Home » 122 – The One Word is the One Thing

122 – The One Word is the One Thing

by Jill

 I review the book One Word That Will Change Your Life to see if that focus can shape our entire year! 





[MUSIC] Have you ever wondered if one word could change your life.

That’s what we’ll talk about today.

[MUSIC] Don’t ever diminish the power of words.

Words move hearts and hearts move limbs.

How’s my use of.

Today we’re gonna talk about the book, One Word That Will Change Your Life by John Gordon.

He offers up to us that if we could change one thing, improve our life in incredible ways, and it was all really easy to do, wouldn’t we want to try it.

And that’s what he calls the one word.

He says that this book is there to show us how one word can change everything.

Our vision, our look at the year, we give ourselves a theme for the year, and what we can do to make huge improvements.

I know a lot of times that people are working New Year’s resolutions coming up with like lists of how you get this done and this done and maybe the resolution list is huge a very long list or sometimes they’re maybe too complicated they’re convoluted I want to go to Bali and get a massage on the beach and you know keep going and going and so then it makes it very hard to do because it’s this very long item also having many resolutions makes it hard to accomplish.

So this is where he says that we have to start taking in consideration one word.

He says the first step is that we have to look deep inside, get rid of the noise and all the clutter and find a good place to think where we can just dig deep and think about the perfect thing that one word would do for us.

He says that it’s easy to do the process of discovering what our one word should be and he’ll give us some questions about what we should ask ourselves to reveal our words.

He says all these habits and game plans that we do to try to change our behaviors misses a lot of the most important thing which is changing the heart first.

If we want to change our lives and our hearts not in it we’re not going to do it.

You know there’s always that big debate that goes between the heart and the brain where you’ll hear people say that if we don’t convince our brain we need to do something or if our brain doesn’t understand why we need to do something then we won’t do it.

But in this case he’s saying that we have to convince our heart, our soul, our being in order to actually get these changes.

And I get that.

I’m someone who loves to question everything.

I do deep dives into anything if I’m gonna learn to live a healthier life.

I’ll research it, I’ll investigate it, I’ll read all the books I can I’ll read competing ideas about it trying to determine and then yes Obviously clear I should do X Y & Z But then why don’t I do X Y & Z and that would be a symptom of me convincing my brain I have to do it, but never Getting on board with my inner being he says we get frustrated and all the things when we fail That if our marriage isn’t great our workplace isn’t great If we fail at our goals, then it’s just another thing that we didn’t do right and he says nope in his simple word It’s just gonna be one word and that if we try this approach You’re just shot.

He says it’s radical that it will help our whole year He says the nice thing about it is it’s not based on just temporarily giving in and doing the one thing You think about the people who go to the gym.

January 1st, I’m at the gym.

I’m working out.

I saw some city or place was basically banning you from signing up for gym memberships the first week of January.

People get all wound up about it and they’re ready to go.

And they’re powered on willpower and passion and everything else that we do with our resolutions.

But again, the problem is, is it’s too complicated and we haven’t convinced our inner being that it’s correct.

He says that sometimes we come up with mission statements and so we make it clever.

So maybe we just come up with one thing, but it’s gonna be this clever sentence about what it is we’re meaning to do.

I’m going to live a life of health so that I may benefit in every way from my healthy living, my healthy eating, and going to bed on time.

And even in that complicated statement, he realized that the problem is, is that simple sentence I just said probably contains a hundred tasks, a hundred different things that I should be doing in order to accomplish that one mission statement.

It doesn’t really help paring it down in order for us to actually activate on that.

And we need to do it every day so that we can change our life, not have this complicated thing.

He says that one word will be focused.

It will be drilled into a particular topic.

He gives spiritual, physical, mental, relational, emotional and financial.

And he says, you know what.

The word is important.

I always think the pen is mightier than the sword.

We all know that words are powerful.

When people say hurtful words to us, we feel hurt.

When they say inspirational words to us, we feel inspired.

But in this case, we’re going to find that one word that will help make it impactful through our entire year.

He says that you should get something called a stretch team that will help you, encourage you, be on your side, give you good advice.

And again, it’s that same concept of having a support group out there trying to help you.

And these have to be people who have it in for your best interest.

They have to be for people who really are caring about what it is you do.

He brings back the movie, which is funny, because when he talked about the one word, and he says that he created this concept of the one word, my first thought was the movie City Slickers.

Has Billy Crystal in it.

And Curly, the cowboy, says the secret to life is one thing.

He holds up his finger.

One thing.

Just one thing.

And Mitch, who is Billy Crystal, says, but what is that one thing.

