intentional about it this year!

  • Carol says:

    My word for 2013 is Balance. 2012 was crazy, so this year I am striving for balance.

  • As a Type A person I totally understand needing margin! I have been working on that concept (for me, it’s “decelerating”) for the last year and hope to continue to do that in 2012 as well. Good luck!!!

  • Shelly says:

    My word for this next year would be “persist”. One of my goals is to lose weight so many times I have started and stopped because of a bad day of eating or something else. I want this year to be different. So persist is my word.

  • Heather says:

    My one word: ENOUGH! I have had ENOUGH! As in…enough with the excuses on why you can’t get on that treadmill every day, enough with choosing to slack on housework for facebook time, enough with feel less than, enough with putting everyone else ahead of yourself and telling yourself that it is okay when you are sufficating and drowning. Enough of not really following your budget and fudging here and there and thinking its okay. Enough of letting other people’s judgements on you affect your day…do you really care what people think of you? Enough of missing out on wonderful opportunities with meeting new people and making new friends because you are afraid and would rather stay inside your home where it is safe. You have shut God out enough that you know he is just waiting for your return and will keep you in grace, but are so scared to accept it. Enough of the game you play with yourself…you didn’t deserve all the bad stuff that happened, but you can’t seem to get out of your own way. Wonder what life is like when Enough is Enough? I am going to challenge 2013 to show me the way. (Whew…that was a complete vent…I was going to delete it, but that would have proved my point…)

    • Heather J. says:

      Glad you didn’t delete! I can relate with you on so many levels.. I often settle when I know I am capable of more. Need to remind myself that I am worth more than what I have been. Thanks for your post!

      • Heather says:

        Thank you! Warms my heart…seriously does. Have a wonderful 2013!

        • Katie says:

          I’m glad you didn’t because I love this word.

          Enough will be my word too. Enough of worrying about this you cannot control. Enough blaming yourself when things go wrong. Enough of feeling inadequate. Yes I think Enough is a good word.

          Also, I have Enough to live on which I need to remind myself daily:)

        • Heather J. says:

          You too, my fellow Heather! Best wishes with your word, and I will definitely keep them at heart to follow as well!

    • Susan says:

      Heather, I too am glad you didn’t delete your comment before posted. I love it!

      In my family we say the Spanish word “basta!” which results in a more immediate turn-around of behaviors and thoughts. For us, it’s so much more effective that “enough,” and I believe the reason for that is because it has a specific meanting/context for us, whereas the “enough” word has different meanings that are completely innocent. “Do we have enough milk?” for example. “Basta” in our family means “enough” in the context of “I’ve had enough of this and it must stop right now.” When the child is whining, I say “basta!” very firmly, and it gets her attention.

      Even the dog responds to it. We have a rambunctions cocker spaniel who gets excited and jumps on people. “Basta!” will get him to stop jumping, sit down (or usually just attempt to sit and wiggle his little behind and stubby little docked tail — he’s so darn cute). Now that I’m thinking about it, it actually makes perfect sense given that dogs are very black-and-white when it comes to commands, where one word has one specific meaning. Maybe I’ve conditioned my child the same way. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      {Hugs!} Heather. I’m cheering for your year of ENOUGH!

  • shannon says:

    Oh my goodness Crystal. I knew I found you for a reason. I have had such a strong connection to your beliefs in the past year but I am now freaking out. So yesterday at 10am I read your post about how to change your life by setting goals and I responded with the word discipline heavy on my heart. The word discipline is the one thing that seems to hold me back and so here I am up at 3am this morning reading this post seeing that your one word is discipline. Well one of two words 😉 You have no idea how relieved you have made me this morning. I feel honored to share the word discipline with you and it is reassuring to know that someone as inspiring, accomplished, and wonderful as you seeks some of the same things as me. God has certainly spoken to me this morning and made me realize how much more I need to strive for more discipline in my life and now I know I can do it. Thank you.

  • leah says:

    my word is “slow”, as in slow down and fully be in the moment.

  • Kim says:

    I love it! The book “Margin” is on my list to read this year.

    Discipline is difficult, but worth it when we cross those mile markers along the way.

