I love January!

Like a brand new journal, January represents a fresh start or a clean slate. It’s a great time to reflect on what’s going well, what needs work, and to make changes if necessary.

One way to give our New Year a jump start is to choose a word that can help define or refine our direction. This word will be the theme, or motto, for the coming year.

You might already do this, but maybe you don’t! If not, I invite you to consider giving it a try! You might be surprised at how transformational adopting a word can be! Claiming a meaningful word as your motto can change the trajectory of your whole year.

Following are 5 steps to help you identify, claim and live your annual motto.

Step one:

Pray – The place we always begin – we go to God, we ask him for clarity and direction in choosing our word. Keep this intention a part of your prayer for a few days before moving on to the next step. Journal any lights or inspirations during this time.

Step two:

Write – With journal and pen in hand, begin writing words that come to your mind. Think of words that inspire you, words that attract your attention, and words that challenge you. Whatever comes to your mind during this step, write it down.

Step three:

Categorize – Using the words or phrases from the last step, look for common themes and sort them accordingly. The theme with the most words wins!

Step four:

Research – Using the winning theme from the previous exercise, look up synonyms for the words and, or theme. As you write these down you will see a pattern emerge. The pattern will point you to your word.

It’s possible that you won’t need all of these steps to identify your motto. God knows the word He wants for you, the one that will inspire you, challenge you, and help you stay the course. He may make your word clear as day during the first step of prayer, but then again, maybe not. Since these steps can be enlightening, and help us “buy into” our word, going through all five will be beneficial either way.

Some years my word is super obvious, some years I have to go through all the steps and then some! Other years, I just take the information gleaned from the method I described above, and simply make a choice based on what I think would bring the most personal and spiritual growth. I love the process of unlocking the deeper meaning of words, so I go through all the steps regardless of when my word shows up.

This year, two words showed up very quickly, and with equal clarity; POSITIVE and INTENTIONAL. The more I worked with them though, the more I discovered that being intentional is an important ingredient for maintaining a positive outlook. So, the word POSITIVE, is my motto for the year!

Step five:

Internalize – The final step in this process will help us internalize the motto; creating an acronym. Using your word as the foundation, create an acronym including words that further describe how you plan to live out your motto. As we create our acronym, we need to remember to include the means and attitudes that can help us nurture and grow our theme in all aspects of our lives; spiritual, personal, and professional.

Here is the acronym I came up with this year.



Silver lining





Going through these five steps will help you choose a word as your motto for the year. It can help you define, or refine your direction, and act as a compass when you lose your way. Taking the time to discover your word or motto for this year might be just the element of change you’ve been looking for!

Watch for my next blog post as I unpack the ingredients of this P*O*S*I*T*I*V*E acronym and explore some of the important attitudes that help promote a positive outlook