Every year Michael and I do a “3 words” exercise that was introduced to us by Chris Brogan. It’s much better (in our opinion) than making New Year’s resolutions or setting goals that have such an intense “pass/fail” mindset.
By choosing 3 words to focus your energy on, you instead set up a direction for your efforts that has a more fluid feel to it and is more likely to be effective.
You can check out our previous 3 words exercises here.
I did pretty good with last year’s words, Consistency and Numbers. I’ve got a regular pattern of tasks and a decent way to track them, and I’m in good shape with knowing where my money is at. For 2018, I’m sticking with 2 words.
Prioritize: I want to keep homing in on the work that brings in income and activities that give me joy. I’m still/always struggling to eliminate superficial distractions and instead do things that make me a better person. Specifically, I’m getting rid of my Hulu subscription (probably) to make more time for reading great books and I’m ditching the mindless Facebook scrolling by reinstalling this news feed eradicator.
Patience: This is a really, really hard one for me and it’s much more personal than any previous ‘words’. I spend more time around children nowadays, and I’m not as patient with them (or my partner) as I would like to be. I want to be a positive influence in their lives, not a naggy, snippy demanding one. So I’m working on patience by listening to some parenting and mindfulness podcasts and trying to spend more time one-on-one with each kid in no-pressure, no-hurry situations. Baby steps.
I failed pretty miserably at my words in 2017. Last year I chose action, refine and balance. I wasn’t great at taking action on things, I didn’t move things forward in the way I wanted to and I didn’t feel much balance in my life. Boo on me! In fact, I felt pretty UN-balanced and spent way too much time being stressed about work.
But I’m not beating myself up too much because we can’t win all the time. This year is going to be a better one based on the things I’ve learned in 2017. My three words for 2018 are: simple, dreams and family.
Why simple? I went overboard on way too much stuff last year. I launched new brands, explored new projects and generally overextended myself. I’m done with that. 2018 will be the year of simplifying my life and looking for ways to remove complication.
I chose “dreams” because I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time lately worrying about other people and what they want or think. Sometimes this is good but I feel like it’s been at the expense of my own dreams and pursuits and it’s time that I put myself first a little more and not worry what other people think.
I also want to spend more time and attention on my family. I want to be a better husband and father, especially while my son is still young.
My words for 2018 are a bit of a departure from my previous words and I think that’s a good thing.
(Side note: have you met Sara? She’s been helping us out for a while, and she’s running one of our Accountability Groups in January!)
I completely dive bombed last years words Focus, Purge and Vacation. Well, not completely, but I did better the year before. I didn’t purge my house of all the unwanted things hanging around my tiny (450sq ft) apartment and I didn’t go on vacation. There were so many things going on in both my personal and professional life last year that sometimes it’s a wonder I came out in one piece. Now that things have been a bit closer to normal in the later half of 2017, I am ready to refocus my efforts with a do-over. My 3 words this year are Invest, Consistency and Budget.
Invest: I want to invest in so many different areas of my life. I want to invest in more continuing education and I want to invest in growing and fostering my team and I want to invest in growing my business. But mostly I want to invest in myself. For the last 13 ½ years, there has not be a lot of me time, but now that my daughter is getting a little older and can handle more responsibilities, I can now take time out for all the things that we parents put on the back burner.
Consistency: Last year I started bullet journaling because I thought that it would help me get organized and it did…when I remembered to make my pages. I would like to use a combination of technology and bullet journaling to help create some consistency in my regular activities. Truthfully, I’ll probably have to set a reminder to bullet journal, but instead of hitting the snooze or ignore button, just hunker down and do it.
Budget: I recently began using a budgeting tool that has greatly reduced my stress level and given me a better idea of how to prioritize my money rather than looking at the end of the month going “where the heck did it all go?” I am far from perfect and still have a ways to go before I can start putting money towards my rainy day categories, but I like I am more in control. My goal for the next 6 months is to be able to have enough funds to pay 3 months of business expenses ahead so maybe I can finally take that vacation.
Some of our Premium Members shared their words!
We’re mixing it up a little this year, too! We invited our Premium Members to share their 3 words, in brief or with a little explanation.
Here’s what we got
Crystal: Foundation. Excellence. Margin.
Greg: Inspiration, Essence, Clarity.
Bonnie: Balance. Consistency. Organization.
Stacey: Heart, expansion and love.
Julie: Intention. Balance. (Yup! 2 words is okay sometimes!)
Rianne: Me. Intentional. Happy.
Karyn: Focus. Structure. Fun.
Leslie: Deliberate. Growth. Quality.
Ellen gave us some thoughts behind her words:
Service: Make each and every client feel like they’re the most important person in your day. Remember something unique about them, be totally present, and truly serve them in a way that makes them feel special.
Focus: Whatever task I’m doing, whether it’s massage, checking a client in or out, making notes, or even office tasks, maintain complete focus. Do everything with intention.
Growth: I’m beginning my 4th year of practice, and am constantly aware of how much I don’t know. Attending CE classes that enhance my skill set will help me continue to grow into a more accomplished massage therapist.
I even thought of a 4th word that brings everything together: Gratitude! I so appreciate the opportunities my practice has given me to learn, meet other people, and to make a small difference in the world.
Jen is using a phrase:
My three words are “twist the punch.” This means take it all the way in my massage marketing and promotion. The prep work I have done in my marketing is the first 90%, the execution at the end of that is just as important, if not more. It’s the final push.
Meg’s got a plan:
Growth – Grow my business now that I’ve moved into my own space. Grow my knowledge base by adding a Personal Trainer Certification. Grow personally with meditation and other practices to control anxiety and depression.
Efficiency – Ensuring good use of my time and setting limits on what I do and how much time I allow myself to focus on tasks. Choosing the best use of my time and setting time limits on those tasks, both personally and professionally.
Enthusiasm – ensuring I stay enthusiastic and find the joy in every day and all the little details including the setbacks I can learn from, that will add up to success. Staying positive.
Aiyani did some serious reflection and chose discipline, confidence, boundaries.
I used to be a “goal oriented” person. What was the finish line, and I could focus and motivate myself to get there, thus winning. I am no longer this person. Goals for me now become a stale place of “now what”. Discipline, however, is doing what needs to be done without the goal or reward hovering and dangling. The reasons are more simple to me. And I need less complexity when setting daily, weekly, monthly or lifely intentions.
Confidence. I am dual licensed for massage and esthetics and will be bringing in new techniques and new pieces of technology (fine I’m actually bringing new toys and I’m excited). With new anythings, though, I will need to be confident in my training, and prices to honor my education and reflect the value of my work.
Boundaries. I must make sure when I am at work I am working. When I am at home, I am present with my husband and our twins. I find myself eating dinner and replying to emails or texts or shopping for supplies and I want to set clear boundaries for myself for when it’s time to work. And when it’s time to absolutely leave work alone.
Thanks to everyone for their contributions!