    I don’t have a word for this year (well not yet anyway). I am, however, working on being very intentional in Magnifying the Name of God in every area of my life this year.

    • Crystal says:

      I’ve been reading one of the daily readings from A Minute of Margin over the last six months and am *loving* it. That’s mostly what has inspired this focus in my own life.

  • Kristi says:

    My word is Intentional! I need to be more intentional about how I spend my time, how I spend my money, and about the words that leave my lips.

  • Lety says:

    Thank you, Crystal, for sharing this concept. I had not heard of it, but like it. In thinking of my one word I thought about how though I began to set goals a few years ago, I have not made much progress. I began setting goals when I realized I was not living the life I had hoped to. I feel I need to revamp all aspects of my life. So I have begun each year very diligently, but a few months in I stop. Just completely stop. As odd as it may sound, I think I may be a bit of a perfectionist. One who if I can’t have everything in what I consider a perfect manner immediately, I’d rather not have it. I lack the motivation to work towards my goals because I can’t perfectly carry out all the steps needed to do so. I have come to the realization that even imperfect attempts to get toward my goals through the whole year are much better than no attempts whatsoever. To make this year hopefully more successful, I’ve decided to take things so much slower, without expecting so much out of myself that I get overwhelmed. To PACE myself so as to not to feel as if I need to accomplish everything at once. Thereby increasing my motivation. I will set a tiny little goal at a time in only a few areas of my life which will be my main focus throughout the year and if I accomplish more than that, it will just be icing on the cake. My word is PACE.

  • Katherine says:

    This is interesting because it’s the first time I’ve heard of the “one word” concept. And in a way, it’s similar to what I’m doing for 2013. I’m working on setting a few goals for 2013 after reading your recent posts, and think just a few simple goals will be good. But really my focus for 2013 is “less judging and more generous”. It’s not a resolution and not a goal. More a heart thing. I guess you could say it is my prayer for 2013. I don’t plan to set any goals for it, not even the “more generous” part because it isn’t about doing. It’s about being and my heart’s response and my outlook.

    Good luck with focussing on margin and discipline. With margin, you’ll find absolutely everything easier and you’ll love it. As to discpline, well, it’s sort of lacking in my life and I’m workign on baby steps right now. So maybe that’s my encouragement to you – make a leap toward margin and baby steps toward discipline.

  • Victoria says:

    My word for this year is “Steward” I first heard about a word study from a knitting book of all places that I read several years ago. That year I studied “discipline”. I got out the dictionary and wrote down its definition, I looked up all its synonyms, then I got out my Strong’s concordance and studied each and every verse that had to do with discipline. The study took me months and months since I took time to look up the definitions of words that reappeared over and over in the verses, but when I finished it my life was transformed! It was the year I took up exercising regularly after years off, started going to bed early, stopped watching TV, stopped attending every party and event I was invited to, and really started enjoying life.

    • Katherine says:

      That is awesome, Victoria. I really like your approach of studying a word and will give that a try with my phrase for 2013 “less judging and more generous”. First, though, I’d like to just sit with the phrase and let it be my prayer. But after some sitting and praying time, studying it would be fun and hopefully the key to change.

  • Lana says:

    My word is Peace because I just need to be calm and still and I am not good at it. One week in 2012 as I was praying with my prayer partner she prayed that I would be able to learn to rest. That really gave me pause because we had never talked about that but she knew what I needed. My husband has also prayed that for me and honestly I do not know how and my Mom is the same so I never saw it lived out. I go 100 miles an hour day after day until I crash and it would be better to moderate my strength.

  • Amy says:

    I so relate to almost everyone’s word, but I think for me it would have to be contentment. There are so many things I would love to change but can’t. I just need to be content and trust that God is working!

  • Katie says:

    Yes! Our word (okay it is two words that make one idea) is “Be Still”.

  • Delores says:

    Ha! I chose self-discipline, and I chose it about a month ago. Nice to know I am not alone!!!

  • Carrie says:

    Appreciation…I want to take time to count my blessings and remember how fortunate I am.

  • Sarah says:

    My one word is QUALITY.

    I have a much echoed sentiment to a lot of people – I commit to doing too much and it becomes diluted. I am seeking this year to have way fewer more QUALITY things – all across the board in every aspect of my life.

