One Word for 2017

Most busy women who are scrambling to fulfill all the roles in their lives aren’t looking for more pressure. They don’t want anyone telling them to run faster and jump higher. And they sure don’t need one more thing to make them feel like they’re not enough. “New Years Resolutions” can feel like another expectation heaped on their plate, and they’re saying “no thank you.” But there is a way to start the new year with a theme and focus that isn’t demanding or guilt-producing: choosing your “one word” for 2017.

This is the 5th year I’ve chosen a word of the year. The amazing thing is that the word has stuck with me for the entire year, especially the last three years. By stuck with me, I mean it has impacted my life, it has truly been a life theme and it has taught me throughout the year. I first learned about the concept from the book My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen (it’s currently sold out on Amazon but you can get the Kindle version).

Here are the words I’ve chosen in the past:

2013 – Purple (This word symbolized royalty for me, to realize my identity as a daughter of the King)

2014 – Fearless (Not so much boldly going where no man has gone before, it was more fear-less–as in absence of fear–since anxiety and stress are shades of fear)

2015 – Believe (To believe big for what God could do in my life, and to believe in myself)

2016 – New (To renew my mind, see what new things God is doing in my life)

And this year’s One Word for 2017: Identity (as in “Live Your True Identity in Christ)

The funny thing about choosing a Word is that it doesn’t always turn out to mean what you thought it would mean. I thought that “New” would be rather exciting, like new places and new ways of thinking. Instead the year held many difficult challenges and changes: the loss of my mom and my father-in-law, a foot injury that eventually resulted in surgery after months of pain, and some unusual mistakes and stresses of life. Of course there were also joys and good times: the birth of a new grandson, family travel, our 9th child graduating from homeschool and beginning college, and a son’s engagement.

My past words never leave me, they remain meaningful and they still belong to me. They’re like a stack of favorite books with worn covers and underlined passages. Those words help me remember the years and the events and lessons.

Because I’m accustomed to keeping my One Word where I see it often, my 2017 word has already impacted my life. I’m used to reviewing the word daily because I keep it on the wallpaper of my phone:

I also look for jewelry and small home decor pieces with my word–and so does my husband, to surprise me! I’m guessing this won’t be an easy word to find, but things with the initials “I.D.” will work.

With this new year’s word, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to check whether I’m reacting with a false identity—that I’m not enough, unloved, uninvited—or my true identity of royalty, a daughter of the King, secure, loved, and confident. Like, all day, every day. I have a feeling that this year’s word will be life-changing.

Choosing a word doesn’t have to be a huge process. Don’t overthink it, you can’t get it wrong. You can change it quarterly….or monthly. I usually make a list of several words, sit with them, look up Scriptures, pray about it, and narrow it down. I was surprised by this year’s word during a business planning session. I was leaning towards “Grateful” for this year but then “Identity” popped up and I knew in my heart that was it.

Why choose a word? It tends to impact every area of life throughout the year, unlike a list of a few resolutions that are forgotten in a drawer in two weeks. For instance, “Identity” affects my business, my prayers, my relationships, my health, my words….you get the picture. It’s an over-arching theme and it’s sort of fun to see how it plays out and what God is up to! It’s simple and it’s One Thing, which lends itself to focus.

I’d love to hear what your word is, and maybe a brief explanation of what it means to you. Maybe you’ve already chosen one. If not, maybe now you’ll give it a try. Please share YOUR One Word for 2017!



  1. Focus. I want to focus on my priorities, choosing the ‘best’ things and not getting distracted by the ‘good’ things. Using my time wisely.

    1. Charlotte says:

      Such a good word, it’s so easy to get distracted.

  2. Joan McAnally says:

    Is it. T rue
    Is it. H elpful
    Is it. I nspiring
    Is it. N ecessary
    Is it. K ind
    Think before you speak or act.
    (Inspired from a sermon at church)

    1. Charlotte says:

      Ooo, clever! As an acronym it makes this word richer!

