For nearly a year, several friends and I would gather for dinner almost every Saturday night before a night out. Inevitably, when it came time to toast for our first drink, we would shout, “to new beginnings!”. At first it was because something bad would happen to one of us since we saw each other last, but after a while it became our running joke. There was always one of us who could use a new beginning.
This time it’s me. My year and several of my commitments could use a new beginning. And when better to declare a time of new beginnings than spring?
See, here’s the thing. This post is about my personal approach to the near year. It was originally written on January 1.
What? You don’t remember seeing it?
I thought you called yourself my friend. The reason you didn’t see it is because I wrote the post, and then I damn well couldn’t didn’t make the time to edit and post it. When the options are sleeping for only four hours or editing a blog post, I chose sleep.
So there it sat, on my computer as an open word doc, just ripe for the losing when my hard drive crashed. A little known fact, this blog post is actually only one of two files that I have found are missing.
You didn’t read this post because I never finished it. And then I lost it. Country music stars should sing about that kind of loss. Sure it’s not the loss of a loved one, or a broken down truck, but it is the loss of hard work and stories that I fell in love with and then disappeared in a tragic loss of my computer.
This is my New Beginning. Here are my 3 Words.
Every year, instead of making resolutions or goals, I pick three words to guide my year. It is a method I stole from Chris Brogan and have never looked back (thanks Chris!).
I look forward to the process every and it becomes my favorite post for months. The process of selecting the words makes me stop and think about my goals, my hopes, and my focus for the year. They become my mantra and guide for my personal and work life – even though they are quickly becoming one in the same.
Why 3 Words
In my mind, the three words form a pyramid that I can lean on. One word doesn’t leave me any room, two words, seems unfinished. As if I was going to balance something on them, only to have it fall off. Four words starts to become cumbersome in the way of, “wait, what was that again?” At that point, I’m nearly 2/3 of the way to trying to name the seven dwarfs, and who wants to try to do that every day?
Each year the words become more integrated into my life. The first year I wrote them down inside a notebook and then set them aside. The next year, I wrote them in at least a few places. By 2015, I blogged about the worlds and tried to incorporate them into my daily life. By 2016 I went into thinking of cute little monthly challenges I could give myself, only to be laid off twice in the first five months of the year. My lesson from 2016? When you pick a word, you don’t just pick one of it’s meanings, you get the good and the bad with it.
So choose wisely.
Here are the 3 words I’ve selected over the years and written about them on my personal blog:
2014: 300. Learn. Focus. (Or something close to this – it’s in a notebook somewhere, I swear. Since I remember colors first, I can tell you that the notebook is blue, and stored somewhere safely in my house).
2015: Do. Believe. Expand. – Do the work. Believe in the impossible. And Expand my world.
2016: Challenge. Heal –> Strengthen. Inspire. – Challenge myself to do more, the be more, to reach further. Heal then strengthen myself, and finally, try to find ways to inspire others.
2017: Bold. Consistent. Vulnerable. – As in Be Consistent. Act Boldly. Show Vulnerability.
How It Works
Every year I go through the same process to define my 3 words. Not once have I deviated from it, even when I don’t look at the list. It happened organically and somehow it remains organic and consistent.
- Brainstorm a list of words I like and will be okay looking at them every day for next year. Get rid of any words that may begin to annoy you part way through the year. Trust me on this one.
- Select keywords from the list and create a mind map for each one. Sometimes words I think are awesome only end up with a few words in the mind map. I get rid of these. Narrowing it down to three words requires them to apply to many different aspects of my life.
- Narrow down selected words
- Align with goals/direction/purpose (new)
- Finalize list
- Define what they mean to me.
- Write them down so they’re accessible
- Write them down daily, often assigning a different word to how I want to approach the day.
In 2018, my 3 words are Breathe, Build, and Slay.
Last year was my first year with my business. Like all new entrepreneurs, every day was filled with work. Despite how 2018 has started, I refuse to keep that up. I made no time for myself. As a result, I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I know I need to.
I need to find moments where I can stop and just breathe. Whether it’s meditation, taking my dog to the beach, or taking time to see friends, I need to add those moments back in.
Then can I begin truly building.
Build my business. Build my life back up. Build a strong foundation for the future.
As I build, the slaying can begin. “Slay” makes me laugh every time I say it. From Buffy to Beyoncé, I wanted a word that represents kicking-ass, doing amazing things, and having fun while I do it. Since my social media strategy course is called “Slay Your Social”, the word came easily. And it reminds me to be a kick-ass, strong woman who slays all the voices of resistance inside my head and out in the world to do great things.
Those are my 3 words.
Do you pick any this year? And if so, how are you doing with them so far? I hope the answer is amazing. But if it’s not, remember it’s not too late to restart.
Here’s to new beginnings, y’all.