Why you should have One Word for 2013 (and what mine is)

In the last month I became aware of the #OneWord initiative – a community of people from all over the world who commit to making one word their ‘word for their year’. Several bloggers I know have adopted this idea.

The concept is to have a word which sums up your values, desires and aspirations for the year ahead. A word which will draw all things together, and will provide you with focus for growth. So as I entered this new year, I decided I would make this commitment.

But what word would it be?

There was one crying out to me. And the fear it triggered in me convinced me it was the right word.

The word is professional.

And when I say professional, I’m not just talking about my job. Or writing. I’m talking about my life.

For a long time, I behaved like an amateur. I made easy choices instead of the right choices. I didn’t take my responsibilities seriously. I complained and made excuses like a little child. I set the standard too low on my work, both in my job and writing.

I’d been childish. I’d been amateur.

Steven Pressfield, in his book ‘Turning Pro’, said this:


“The amateur fears that if he turns pro and lives out his calling, he will have to live up to who he really is and what he is truly capable of. The amateur is terrified that if the tribe should discover who he really is, he will be kicked out into the cold to die”


He could have been talking about me. I’ve long been afraid of turning pro. Afraid of actually living up to what I’m capable of. Too scared to believe the positive truth about myself.

In 2012 I began the journey to becoming a pro. I put myself on the Tribe Writers course – and now I’m an alumni. I completed it. During this time I began work on my first e-book, and not long ago I finalised the final draft for release next month.

I’ve already begun the journey to becoming a professional in writing. This year I hope to publish at least one e-book, possibly more. I want to grow my blog community. But it’s not just in my writing I’m going to be more professional.


I’m going to be professional in my relationships I want to treat people well, with respect, love and grace. I want to learn to treat people as Christ would, to be a servant. If I screw up, instead of running away, I’m going to be honest with others and myself.


I’m going to be professional in how I treat myself – instead of eating and consuming junk, I’m going to be healthier, and make sure I’m feeding my body, mind and soul material which can help it grow, instead of garbage. I’m going to take care of myself, because despite what I’d like to believe, God thinks I’m worth dying for, and worth more than abusing my body, mind and soul.


I’m going to be professional in my work – I’m going to take my job seriously, instead of seeing it as something I do to make money. In an ideal world, I’d write full-time, but right now it’s not possible. Until it is, I need other work – and whichever job I have, I must be professional and give my best. And of course, I must continue to be professional in how I approach my writing and creativity – without ever losing the freedom, creativity and imagination which makes it what it is.


I’m writing this post for two reasons – first, because to be part of this community it’s a requirement to write a blog post on your word for the year. But there’s another reason.

I want you to hold me accountable. Ask me how it’s going. Whether it’s in the comments, on Social Media or even in person, ask how professional I’m being. Call it out if you think I’m not being professional.

Let’s finish with a challenge.

Is there a word which you want to choose for this year? It can be any word – light, fearless, courage, prayer, absolutely anything. Pick a word for 2013.  (you can tweet that here)

Then be accountable.Blog about it if you can. Share it in the comments.

Tweet it with the hashtag #OneWord365.

As for me, it’s time to become a pro.
Do you have a word for 2013?

What would your word for 2013 be if you had one?



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Related posts:

Why we don’t need to set Goals for 2013 (set values instead)

6 Lessons from 2012 (and why you need to share your story)

The Importance of Being Encouraging

Why Life is Like Writing

What Story are You Telling?


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  1. tim gallen on January 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    awesome, james! my word for 2013 is “finish.” i started a lot of great things last year, but i’ve always struggled with finishing. this year i’m about finishing the novel i’ve been working on, finishing some projects with my brothers, finishing an ebook. been kind of a blah past couple weeks. but this post reminded me of my word and what i told myself this year is all about. thanks for the reminder and inspiration!

    • James Prescott on January 24, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks Tim – great you’ve chosen a word for this year too. Thanks for the reply and the encouragement!

    • James Prescott on January 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Awesome you’ve taken up the One Word challenge Tim – thanks for the comment and the encouragement, really appreciate it!

    • Eileen on January 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm

       Tim, that was my word last year!  It was a very productive one.  Finished many thing.  Hope it helps you too!  

      • tim gallen on January 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm

        that’s awesome, eileen! thanks for the encouragement!

      • James Prescott on January 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm

        Eileen – you definitely have the gift of encouragement. Love to see people here interacting and encouraging/supporting one another. Awesome.

  2. Lorna_Faith on January 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Hi James:) Great post! Professional is a great word…one I’m learning now too. I’ve adopted Chris Brogan’s 3 word for the year…and my 3 are Worship, Focus, Increase.  I blogged about it earlier this month:) Thanks for sharing honestly about your journey. I’ve joined Tribe Writers also in the fall, but have sortof been ‘a fly on the wall’ as I’ve been scrambling to finish my novel. I’ve learned a lot though…:-)  

    • James Prescott on January 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Hey Lorna, thanks for your comment. Not heard of the 3-word idea, but sounds pretty cool, and some good words as well. Glad you’ve learned a lot in Tribe Writers too – good luck with your 3 words for this year! 🙂

  3. Anastacia Maness on January 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I think my word for this year is “determined”. I’m determined to keep up with my goals this year. I may have to turn down some opportunities and say “no” to distractions but I’m determined to finish strong this year. I’ll have to blog about it soon.