And the cowboy responds, “Well, that’s what you’ll have to find out.

” And the idea is that based on this horse event that they go on, of course, he figures out what the one thing is.

It makes me think a little bit about the TV show alone.

You know, these people go out and they have a chance of winning half a million dollars, and they go live in some wilderness.

And of course, food and health is always a big issue.

But the one thing that gets most of them as they sit there in their cabin, their log cabin, their shack that they built, and they think, “Oh my gosh, why am I here.

My family means so much to me.

” Their brain starts eating away at them.

And you know, when I think they eventually go home, a lot of times, most of the time, through their own decisions, it’s because I think they figured out what their one thing is.

He says that he developed a framework for figuring out what your one word is going to be.

He mentions, first of all, we have to have silence.

That’s going to help us look inward to try to determine what’s inside of our heart.

It helps prepare us for figuring out our one word.

He calls it the look in step.

Strangely enough, on my other podcast, Small Steps with God, I did a podcast about quietness and reaching out to God.

And it’s a similar idea that in order for you to gain clarity so that you can see what’s really important to you, you have to clear away all the junk and all the clutter that’s going on in your brain, essentially.

I’m terrible about this.

I’m way on the A.




My brain is filled with junk all the time.

When I try to go to bed, I am thinking of no less than 53 different things that I should be doing.

I should be thinking about.

But what about this and what about that movie over there.

My brain is packed full of things.

It helps me as a podcaster because I’m always thinking of ideas to put into a podcast.

But I think when I’m trying to think of deep things, it probably doesn’t help me very much.

So the first thing is you have to think about what do you really need the most.

What is it that is most challenging in your life.

This is interesting because I was planning on doing a one-word challenge before I read this book.

Gretchen Rubin, who has the happiness podcast, always talks about the one word she picks a theme for the year and Sometimes it’s very creative like lightning meaning you want to be quick and snap in there and get things done and snap out of there So they usually tend to think of a higher concept that represents what they’re trying to do I’m never quite that clever last year impact I want to start having an impact on my job on doing this podcast in my a life outside of both of these things, but making a difference.

And I think it worked really well.

I think that it raised my work game up quite a bit.

Before that, I had a little phrase that was “dot the I.

” I mentioned that in the past podcast where I felt like I wasn’t finishing things to the oomph degree to make it perfect.

This year I was thinking about taking risks.

There’s things I I don’t like, I tweeted about it a little bit earlier this week, where I don’t like taking risks.

I don’t like stepping out on the ledge.

There’s a lot of things that make me feel uncomfortable and many times when I feel uncomfortable about them, I don’t do them.

And so my first initial thought on what I was going to pick for the one word was going to reach out better and take more risks or do things I feel uncomfortable about.

This quote came from Twitter and it was Claudia Stelner.

“I don’t like taking risks.

Taking risks means losing comfort and familiarity, and the human brain would do anything to prevent the emotion of loss.

That’s why I like to remind myself, there’s always something to lose.

Make sure you choose the more exciting path.

” So in her case, it’s maybe not risk that you’re picking, maybe you’re just picking the more exciting path.

And I liked how she reframed that whole idea.

I can do that.

So that was going to be my theme.

And then I thought, is that really where I need to have the biggest impact.

And I decided it wasn’t.

The real answer is health.

I talk about a lot in this podcast, my urge to be healthier, lose weight, get more exercise, eat healthier.

And so I decided my one word was going to be health because that’s what I really need to focus on.

If I drop over in the next year, well, this podcast isn’t going anywhere particularly exciting.

So while I can take all the risks and do the exciting things I could do to make this podcast grow, if I’m not here, there’s no podcast.

So obviously my health is the number one thing.

He says the next step is to look for obstacles, things that are preventing you from going this direction.

And when I examined that, obviously the thing that’s getting in my way of reaching my goals in this area, Well, it’s me, my laziness.

I love every hobby that involves sitting.

I knit, I read, I watch movies, I play on podcasts, I edit my podcasts, and every single one of those things is just sitting and not moving much at all.

Then the third thing is what needs to go.

Is there something that’s holding me back and preventing me from moving on.

Now, I could do something drastic, honestly, and say, “Well, I sat a lot less before I started running a podcast, so maybe the podcast has to go.

” But I don’t think that’s the answer.

I like doing the podcast and I think it’s helping me.

It makes me feel like I have to be more accountable.

If I let my life fall apart, then maybe I’m not a very good personal growth podcaster.

And so I’m learning a lot.

It’s It’s holding me accountable in some kind of a way.

And I think it’s actually a good thing.