  3. Generous. A few weeks ago I realized my attitude had become stingy in little ways…not taking time to make a quick encouraging call, being silent instead of giving the compliment I intended…little things that showed an attitude I didn’t like. I want to be a generous woman – with my love and my precious husband, my family, my friendship, my life. I wasn’t looking for a word; it found me a few weeks ago and I remembered you doing it!? God has already been prompting and confirming it.

    1. Charlotte says:

      LOVE this, Jenny. Self-awareness is so important. May you have a generous year!

  4. DOER
    Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only. James 1:22

    1. Charlotte says:

      So good to DO rather than just read or talk about!

  5. Sherri Lloyd says:

    I knew right away what my one word needed to be. I had seen it in a poem during a bible study I had done I had already printed it out and applied it to my bathroom mirror but had not fully embraced it and the power behind it if I allow God to fully plant it into my heart and grasp the power behind it. The word is Persist. This word speaks to me about not giving up on my hopes and dreams for my future. As a widow of 5 years, many of my dreams seemed to disappear when my husband died. I am only able to move forward because of my belief that God as a plan and a purpose for my life That plan did not end when he died and the truth is it did not change. He had know since the beginning of time that he had a plan for a hope and a future that is custom made for me. So this year I will persist in seeking him and not giving up when the roads seem to hard to travel.

    1. Charlotte says:

      Oh Sherri. God DOES have a plan, to give you a future and a hope. I hope 2017 is one of the best years of your life.

  6. Fulfilled. This year I will fulfill many of my hopes, dreams and desires. God has given me all of the tools I need to be fulfilled in so many areas of my life.

    1. Charlotte says:

      Powerful word! God will use it to remind you to have courage and faith as you fulfill your dreams!

  7. Persevere. Things have been hard the past few (several?) years but the end is in sight. I’m tempted to give up often but now is the time to push through, believe, and achieve.

    1. Charlotte says:

      Yes! Don’t give up! Good things are right around the corner for you!

  8. Bless. To bless the Lord and bless others. I think it will come to mean more than that… but not sure exactly what that will look like.

    1. Charlotte says:

      Great word. You’re right that it may look different than you planned….but that’s actually exciting!

  9. Persevere is my word, too. I was convicted last year about adding self – control to my knowledge and perseverance to self – control. (2 Peter chapter 1) I have realized that I actually do have a measure of self – control, but what I really lack is persevering in self-control. I already see many other things I need to persevere in. Persevere in love. Persevere in decluttering. Persevere in studying. Persevere in seeking and hearing from God. Persevere in trusting Him. I love the idea of putting it as wallpaper on your phone. Just gotta figure out how to do it. Blessings to you and your family this year.

    1. Charlotte says:

      Very cool that your word is already impacting your life in many areas! I use the Rhonna Designs iPhone app the most to create phone wallpaper. A bit of a learning curve but it’s very versatile. I think that keeping my word on my phone is the #1 way I’ve found to stick with it for the entire year! I change backgrounds at least seasonally so I don’t get too used to it and quit *seeing* it!

      1. That was meant to be a thumbs up! Great word for the year!

  10. Forgot a big persevere in…persevere in prayer!

  11. My word is Connect. I heard a speaker say that if Christ were teaching today, he probably wouldn’t use the vine/branches analogy because we are so removed from farming/husbandry. He would probably say, “You are the cell phone, I am the charger. When your battery is charged, you are an amazing piece of technology … Look at all the good you can do. But without being plugged in and charged up, you can’t do anything.” So that is my first layer of Connect. But also, I need to connect to my family-to look into their eyes and tell them that I love them and really listen to them-and to others that need me. And finally, to connect to the truth inside me about what my real dreams and desires are so that I can overcome the tendency I have to make decisions that are comfortable at the current moment but that won’t get me where I really want to be. A close second is Create.

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