    This is a great and professional post, James. Thanks for making me think.

    • James Prescott on January 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Great choice of word Anastacia, and love your reasoning for it too. Would love to read a blog post on it, and if you add the hashtag #OneWord365 and add it to the syncroblog at OneWord365.com you’ll have accountability and also be part of a great worldwide community doing it. 

      Thanks for your great comment and for the encouragement too, really lovely of you to say what you did. Hope this year is a ‘determined’ one for you. 

      • Anastacia Maness on January 25, 2013 at 6:18 pm

        Thanks! I’ll check out their website and let you know as soon as I have that post written. 

  4. Eileen on January 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    You’re right, James…that is scarier than my word. 😉    Great post and Great word!  

    • James Prescott on January 24, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks for you comment & the encouragement Eileen, really appreciate it! 🙂

  5. Brianna Wasson on January 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Great post, James! I like your word. And I really appreciate how you’re applying to all areas of your life. Very nice. My word for the year is RightNow. (It’s two words, but I made it one. Does that count?) Because God’s been working on getting me to see that He always gives me what I need for RightNow, so I don’t need to worry. I blogged about it a few weeks ago.

  6. Weaveroftale on January 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    I believe my word will be “revises” I have 4 books written, yet not polished.  Revising is another state of mind I’m going to have to get into.  

    • James Prescott on January 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Just checking, Devan is this you too? Just seems to be almost identical to the comment above. If not, no problem, just wanted to clarify 🙂

  7. Devan Crable on January 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    My word will be “Revise”  I have 4 books written and not a one polished.  I have get my mind into the revise mode.  

    • James Prescott on January 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      Wow – 4 books written, sounds awesome. Look forward to reading those, great choice of word for the year, hope it goes well! 🙂

  8. renee baude on January 24, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    I love this James–my word is intention or intentional–depends on the post 🙂  It seems that a lot of us are sort of “growing up” in a different way.   

    Be Blessed.

    • James Prescott on January 24, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Awesome – yes, totally agree many of us are growing up in many ways. Certainly feel like I am. Be blessed too. 🙂

  9. Deanne Welsh on January 24, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    I like the idea of having one word.  While I don’t have just one word – my concept for 2013 is “Writing Life” – this year I’m all about improving my writing, getting paid for my writing and sharing/giving away my writing :)!  I enjoyed hearing your reflections – you can do it! Let’s have a GREAT 2013.

    • James Prescott on January 25, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Deanne, agree having ‘one concept’ is just as good. Love your aspirations for the year, very similar to my own. Thanks for the encouragement and the comment, looking forward to a great 2013! 🙂

  10. Mandy on January 25, 2013 at 12:42 am

    My word is restore… right now there is so much healing going on not just spiritually and emotionally of past trauma but also medically addressing some of my ways of coping. Joel 2:25

    • James Prescott on January 25, 2013 at 7:13 am

      Mandy, thanks for your comment. ‘Restore’ is a great word, and seems quite appropriate given what you describe. Praying for you. 

  11. Joy Lenton on January 25, 2013 at 9:18 am

    A great post, James. In choosing this word you are killing several ‘resolution birds’ with one stone due to its potential impact on every area of your life. From what I have observed, professional is an adjective that has already been active in your life and applicable to you for many months. I look forward to seeing how it develops further in the year ahead.
    You ask about our word for 2103. The concept in the blogging world is new to me, though the idea isn’t. A brilliant concept to intrigue and motivate. I have been ‘given’ a word rather than racking my brain trying to think of one. Though I have spent time in prayer over it.  Not a cop-out, honestly. All will become clear on a blog post near you soon! Can’t spill all my secrets, can I? 
    Bless you for sharing your goals and being open to being accountable for them. Watch out, we just might take you up on that, my friend 🙂

    • James Prescott on January 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      Joy, thanks for sharing and for your amazing encouragement as ever – I look forward to reading about your word for the year! And yes, please do take me up on it in terms of accountability, it’s the reason I put it in. I don’t want this to be an empty promise or commitment, so do keep me accountable! Thanks for your comment Joy, so appreciate your contributions here. 🙂

  12. ♥ Sarah ♥ on January 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    My word is ‘serenity’ and it is a quality in people that I so admire. The ability to calm myself in the middle of a stressful situation and quiet my soul would help me a great deal. I know that a relationship with Jesus Christ is the only thing strong enough to overpower stress and give us true and lasting peace, so I hope to continue to grow in this respect. Thanks for another great thought-provoking post. 🙂

    • James Prescott on January 25, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Love that word Sarah – one to bear in mind for the future I think. Thanks for your comment and your encouragement – really appreciate it! 🙂

  13. Denise Dilley on April 16, 2013 at 1:02 am

    My word for the year is “return.” This is the first time I’ve participated in the challenge, and when I was praying, I felt the Lord leading me to this word.

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