So the question is, is can I give up on sitting more.

And the answer to that is yes.

So I have other plans to help me get up and move around more than I am.

He says that we can also see God and pray about it in order to get that one thing.

So that we should go and stretch outside of our comfort zone and look for opportunities that are right around us.

And he says that hopefully you’ll start seeing some things, some things that are easy to get, some things that may be more difficult.

And as we start looking deep into our souls, we’ll start realizing where our stresses are and where we really need to put our energy.

It’s also important that we also think of that word or think of that phrase all the time.

Gretchen Rubin and her sister, when they do their one word theme, they actually order necklaces or bracelets that have the one word on it.

they wear it all the time.

So when it jingles around their wrist or swings around their neck, they realize, “Oh, my one word.

” So making sure that you put it right in front of you all the time, you’ll see it.

And we’ve talked about past podcasts where we create vision boards.

We talked about in the shower podcast about writing it on your mirror.

He says you can make signs, you can take pictures of it.

He even suggests a one word journal so that you can write down that one word and see how you did every day with doing something for that one word.

He says that you can even have a weekly challenge.

You can look for quotes and poems and prayers and things that try to help you get that.

He even suggests getting removable tattoos so it’s always written on your whatever arm you want to put it on.

But keeping it front in mind is the important thing to do it.

Or having check boxes.

You know, when you have resolutions or goals, you’re checking a box.

But when you experience something and you live that thing and you let it shape your life, that makes all the difference in the world.

He says it’s important that you’re not gonna change your word mid-year.

You’re gonna pick a new word every year and it’s gonna be a different word next year.

He gives some really good examples in the book about what other people picked and the impact that it had on their lives.

So then that was his next step, to live your word, which means you’re gonna experience every piece of it.

Your life is gonna be embroiled in it, and you are going to do a deep dive to see how you can be involved in this word all the time.

Again, he says to look up, means praying about your word and asking for help in order to get your word.

I think for me, he gives some challenges and some ideas that are good ideas.

He talks a little bit about does it actually have to be one word.

Could it be two words or a couple of words.

And he insists it must be one word.

So for me, healthy is the word that I picked.

I have in the past, like I said, picked a small phrase.

I think that works okay as long as it’s maybe under five words, something that you can roll off the tongue at any moment, that you can think of all the time.

I think two words are kind of nice because I always like pairing an action word to it.

You know, if you wanted to read books, you could say books.

But without the read books, it feels a little vague to me.

You know, even with healthy, what does that even mean.

Does that mean exercise.

Does that mean eating.

And so inherently, I would almost like to say two words where I would say get exercise.

Again, I could pare it down to one.

He insists it be one.

I think there’s a little flexibility there as long as you keep it just as a couple of words.

But if you’re going to get a necklace made of it or a bracelet, having the one word certainly helps.

So I like this idea.

I’ve done it for the past couple of years, primarily because of Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Podcast and I started it off at the beginning of the year too.

So far healthy to me has meant that I have exercised each day of the year and I’ve dropped calories down quite a bit.

Lucky for me, all my Christmas food kind of ran out before New Year’s, so all of it’s gone and I’m back to my regular diet.

So I’ve been working on picking the healthier choice.

So healthy helps me pick my choice, but then healthy also means that I’m trying to fill all my rings on my Apple Watch.

That’s how I defined it to be right now.

It’s important to keep in mind that when you do pick your word, you know what that means because you don’t again want that one word to incorporate all these tasks and all these things that are hard to remember.

The idea of what I’m doing is not that I’m going to come up with this task list of what healthy means.

It means to me that every time I’m given a choice, healthy is the right answer.

So if I think, “Hmm, should I go upstairs and exercise or should I watch this TV show.

” Healthy, okay, go exercise.

If I’m sitting there and looking at two different possible lunches that I might have, which one am I going to pick.

This one with more protein or this one with a little bit more fun to it.

Well, healthy.

So that’s how I’m looking at it that the answer to almost every question I’m going to pick this year is going to have the answer healthy.

So my challenge to you, of course, is come up with the one word.

What one word theme will you have for the whole year.

Then think about what you could do to put it throughout your house and in your life.

Are you going to make phone backgrounds with the word.

Are you going to use an app that will remind you of the word every day.

Think about it and let me know how you do.

You can always contact me at jill@smallstepspod.


You can let me know what your word is and what methods are you using in order to keep that word in front of your eyes.

All right, everyone, thanks so much.

Appreciate you listening.

Please remember to subscribe to the podcast and tell a friend.

And remember that we can get through our one-word goal by taking small steps.


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