Doug and Lynn Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

What feelings do you have about leaving 2020 and starting a new year? If you’re like many people we’ve talked to, you’re glad to leave 2020 behind and you’re looking forward to a fresh start in 2021.

When it comes to a new year, we often think about making New Year’s resolutions. People make resolutions to improve and transform their life. We researched how many people make resolutions. Surprisingly, statistics vary significantly and show 40% to almost 80% of adults make resolutions. As far as keeping resolutions, we found that only about 4% to 8% of people stick with resolutions to transform their lives. In fact, most people give up on their resolutions by mid-January!

Most methods to make and keep resolutions will follow these steps: Decide what is most important to you and why. Make your goals specific, measureable and then break them down into smaller steps. Get a partner to hold you accountable. Celebrate your success for the smaller steps as well as the final goals.

These seem like workable ways to follow through with resolutions. However, the problem is that, as we said before, using those methods, only a small percentage of people are successful. We wondered what strategies could be more successful in helping people transform their lives.

After looking at many different methods, we realized that the simpler the process is, the greater the chance for success. It reminds us of the wise words of Albert Einstein who said, “Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

With that concept in mind, here’s a strategy that helps people transform their lives. We’ve talked about it in previous years and, based on the feedback we’ve gotten, it seems to resonate with people. It’s based on the book called "One Word That Will Change Your Life" by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and Jimmy Page. We were impressed by the positive impact this concept has had, not only with individuals, couples and families, but also with schools, businesses and sports teams. Sometimes individuals will pick a word for themselves and another word is chosen for the family, business or team.

The authors suggest picking one word for one year as a guide to how you live your life. It’s not only a focus for what you want to do, but also for your thoughts, behaviors, and who you want to become. The "One Word" book talks about how just as a light focused becomes a laser that can cut through steel, a word focused becomes a force that can cut through confusion and bring clarity.

The goal is to incorporate that one word into the physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, relational and financial areas of your life for one year. When your one word is implemented regularly into these areas of your life, it can leave a legacy. As the authors say in their book, “Your word shapes your character. Your character influences your actions. Your actions influence others.”

It is helpful to do things that will keep that word prominent in your mind, such as printing the word and posting it where you see it often. Also, put the word in your smartphone. Use the word as a screen saver on your computer. Share what your word is with others. Look for quotes that contain that word. As Tony Robbins said, “Where focus goes, energy flows.”

If you chose one word last year, how did your year go? Did you live your word? In the past we’ve chosen words to help us get out of our comfort zones. I (Doug) chose the word, “bold." I’ve done that with singing and speaking, and even recorded a rap video. For the coming year I am choosing the word “focus." Because I can get distracted, this word will help me focus on what’s important.

I (Lynn) chose the word “stretch." Because of the lockdown, I stretched to embrace technology to provide virtual therapy and coaching sessions. The positive is that it works well and I can continue meeting virtually with clients. For this coming year, I am choosing the word “love” because I want to embody love in all areas of my life and in this hurting world, love is so definitely needed.

What about you? What one word do you want to choose? Take time and pray about your choice. Whatever word you choose, we encourage you to incorporate it into all areas of your life. Imagine how your life can be transformed by living one word for one year! Wishing you the best for the coming year!

Chanhassen residents Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at