M.O.W. stands for: My One Word. It is an idea and a movement that encourages people to abandon the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions since we all know those never work anyway. The idea behind MOW is to choose one theme, character trait, or idea that can be summed up in a single word and focus on that for the whole year. There is no guilt for not having done something you promised yourself you would do. Instead, guilt is replaced with the celebration of what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown regarding your one word come the end of the year.
Click here to learn more about M.O.W. on their official website.
I have been choosing an annual theme word for at least four or five years now.
Last year, I actually had two: Contentment and Power.
I don’t feel like I am done learning about these two words just yet. Not that December 31st should mark the end of my growth and learning in any of the themes but there are some times, such as this year, when it seems the themes spill over a bit into the next year. Or, as in my case a few years ago, I remember my theme word for one year beginning a few months prior to the start of the year.
In my experience, it is the Holy Spirit, not me, who chooses which character trait or idea I am to focus on. I certainly, of my own accord, would never have chosen Humility or Discipline which were my theme words for 2011 and 2012 respectively.
The same goes for this year’s word which is: PATIENCE
Often what has happened towards the end of the previous year is the word for the next year begins coming to mind, is the topic of conversations, the theme of sermons, the subject of songs I hear or books and articles I am reading… with notable regularity. This was true of the years the Lord gave me Humility and Discipline, but I was for awhile, in flat-out denial (not to mention afraid?!) these should be M.O.W. for the coming year. So much so, I sat down on multiple occasions to make a list of other words that seemed both fitting and… um… more “friendly” shall we say… but every time I would be writing these lists, it seemed like the Lord would say to me:
“Why are you wasting your time when you already know the word I’ve given you?”
After the third or fourth brainstorming session (or maybe fifth or sixth?!), I gave up trying. My extreme reluctancy to accept these words and the suspicion and tentativeness I had regarding how the Lord would go about growing me in these areas didn’t immediately dissipate but they were largely overshadowed by the peace I had once I had resolved to receive the words the Lord was clearly giving me.
Once I know what my M.O.W. is for the year, I write the word on several index cards and place them in locations where I will be sure to see them often. Other practices include: hanging up quotes and verses related to the topic, choosing at least one book on the subject to read during the year and praying the Lord will specifically teach me more about the year’s theme.
So… I am curious to know:
Has making New Year’s resolutions ever worked for you?
If you use M.O.W. or some other type of replacement for resolutions, how has it worked for you? How do you choose your theme word?
What things do you do to help yourself learn and grow in your theme (or stay on track with your resolutions)?
Do you have any tips on how to keep yourself focused on your word (or long-term goals) throughout the year?
Please let me know in the comments below!