  • Jamie says:

    Wow, there are some great words on these lists. I love ‘renew’ and ‘can’ and ‘wonder’ especially. My one word for 2013 is “RECEIVE.” I work so hard at doing and being productive, and I work so hard spiritually at loving God and being closer to Him… but Jesus never said to work harder; He said to rest and “Abide in My love.” So I’m going to just rest and let myself soak in God’s love this year, and I plan to blog about receiving from God and letting Him love us, instead of always trying to work for His love. 🙂 Should be a great year!!!

  • Kim Heise says:

    My word for 2013 is CONTENTMENT. I didn’t like this word at first. As others have said they didn’t choose the word, the word chose them. That was my situatiion as well. I wanted a more “flashy” word, but the last week of December this word kept coming up everywhere for me. I am trusting this is what I need most at this time in my klife, so here is to a great year!

  • E. Baer says:

    Crystal, you are the most disciplined person I know!! ENJOY your 2013! 🙂

  • Jessica H says:

    This is my year of blessings. I am going to focus on gratitude by being thankful for all of the ways that I am blessed and then focus on blessing others as well.

  • Colleen says:

    My one word is TRANSFORMATION~

  • Pammy says:

    My word is RELAX!! My mind is always thinking, thinking, thinking even thought I know God is in control. This year I am going to relax my spirit, soul, and body!

  • Jessie says:

    My two words are going to be FOCUS and TRUST. I need to get better at focusing on the things that truly matter instead of the things that just take up time and energy, and then trusting God that he will take care of me and lead me where He wants me to be.

  • My word is Perspective! With 7 of 10 children still at home, home educating, family time, time for my husband, working in our family vineyard, blogging, and …
    It is so easy to lose perspective of what is important and what the Lord would have as my priorities!

  • Susan says:

    I haven’t thought about a “one word” mission for the year, but I am working on a mission statement.

    The concept of “margin” as you’ve described is a great goal, but that would most definaly not be the word I use to describe it. I work in marketing, where in the graphic arts context it means physical white space on paper or computer screens, and in the financial context it means the difference between selling price and cost. Nope, no third meaning of that word for me in my personal life, although I get why you might use it in this way.

    Good food for thought in the post.

  • Meredith says:

    My husband and I talked about this on the plane after he graduated from grad school. I asked what the future held and we decided that 2013 was the year of HEALTH. Not only does it encompass food, diet, exercise but anything that involves living a healthy lifestyle. Healthy can mean reading more often to keep our minds sharp. Organizing things (like our atrocious garage) so we can be outside more. Spending more time together to form a healthy family bond. We want to take the word health and spread it to it’s many meanings.

  • Holly says:

    “Grow” is my word for 2013. It has dual meaning. First of all, I am pregnant with our first child (due in August), so I will obviously spend the majority of 2013 physically growing, but also I chose this word because I want to grow in many areas of my life. Spiritually, learning to be a parent, in my marriage, in my relationships with others, in efficiency in my daily life & as a person.

  • Ingrid says:


  • Jackie says:


    I’ve recently became a mother (3 months ago!) and now my husband and I have decided that I am going to stay at home with our son instead of returning to my career. Bittersweet because I LOVE my job but I couldn’t imagine leaving my baby! Ever! I was in sales and working 10-12 hr days… Most of the time 60 hours a week. My personality is identical of yours, from what you’ve explained, and my word is going to be BREATHE.
    I say this because I need to slow down, enjoy this time while I’m at home with my boy, because I’m lucky that I can even be here with him, when others don’t have the choice.
    I just wanted to say that this decision was recently made for our family, and it’s going to change our life dramatically on the $ front – so you’re advice and words have been absolutely comforting, inspirational and much more for me. I just started following 4 days ago and I’ve learned so much! I look forward to all of your posts now. You make my day!

    After my rambling above, just have to say THANK YOU for what you do.

