Can you condense your New Year’s Resolutions down to just three words? (Yes I know it’s February, but bear with me, it’s still the start of a new year!)
Why Three Words?
Even though I have been a long-time fan of Chris Brogan, and I am an avid reader of Rob Hatch’s email musings, I have never created my own three words for a year.
The two of them do it year after year and generously share their approach and their method. Until today, I have been a lurker, not a willing participant.
The three words approach is simple, yet complex – pick three words that will act as your compass for an entire year.
Choose wisely, thoughtfully, then explain to others why you chose those particular words.
Print them out, paste them up, keep them close by. I plan on using my three words as a reset button – when things get crazy, or out-of-control, or overwhelming, I will refer back to these three words and reboot.
Let’s see how I do!
Word #1: Simplify
Thinking back to last year, I feel a great deal of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I had a fantastic year (with the glaring exception of the devastating election results, but that’s for another post).
I moved into a gorgeous new house on a quiet street, my family is healthy and happy, and I made more money than any year since I started my business. But looks can be deceiving.
At some point at the end of October, I felt completely frazzled and exhausted. I had the busiest and most lucrative work month since I started my business almost 8 years ago.
I had signed on too many clients, booked too many speaking engagements, and committed myself to way too many obligations.
I was also moving a household of four people, including two young children, switching my daughter to a new school, coordinating Halloween parties and get togethers (Halloween is a huge holiday in my part of the world), as well as getting used to new routines. (I STILL can’t find half of the stuff in my kitchen.)
Just when we seemingly got mostly unpacked and into a routine, then come the holidays! We hosted Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day/Eve parties, along with buying and wrapping tons of presents, preparing meals, baking cookies.
I am always happy to have friends and family over, and I love my new house, but honestly, it all became a bit much.
This is why I chose SIMPLIFY as one of my words for 2017. Simplify my life, physically, emotionally, and professionally.
Clarify, cut down, reduce, shorten, streamline, de-clutter. This leads me directly to my second word.
Word #2: Focus
I found that I spent a great deal of time in 2016 switching gears and shifting from topic to topic and client need to client need. I kept my email inbox open most days and would get caught up in answering emails immediately to get them out of the way.
I would say yes to any potential blogging, speaking, webinar opportunity and collaboration.
This approach certainly did pay dividends in Twitter followers, blog traffic, and email subscribers. I also earned the most revenue in one year since I started my business in March 2010.
However, i ended the year completely creatively drained, listless, and unmotivated in my business. I didn’t know what it was all for.
I teach my clients to start out with a big, visionary goal and create measurable objectives from that goal.
However, I had not taken my own advice. I felt like I was spinning my wheels just to get more Facebook fans/blog readers/you name it and it was not ultimately resulting in a feeling of success and productivity.
With the word FOCUS in full view, for 2017, I am going to only commit my time and my creativity to projects and work that will get me to my next goal. My book, a long-time labor of love, will finally be published at the end of this month (fingers crossed). I will be able to hold a hard copy in my hands!
As you may imagine, the work of writing, editing, formatting, and publishing a book are a cake walk compared to getting people to CARE that you wrote a book – and getting them to buy it!
Chris Brogan said he knew he had achieved success when he could say NO to things that didn’t line up with his professional and personal goals. This makes so much sense to me. And while I adored (and still adore) the Shonda Rimes book The Year of Yes (it’s a must-read), I am going to make 2017 the Year of Thoughtful, Purposeful No. FOCUS.
Word #3: Challenge
Originally, I was going to have my third word be Acceptance – as in, accept the things I cannot change, blah blah blah. Can you imagine??? The horror! Acceptance is very, very not me.
I looked up words that meant the opposite of acceptance, and they tended to be more negative than I wanted – rejection, denial, disagreement, dissent. While I am absolutely going to practice dissent in the political realm, how can I choose a word that is more appropriate for my personal and work life?
I chose CHALLENGE. It’s too easy to say “I’m not cooking tonight b/c of XYZ” or “I’m not going to go to spin class today b/c of XYZ” or “I’m too busy to blog twice per week.”
There are certainly emergencies that arise, and times when you just can’t. But until REAL reasons arise, I will commit to challenging myself.
You may think that these words contradict each other. In some ways, I can see how they could.
But in the grand scheme of how I envision my 2017, they are complementary – working together like notes in a piece of music. Not always in harmony, but working together nonetheless.
What are your three words for 2017? I would love to hear from you!