Somehow I’ve missed out on a movement that has been going on in different parts of our great country for a number of years. it’s called MY ONE WORD.

 It seems to be a simple concept with the possibility of having a profound impact.  The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD.

 While I wish I had been bright enough to think of this idea, I’m ready to jump on  board and promote this creative concept of the ones who did! The idea was originated by a young pastor and author, Mike Ashcraft of Port City Community Church in Wilmington, NC. The book, MY ONE WORD, was co-authored by speaker, teacher and personal coach Rachel Olsen.

 Ashcraft says, “If you’re like most people, each January goes something like this: You choose a problematic behavior that has plagued you for years and vow to reverse it. In fact, you can probably think of two or three undesirable habits—make that four or five. Thus begins the litany of imperfections to be perfected commonly known as ‘New Year’s Resolutions.’ All of which are typically off your radar by February.” He says MY ONE WORD began as an experiment designed to move people beyond this cycle.

 He has seen, time and again, how this process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.

 So, while the MY ONE WORD program has been implented by individuals, churches and corporations, I want to see the idea move our entire community! Seriously.

 In an exchange of emails with Mike Ashcraft, he not only granted me permission to run with this idea, but he said we’d be the first ever MY ONE WORD community! So, what do you say, Cleveland (and all surrounding communities)??? Come along on this exciting adventure...begin thinking of YOUR ONE WORD that will impact your life over the next 12 months.

 So how do you go about picking a word?

  Ashcraft and Olsen have simplified it to three steps to help us get started:

 Step 1: Determine the kind of person you want to become!

 The first step is to simply take some time and decide what kind of person you want to be at the end of this year. This goes beyond simply being healthier and wealthier, but it must drive deep into your soul. What about the condition of your heart? What about the person that God Himself has created you to be?

 Step 2: Identify the characteristics of that person!

 Get a picture of that person and then simply identify their major characteristics. Is that person gentle? Is that person generous? What are the qualities of the person you want to become?

 Step 3: Pick a word!

 Once you have a list of the characteristics, simply pick a word. There might be 15 things that you want to change, but you must resist the temptation to promise you will do them all. Instead, simply commit to ONE WORD.

 This will provide you with a lens to see the changes you need to make as well as a way to determine whether or not change is actually happening. Understand that this process is hard, but staying focused on your word will help you to struggle in the right direction.

 Check out the website: — here you will see hundreds of people who have listed their “one word”. Words like embrace, intentional, dream, focus, surrender, adventure, slow, commit, grow, invite, thankful...on and on and on the list goes....each one affecting a life in wonderful, beautiful, positive ways.  The website explains the program in its entirety. I’ll be talking about it here each week, trying to get our readers excited about taking part.

 Ashcraft and Olsen remind us that it’s okay to want to be a better you, and the New Year is a natural time to start. The question is, how? MY ONE WORD replaces broken promises with a vision for real change. When you choose a single word, you have a clarity and focus. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past.

 I’m still thinking on MY ONE WORD....but will reveal it next week. Please be thinking of yours and let’s see how participating can not only be a positive thing for us individually, but for our community as a whole.

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