  • Jenn says:

    As a fellow type A I love these posts! It truly inspires me to think outside the box. My one word is relax. Sometimes I get so consumed with my daily routine, cleaning, kids, meals etc that I dont stop and take 5 mins for myself by the end of the day I’m so tired all I want to do is fall into bed. If I just stopped and took a few mins to re group I think my days would run much better 🙂

  • Shelli says:

    The word for me this year is “new”. I like the idea that God can take any pain, mess or situation – bring good out of it and make it new. My verse for the year, Isaiah 43:18-19 goes along with the idea and hope of God making things new!

  • Susan says:

    I have been thinking about this for a month or so and the word “listen” keeps coming up. I want to really listen to my family members, I want them to feel cared for and heard. I want to listen to nature and lastly, listen to my body. I have some health issues and tend to go 100 miles per hour and don’t notice I need rest etc. until it is too late.

    • Beth says:

      I love your word, “listen” so much that I might just make that my own now too. Everything you said struck a chord with me. I was thinking of having the word Enjoy, but really, if I listen more, it will bring more enjoyment, if that makes sense? 🙂 thanks!
      And blessing to you, and all the encouragement you give, Crystal!

  • Lina D says:

    Sounds great!
    Just a question : what time are you planning to go to bed every night?

    • Crystal says:

      Between 8 and 10, so that I can get up between 4 and 6. Still working on doing that consistently, though!

      {My big dream is to one day pretty much go to bed at almost the same time every night and get up at almost the same time every morning– narrowing the current 2-hour window I’m allowing myself down to a 30-minute window. Not sure if this will ever be realistic… but it’s something I’m hoping to aim for!}

  • My One Word for 2013 is J-O-Y! I’ve allowed my joy to be stolen and I’m getting it back :0) I blogged about it this week actually

  • Anna says:

    Thanks so much for this post!

    I guess because I am very pregnant, somehow this year New Year’s resolutions didn’t quite get made as fiercely as usual. However, I’m not one to stick with my resolutions generally, so maybe it’s a good thing that I didn’t go too crazy. The one thing that I did think about before 2013 rolled around, though, was that I really want to take steps to become more organized and disciplined this year. If I make progress in those areas, I think I would make a lot of progress. So, my words for this year are organization and discipline. 🙂

    I want to be more disciplined in waking up early too, and in my Bible reading and just in how I use my time in general. I hope to read the eBook on the 21 days to discipline soon. 🙂

  • Taciana says:

    My one word is faith. After much prayer, I left my job in August to be home with our daughter full time. Last night it hit me. I have a ton of student loan debt, and my deferment will be over soon. How will I cover this? I really want to continue in obedience to the Lord, serving my husband and daughter in this way. But so far I have no idea how this will work out. I know that if the Lord led me home, He has every detail worked out. Still, my faith is super shaky. I have a few irons in the fire but nothing generating much income yet. So this year I want to increase my faith and not let my fear cloud my vision of God’s provision.

  • Maria says:

    One of my all-time favorite books that I re-read most every year:

    Get it. It will encourage you as you focus on your year!

  • Laura V. says:

    My word for 2013 is CHANGE! I had pondered over many words to focus on this year but this one keep coming up in my mind so I knew that is what I was suppose to focus on!! My life is so busy and on the go that I have fallen in a rut in several areas of my life. I want to change all that this year and Im especially set goals for this with my walk with God and physically by taking better care of myself (getting sleep, exercise, etc.) Good Luck everyone with their goals this year!!

  • I’ve been thinking about this early this morning when I read this post and if I could pick two words to (if thats okay) :).

    I would pick opportunity and balance.

    There is so many things in life that I have had opportunities and I didn’t look at them as opportunities. They looked more like a challenge and I’d prefer to hand them to someone else. But looking at this year ahead, I want to take people I meet, trials I face, and the relationships I have, to be an opportunity to grow, learn and be the woman God has called me to be!

    And I pick the word balance because I think that I have a lot of the same type A personality you describe. I have a plan (very detailed), I have goals, and charts but I definitely want to find the balance within the each day! 🙂 Since I just started listening to 168 Hours, it’s encouraged me to have more balance with my time to spend it on the things that are most important!

    So to finish up this very long comment, my words: balance and opportunity! It’s going to be a great year!

  • Amanda says:

    If I put my 2013 goals into one word, it would be “Intentionality.” I’m going to live life on purpose this year.

