Journaling My One Word Journey AND Five Quick Tips for Finding Yours



Well it’s that time of year again. The time of year when many choose to make resolutions, set intentions, carve out goals, and plan their dreams for the fast approaching new year.


Since 2012 I have been joining in the One Word trend which continues to grow in popularity. I often begin to reflect upon my One Word choice in November or so which is when I allow myself to begin cautiously  considering the year to come. I say cautiously, because I want to be careful not to miss out on being present and available in the last months of the current year. I think there can be too much focus on the nuts and bolts of these kinds of things instead of the substance.


As someone who reflects regularly in time, I believe there is a natural unfolding of occurrences which make it easy to tune in to what is needed on all levels- mentally, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and in all areas that one needs to grow and grapple with in their daily life.

I believe if we are in tune with God, ourselves and others- we will hear a plethora of possibilities that might be overwhelming. So many choices- and yet we want to limit ourselves to one?



YES! It’s possible and powerful to choose one word, however you want to do it. But, I have found the best way is to reflect on your current year, and define the most prominent feeling you have been experiencing in each area of your life. Don’t judge it if you perceive it as negative…this isn’t about defining YOU…but defining a feeling that is transient, yet still dominant.

For example, our past year as a family has been tumultuous, full of harsh realities, complicated circumstances which we could not control, loss of physical belongings, ill health and many unplanned and unusually difficult situations. Many which we could not do anything about.

For me personally, I struggled with caring for and supporting my family and trying to also maintain my identity, commitments and life. Guess what the overwhelming feeling that came to me after journaling reflectively and repeatedly.

The word that came up in the rambling scribbles in my journal repeatedly was “trapped”.

After the hardships, health issues and many challenges my family endured, it boiled down to feeling trapped. I wrote about it in many ways through poetry and journal rants…TRAPPED.

My One Word for 2018 was Jesus. How could this be? I expected a joyful year. A year of abundance. The last thing I expected was the literal sewer backup into our lives that brought loss of home and belongings especially to my mom. It seemed to set forth a multitude of other things that have led to her slow demise over the course of this year.

To say this year has been a painful journey would be an insensitive understatement. To sum it up in a blog post would be impossible. But to say, Jesus hasn’t been present and powerful in my life in ways I would have never anticipated would be a lie. I cannot deny  that He has shown me many things and brought me and my loved ones through…

Was I weary, yes? As a matter of fact- I think my feeling weary spiritually and challenged in my faith is what brought me to what I thought my One Word 2019  would be : Revive.

Oh, I needed the same Jesus who carried (is still carrying) me through 2018 to revive me in 2019. This I knew.  But when the opportunity to enjoy a Planning Day with Jamie Ridler  right from home came up I welcomed the wonderful and hope filled diversion.

It was as I was tearing through magazines one image struck me and I set it aside continuing searching for the images in my exploratory afternoon workshop. As we were instructed to choose one, I wanted to choose all the writerly ones…the ones that showed a published book of poetry, or some aspect of authorship…but I kept looking at the image of the girl with flowers in her hair and the words “I Love to Be Free” across her top.

Love. To. Be. Free. Love. Be. Free.


The journaling exercises to follow revealed and confirmed – to my surprise AND delight, the word for me was to be FREE. I wasn’t even planning on seeking my word as I thought it was settled.

Which leads to my  next suggestion abut seeking your One Word for 2019 – You will know when your One Word is THE ONE, even if you have chosen another. It’s like that quote about the teacher revealing themselves when the student is ready. You get that, right?

Don’t sweat, or fret trying to make it happen…just keep reflecting, and asking yourself what you need, remain open and expect the unexpected.

There are many great resources out there BUT I honestly think if you give yourself half a chance and set aside your own desire to choose- you just might find…you get what you need. (Um, yes you can sing that part.)



Five Quick Tips for Choosing Your One Word:

  1. Ask yourself what was the dominant feeling, emotion of prior year.
  2. Journal reflectively about your year in a summary fashion- accomplishments, losses, things left undone.
  3. Be Open. Don’t try to “make it happen” Instead listen well to your own inner being.
  4. Get in the place to receive- however that looks to you- a walk outside, prayer, mediation, singing in the shower. God speaks. Just not always as we assume or anticipate.
  5. Surrender to possibility. Not for the fainthearted. (Sing with me, “I Surrender All”) This is where I say, I like the idea of …BUT, not my will but thine, Lord. Example: 2012-I liked the word Abundance, but God chose Less. Go figure.



I have written consistently on each of my One Word experiences- the discovery of and walking with on my blog throughout each year.  I’ll link the intro post for each word below.

My list of One Words with corresponding Intro post:

2012 – Less  Could Less Be Best?

2013 – Release {One Word 2013}

2014- Renewal- When Your One Word Flies Into Your Life Uninvited

2015- Redeemed …But, I am Redeemed

2016 – Revelation 2016

2017 – Light Thoughts on Revelation and Coming to The Light in 2017

2018 – Jesus  My Arrow and Aim for 2018

2019- Free Journaling My One Word Journey AND Five Quick Tips for Finding Yours

2020- Remember (added December 4, 2019. Post to follow)


You can join in at One Word 365 and My One Word for support and resources.

Thanks for joining me here today- I hope this post was helpful.

For more journaling inspiration and support, you can buy my book of journaling prompts : Journaling for Discovery and Delight and join me on Instagram at @thejournalenthusiast.

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at

4 thoughts on “Journaling My One Word Journey AND Five Quick Tips for Finding Yours

  1. I know I haven’t been too communicative this year with you. Nothing personal…just seems like we have been on different plains (planes?). Anyway, I am thinking about you now as it seems that you are going through some very deep water at the moment. Praying for you. I am also thinking about my One Word for 2019, and haven’t arrived there yet. Last year was renew…and that has been a journey. Not sure it will ever be over… God bless you dear Dawn. Please know you are LOVED. I think I finally fixed the ability to comment on your wordpress blog. For some reason in the past I wasn’t able to, but now it’s fixed. (((hugs))) to you dear friend.


  2. Here I am, a year past this posting but commenting still. This year my word has brought me closer to God in ways I did not expect. Over the last month, I have found a few words tapping me on the shoulder and I am letting those words simmer. I know God will lead me to the word that will deepen my relationship with God’s plan for me. Thank you for being so transparent in your writing here.


    1. I finally, just this morning have received my One Word 2019 ! After a number of words swimming between my ears, lol. About to blog it now…let me know when you receive that confirmation…I know for me there were good candidates, BUT God slowly reveals mine…and for that I am grateful!


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