Three years ago I found Chris Brogan’s approach to each new year and quickly adopted it as my own. Instead of making a lot of resolutions, or goals for the new year, he chooses three words to act as his guiding force throughout the year.
In 2014, I was clearly new to the idea and after around February, my words served more as an afterthought that I had to dig to find at the end of the year. In 2015, I did a better job selecting them and created a process outlined below. My words helped me feel like I kicked ass when I needed it the most or became distracted. That doesn’t mean the year was easy, in the hardest moments, I managed to maintain focus throughout the year.
2015 Three Words
Do: As in DO THE WORK.
Stop talking, and do it. I read Amy Poehler’s book “Yes Please!” when it came out towards the end of last year, and something she said was so simple and yet it resonated with me long after I finished her book,
“You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.”
For all of my worrying about not having any ideas, for all of the stress I put on myself about what to write and how to write it perfectly, the simplicity of what she said caught me. Stop worrying and start doing.
Believe in myself. Believe good things will happen. Believe I’ll get through whatever comes up. Simple, but having a positive outlook is important to me since there have been many times when maintaining it is hard.
Go beyond where I was. Expand my horizons, my experiences, my dreams, ideas, and life. Be bold and fearless. I took this and found several things to challenge myself, many of which I want to do and expand in 2016.
2016 Three Words
After giving a lot of thought to what I want 2016 to include, I settled on the three words below.
Last year I ended up challenging myself in different ways, sometimes on purpose, other times not. As I look at 2016, I decided to make the challenges more formalized. More on this is coming as I’ve started outlining different challenges for myself to take me through 2016.
Heal → Strength.
I need to heal myself – my body, heart, and soul.
Once I heal myself, I can focus on gaining Strength. When I’m on the top of my game, look out. To feel physically and mentally strong again is something I can’t wait to reach.
Be inspired, inspire others. Stick with it and finish what I start. Share what I finish.
Finding the right words
Everyone is different and what works for me, won’t necessarily work for someone else. Here is my process for selecting my words:
- Step 1: Brainstorm a list of all the words I wanted to approach the upcoming year.
- Step 2: Categorize the words into areas. Some words overlap and to me those are the most interesting because they have the most possibilities.
- Step 3: Create word clouds with the top words to see which ones I gravitate towards and begin playing with those and what they mean to me.
- Step 4: Finalize my list of words and put it somewhere I can see and reflect on it often. For the record, most days I have the reflection time of a goldfish, or a small child. Oh shiny! And then I’m on to the next thing. In this case, I write them in the front of whatever notebook I’m using.
Give it a try. It’s oddly satisfying to have a framework and guiding ideas for the year.
Happy New Year!