So, you find yourself at the beginning of 2017 and it’s time to set your New Year’s Resolutions. STOP. Dump the resolutions this year. Why? They just flat out don’t work. They set you up for failure. 25% of them don’t even last a week! Up to 80% are toast by February. Less than 10% of all resolutions end in success. The older you get, the harder they are to achieve. One study showed that people in their 20’s are 3 times more likely to keep a resolution than those 50 years and older. The problem with a New Year’s resolution is that the New Year only lasts for a few weeks at best. You’re not thinking about the New Year come March, April, or May. Once you miss your resolution then the guilt starts – you beat up yourself for not sticking with it. This is why it’s time to dump the resolutions.

There is a better way… Pick One Word!

A few years ago I discovered a book called “One Word That Will Change Your Life” written by a speaker I had met a few times named Jon Gordon. The idea is quite simple and powerful. Instead of creating a litany of resolutions for the New Year you just pick one word. You pick one word to focus on for the whole year. You set a theme or intention for the whole year. It’s more empowering and serves up a healthy dose of clarity, passion, and inspiration.

I’ve done this with my family the last few years

We gather over the holidays to talk about what’s in store for our lives this coming year. What do we need more of in our lives? What could be the main focus of the year? Is there a particular area we want to grow in? Who do we want to become over this next year?

In talking about it different words start to appear. We each keep a list of our possible words. Then we let them sit for a while. We let our subconscious mind process it. As ideas come to us we take some notes and start to get a feel for which word might be “the word” for the next year. We spend some spiritual time asking for guidance in picking the word, the theme for the year ahead.

Then it comes to you – Bam!

This is the word for me. The word has power. The word inspires you. The word fills you with hope and energy about the future. The word is uniquely you for some reason. You have a why behind the word and that makes it a very personal word for you.

My word for this past year was Value. It was a year where I was focused on creating value for others. This value came from coaching, creating classes and talks, articles and all my interactions with people. How can I add value? I asked myself that every day. My weekly plan had “2016 Word – Value” right at the top to remind me. My wife Beth’s word was Learn. She had decided to go back to school and it was a year of new learning for her. My son Bo’s word was Transition. He was graduating college and starting a new job in another state. I’m happy to report that he’s doing well and he’s completed the transition. My daughter Kaitlyn’s word was Acceptance. For her, the year was about the process of gaining acceptance into medical school. Words can have many meanings and levels. Acceptance can also be about being more accepting of yourself or of other people. I’m happy to report that she did get accepted and will start next year! I’m in the process of selecting my word for 2017. So far the word that’s the strongest for me is Serve. I want to serve people better and serve more people in 2017.

How about You? 

What could your word for 2017 be? What do you want more of in your life next year? What’s coming up for you in 2017 that needs your focus? Who do you want to become? What trait would you like to grow in yourself next year? Spend a moment starting to build your list of possible words. Talk about it with someone close. Spend some spiritual time asking for wisdom about it. Then commit to that word for 2017.

Once you have your word – What’s Next?

You want to focus on and be reminded of your word as often as possible. Like I mentioned I write my word on my weekly plan each week to keep it top of mind. Some people create a sign with their word. Others create a painting or other artwork representation of their word. I encourage people to make a graphic with their word in it.

I use a free program called Canva

You can set up a free account at You can quickly create graphics of all kinds for free and no special knowledge or skill is required. Millions of people are using this to create all types of graphics. Here’s an example of one I did for my possible 2017 word Serve. I use this graphic as the image for the lock screen on my iPhone. Many times a day I am reminded of my word, my focus for the year when I pick up my phone.

Next, you want to share your word with family and friends. Let people know what you are up to for next year. It feels good to know others are supporting you and your word. Finally, you want to live out your word. Stay committed to that word for the whole year. You will grow. It will have an impact on you. It will last much longer than any resolution you could set. If you would like, you can share your word with me, my email is below. I wish you well for 2017 it will be a unique year of growth for you.

Now pick your word to take control and make it a great day!


P.S. To learn more about the book that started it all for me you can visit:

Blaine Oelkers is a lifetime entrepreneur, a graduate of Purdue University and Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship program. He’s achieved over 100 Million dollars in sales and coached 1000’s of people. He’s currently the Chief Results Officer for many organizations as well as the President/Founder of a company called Selfluence. He helps business owners and their organizations achieve essentials results using the unique concept of a “Super Results Day”. He can be reached at

Blaine is America’s Chief Results Officer® and the world’s greatest creator of doneness. He knows your results matter and he can help you get better, faster and more long-lasting results. Get started with one simple and elegant results technique that activates your mind with your top goal over 100 times a day. He explains it in a short TEDx talk he did which has been viewed by over 120,000 people! Your results matter – get access immediately at