  • Mine is to “BE PRESENT”

    I need to focuseon having my mind and heart on what my hands are doing. If I’m with my kids, to be all there. If I’m on a date with my husband, to be all there. Not have my mind going in different directions constantly and always planning then next thing.

  • Claire says:

    So fun to read everyone’s choices. My word is “attentive, ” based upon my verse for the year, Hebrews 2:1: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” When God speaks, I want to be attentive to Him , for only He knows exactly what I need at the time I need it. In an age of distraction (myself included), I know that this will be a challenge, but I sense that God is going to do marvelous things if I am attentive to His words and to the people He places around me (particularly my husband and 3 children).

  • Maria says:

    I word is “ME”. This year I need to focus more on me, my feelings, my health, etc. I am always worried about how others feel, about not upsetting anyone, about adjusting my schedule/plans to benefit someone else. I didn’t take any time to exercise last year, although I kept planning to do it.
    No more. 2013 is ME year.

  • Sandy says:

    I have been contemplating this for several weeks. God has shown me several times 2 words, ‘surrender self’ on several occasions, most recently about 2 wks ago. I’ve been journaling what this looks like & think this is what my focus for 2013 will be.

  • Grace. Because this last year is what I felt I needed. Grace to just get up. Grace to be able to smile when my heart was broken into a million pieces. Grace to be able to do things in HIS strength when EVERYTHING is screaming to walk off and away. His Grace to get me through the last 6+ years of marriage. I never thought I would still be married. I told myself I would walk away by now if it wasn’t better. Nothing has changed, but I am still here… still waiting on HIM to work. I KNOW He can. I pray every day… many times a day.. for grace to just make it ANOTHER day. To be able to point my precious children to Him. For them to rely on His Grace like I have in the past years.

  • Sirena says:

    From another Type A – I’m stealing the “margin” and the “discipline” words!! Thank you! 🙂

  • Megan says:

    I’m so glad I’m not Type A! That’s a lot of pressure ;). My word would have to be Selfless. Working on putting others first, even if it means waking up extra early so I am able to fit in more quality time with my two little ones.

  • I think my word is “delve.” My husband and I moved to a new city almost 2 years ago now, but I still keep saying, “Oh, we’re still getting settled.” etc. But you know what? It’s time to be settled. So I want to delve into relationships and delve into myself. I want to stop making excuses for not doing things or not thinking about certain things. I want to start learning about the world and about myself. So in 2013, I’m going to “delve.”

    P.S. I TOTALLY relate to your Type A-ness and being able to enjoy margin more when you’re disciplined. Once in college I asked my friends (on like a Sunday) whether they wanted to spontaneously go get ice cream on that Thursday at 7:00. They admonished me that that wasn’t quite the definition of spontaneous. 🙂

    • TinaH says:

      My one word is “BE” – as in be in the moment. Be aware of those around me… I tend to get distracted easily and lose focus on my present because I’m already 5 steps ahead of my actions. Be who God wants me to be. Be present and Be attentive- to God’s voice and to my environment. 2013- it’s time to Be. 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    My two words for the year also seem a bit like strange bedfellows: focus and float. I want to be more intentional about focusing on the person or project at hand, rather than trying to do two or more things at once. For example, if I’m talking to my husband, not playing on my Kindle or phone, or doing one project at a time rather than little bits of two or three different projects. I think this will help me use my time more wisely by investing it in relationships and accomplishing more with my tasks, and have the added bonus of helping me feel less mentally scattered and exhausted. With a 7 month old and a full time job, I’m already scattered and exhausted!

    The word float comes from a book I recently read, Chasing Superwoman (excellent read!). The author talks about the Christian life as like floating down a river, resting in and trusting the Spirit to carry us along the path rather than fighting and thrashing about.

  • Niki says:

    I loved everyone’s “one word.” Mine is “stewardship”. I need to be a better steward of money, resources, health, time, relationships, and gifts/talents. I prayed and I realized that I have a lot of areas that need improvement, yet to set goals in these individual areas would not truly change me. It’s a heart issue, not a time or money issue.
    Good luck and lots of prayers to each of you as you pursue your “one word”.

  • Donna says:

    My word is Magic!!

