Words for a New Year

I love words. 

Reading them. 

Writing them. 

Hanging them on my walls. 

That’s why I love the idea of choosing one word to focus on all year. Instead of making a new year’s resolution that may disintegrate in a few weeks along with the good intentions, I can try to remember one word all year long. 

Last year, I didn’t really choose a word as much as a word chose me. Two words, actually. 

At the end of last year I asked God a question. I wanted to know what to do. How to handle something that didn’t turn out like I wanted it to. Should I move on and forget it or keep a flicker of hope alive? 

The words “carry on” immediately came to my mind. They weren’t words I often used so I felt sure they were God’s words to me. But what did they mean exactly? I thought those words really didn’t answer my question. Or did they? I looked them up in the dictionary.

“Carry on: Continue an activity or task; continue to move in the same direction.”

As I continued to think about those words, the more they meant to me. I decided to carry on with seeking God in this situation. I continued taking all my concerns, worries and fears to him. 

I made up my mind that even though I couldn’t understand how God could work this disappointment out for something good, I would trust that he would. And then this year brought me some new things. 

When I decided to change my routine and get up extra early to spend time with God, even though I’m more of a night owl than an early bird, I wondered if I could possibly make it a habit. 

When I asked myself how could I write a blog when I knew so little about it, and wondered what in the world I would write about after my first post, I had no idea if I could continue. 

When I didn’t even own a camera and wanted to take my own photos for my blog, I wondered how I could learn about photography. 

When my plans for a trip to Paris seemed overwhelming, I wondered how they would take shape and fall into place.

But those words, carry on, whispered to me that I should keep moving forward. 

Keep stretching. Keep connecting. Keep doing the hard things. The risky things. The fearful things. The things I don’t like to do. 

Because I found sweet and gracious and giving friends, who were either experts in their fields or willing to share their knowledge of blogs and photography with me. And I found other friends who were happy to walk beside me and cheer me on as I forged ahead on these unfamiliar pathways. 

And as I decided to carry on, the embers of disappointment and fear were snuffed out and a dimly glowing dream of sharing my words with the readers of (in)courage started to flicker. 

I’m thrilled beyond words (actually speechless!) that in 2013, they will publish another article that I wrote. 

And when I carried on, the fear that made me say maybe someday I’ll travel, became a day last year when I flew across the ocean on a dazzling trip to Paris.

My word for 2013? It’s aspire

It speaks to me of possibilities. Things I can hope for, dream of and set my sights on. Things I might never even think of today or dream that I might love. 

To me, aspiring is not about having ambitious plans or meeting goals. It’s not about trying harder or expecting things to go the way I want them to. 

Instead, it urges me to reach for more. Of God. I want to look for him and follow him. To soar. Through doors that open to places I could never imagine.

If you’re interested in choosing a word for 2013, visit myoneword.org for inspiration and to connect with others who are choosing a word.


  1. I love the New Year, and this New Year, I am really looking forward to the new possibilities! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Brittany,
      I know this year will hold special possibilities for you -- I'm encouraged by your optimistic outlook and praying that something special is just around the corner for you!

  2. Great article! Terrific words - both for this year and for the New Year.....they really go together well - one building on the other! Your articles really are an inspiration, as the prior person commented. Don't ever worry about your topics - they have all been superb......and I look forward to seeing new ones weekly! Hope 2013 is a great year for you!

    1. Sharon,
      Thank you for blessing me with your encouragement and sweet words this year! I'm grateful you came back into my life after knowing you while I was in high school -- just a short interlude to reconnecting! :)

  3. What a grea idea to choose a word instead of a resolution -- something to inspire hope instead of disappointment. I love the word you have chosen for 2013! I can't wait to read about where it leads.

  4. Beautiful - just beautiful, Valerie. I love the idea of a word instead of a resolution. Although it's tough to just choose one - HOPE will be my word for the year. :) - Shawna

    1. Shawna,
      Hope -- love it!! One of my favorite words . . . you're right -- it is hard to choose just one -- but every year gives us a new choice --I look forward to what a year might inspire!

  5. Love this idea! And I picked my word already :) -Bree

    1. Bree,
      Won't you share your word with us? :)

    2. I choose FAITH. Faith in God's plan for me, faith in the decisions I make, and faith in how I approach my life. It's been an amazing journey already. Thabk you for sharing such great insight. -Bree

    3. I LOVE the possibilities of FAITH -- what a wonderful word!

    4. I love this post, and I wanted to check in on my word and how I described it. What a great word I choose. FAITH that everything will fall into place just as it is supposed to. That couldn't be more true today. I am glad I went back to re-read this post. And to yours as well. ASPIRE and seek possibilities. I think half way through the year, I can say we've picked great words and I hope we can continue to live by them.

    5. Bree - I love that you checked back in on your word! It's so true -- these words both describe our journeys this year, in ways we could have never thought of when we chose them. I'm looking forward with anticipation for the second half of the year and many years to come . . . .

  6. Love that word! It has so many wonderful things that go with it. Happy 2013 to you :)

  7. Thank you for this! I picked a word -- patience -- that will definitely NOT be easy for me to stick to.

    1. Patience -- I love it! I applaud your courage!


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