All around the world, people celebrated the cross-over into 2013 irrespective of their tribe, religion or time zone. The New Year resolution buzz is still on and you are either in the category of people who already have their plans for the year - get a new job, buy a car, take a professional course, get your dream job etc. you probably waited for the New Year’s eve to draw up your plans for 2013, apparently that’s the time your sixth sense picked up a microphone to scream good plans into your eardrums; or you are sitting comfortably in the group of those who don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because – to you – they aren’t worth your mental effort.
I used to have a glitch with New Year resolutions; I always played hero in the first few weeks after writing down my plans and then go back to my normal everyday life as I get dragged into many activities overtime, but after a long hard thought I realised this happened because I only cultivated the habit of setting goals, like a ritual, because I followed the routine and same pattern since my teenage years.
My father is an advocate for New Year resolutions, as a youngster, he got me a personal organizer at the start of each year, asking me to write my plans for the year. One of those years, my resolutions looked somewhat like this; better grades, spend pocket money wisely, save money for my bicycle, learn to play the piano, make my handwriting bigger, stop making noise in class…
The sad outcome of this repeated exercise and unrelenting effort on my father’s part was that I never bought a bicycle or completed my piano lessons, I talked pretty much in class my entire high school days too.
It took me a couple failures each year in my adulthood to remember I had a plan written somewhere.
This probably happens to you too, you start the year making good plans and setting great goals but you hardly follow through. Although, the great thing about goals is that once you have them written or spoken, you give yourself a chance to focus and you give them the power to shape your reality but that’s only if you are disciplined enough to cut out distractions and prioritise those goals.
If achieving your goals still seems like tough work, perhaps the best advice I can give you is this – quit trying to remember all your plans for 2013, work with 3 words.
I learned the 3 words concept from Chris Brogan, CEO of Human Business Works; as he puts it, “ they are a shorthand representation of your bigger story”.
Your bigger story is larger than your goals or vision for the year; it’s an umbrella for the person you are hoping to become someday, the purpose you are trying to discover, your uniqueness and significance that’ll set you apart and stand you out from the crowd.
The 3-words concept is really simple. Think of your challenges and the things you hope to achieve this year, then think bigger than those achievements, more like trying to align those challenges and achievements with a bigger goal or story.
This is essential because it’ll keep you from a rut and it help you thrive and explore different aspects of your strengths, talent or interests. For example, you want to get married this year – after the wedding, what next? Tying this small goal of getting married to a word like “family” is something bigger, you are not only thinking about your spouse, you are also thinking way ahead into the future which is good because it shows you that you are investing into it. This makes you appreciate those seemingly trivial things you do and it helps you watch the decisions you make.
It’s alright to use any word - freedom, food, stretch, field, swing, sex, fun, yes, no. .. anything, so long as it makes sense to you and they are related with your goals. Just make sure they are words that can motivate you to pursue your goals.
Last year I chose Learn, Bold and Do
Learn: I wanted my year to be all about discovering things and exploring opportunities. I consumed books, articles, blogs like I never have my entire life, I added to my mentors list, I built my network around the people I wanted to be influenced by and I chose my friends carefully.
Bold: I’m more of an introvert but I’ve always had a deep interest (and fright) for public speaking. But with this word as my aide-mémoire; I took up speaking appointments, contributed in meetings, facilitated some plenary sessions, I developed confidence to meet people and I impacted lives somehow.
Do: This was quite explicit – my first two words for last year spiraled into this one, I simply did much more than my comfort zone could accommodate.
My 3 words for 2013; Share, Dots and Now and here’s why I chose these 3 words;
Share: I hope to share more about the things I’ve learned with the people in my network – friends, acquaintances, mentors, protégés, clients, anybody who cares to listen. A larger part of the things I’ll be doing this year would be to share more; share ideas, share knowledge, share time, share possessions – I hope to successfully train myself to let things go when I need to and I also I want to be as open as possible this year.
Dots: I’d love to spend more time connecting dots, solving problems, bridging gaps, I’d be more willing to try out new ideas and observe things critically.
Now: I will work to focus on what matters now, to myself and the people I care about. I’d like to invest my time in the right things and quit procrastinating.
It doesn’t sound like I’ll do much this year but I’m certain you’ll be amazed seeing the results.
If you are choosing a word, make sure it’s something you can relate a number of things to. Again I’d advise against choosing a word like “job” if getting a job is one of the goals you have for 2013, try a word like “workplace”, this way you are thinking beyond the job itself but also making plans to excel on the job.
This concept might sound silly but that’s the beauty of it, because the more you have to explain it to people you tell, the more it sticks, the clearer it becomes to you.
All you then need to do before you sleep at night or first thing in the morning – whichever suits you best – , before you get entangled into the day’s activities, or snore away into dreamland, part your lips and say the 3 words “………., ………, ………” , think about them for a while and focus on how those words can fit into the present day. That’s how I create my to-do lists and it could work for you too.
This is a not a must-do for you, if you’ve been making plans each year and you’ve successfully followed them, awesome. Keep at it. But if you are looking to achieve more this year and seriously looking for something that works, try the 3-words concept.
Spend some time to think this through then share your 3 words with me, trust me, this will help you make things right this year, and by sharing these words, you’ll give other readers insight into their 3 words for 2013.
Welcome to Year Awesome!