  • Joy F. says:

    My word is PERSISTENCE. I need to get this weight off and complete some other goals in my life and that will never happen if I keep stopping so hence the word persistence. I will continue to work at these goals as long as it takes to reach them. I am very excited. It was fun to read everyone else’s words as well. Thanks for sharing.

  • Bethany says:

    I too have 2 words. WILLINGNESS and COMMITMENT. Our family is in a crazy time with my husband’s employer of ten years closing last summer, our car being rear-ended and the other vehicle dieing, our second child being born after 2 miscarriages, severe sickness in the first child, and starting marriage counseling. I need to be willing to do whatever it takes to help our family. Including getting a job with insurance while my husband goes back to school to pursue a new career and holds down a weekend job. Commitment to my husband and our family and the process of these short years of harder work to get us where God is leading. Commitment that God will finish what He’s started and has not failed us yet.

  • Angela says:

    I love your words! Mine is ENJOY! I’m determined to not only get by but, to thoroughly enjoy this busy season that I’m in with my little ones. Here’s a link to my post:

  • Laurie says:

    I think the best word for me this year will be LISTEN. Listen for God in all I do. Listen for His direction. Listen to my husband and what he wants to share with me. Listen to my girls and what they have to say….. REALLY LISTEN! I’ve spent most of last year just half paying attn. So focused on fixing problems and worrying about finances. This year I need to spend more time listening.

  • Amanda says:

    I intended to choose a “one word” for 2012, but couldn’t make a decision … this year, I “found” a word that I think, for me at least, encompasses everything I want to focus on: Worth. Where do I find my self-worth? Who and what is worth investing my time and energy? We had a challenging 2012, which has led me to really think about what things are worth to me, both in time and money.

  • Cathy says:

    I choose the word faith. I can’t wait to see how this one word works in my life this year!

  • Marianne says:

    My theme for the year seems to be “intentionality.” I want to be more intentional about how I use my time and money, my career path, all kinds of things.

  • Phallin says:

    My word is….Give.

  • Gwen says:


  • Kim B says:

    My one word for 2013 is “Surrender.”

  • Karla says:

    Positive. I need to act, feel and be positive in all aspects of my life and relationships.

  • Lyndsay says:


    It’s become clear over this past week that this will be my focus of the year. This will be my top priority. This will guide my decisions. This is where all the other plans will branch off of.

    Yay 🙂

    • Julie McDowell says:

      Mine is “intentional”. I want to be intentional with all that I do this year! It is one of my favorite words. lol

      On a side note, I am a counselor and lead groups with clients that are dealing with a variety of issues. Today, I discussed the concept of “one word” instead of new year resolutions, which can be overwhelming or discouraging for many. I loved our discussion today! The #1 word in the group today was “stability”. We talked about various things that we all can do to be mentally healthy. Thank you so much for posting this suggestion!

  • Erin says:

    My word for the year is “Kindness”. I told my kids that our saying for the year is “Don’t Be Mean in 2013!”. I think that everything starts with kindness and that it needs to start at home and spread from there.

  • My word was self-discipline. After reading a chapter in a devotional book I realized this needed to be my word for the year:

  • Ashlee says:

    My word is FOCUS. My three year old and I can work on this together this year!

  • Mary B says:

    Deliberate. I would like things that I do to be deliberate, which means to me thought through, best plan, and most encompassing. I hope to view life with deliberance and drive on!

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • Christina says:


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Cindy says:

    “Abide” and “abound”. I want to focus on abiding in Christ and abounding to every good work through Him.

  • Karen says:

    Budget is my one word for the year. It is a must to be fixed and followed.

  • saraj musick says:

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

  • 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!

  • I did make a list of goals but all points back to DILIGENCE. Sticking to what I’ve sent out for my marriage, parenting, finances, and personal growth.

  • 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!!

  • Cheryl Armstrong says:

    My word for the year is JOY! Focusing on:

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

    • Sally 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.

  • I just wrote about my word yesterday. My word is “action.” You can read why I chose that word here:

  • 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.

  • Olivia 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.

  • 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.

  • Leslie says:


  • 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!

  • My word of the year is Sharing! I wrote about it here:

  • Erica 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.

  • Jennifer says:

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

  • 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.

  • 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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