I later discovered that the “three word” trend actually started with Chris Brogan. Apparently Chris has chosen three words each year since 2006 to guide him through the year. I’m not sure how I missed it all of these years, but here we are.
I liked the concept of three guiding words—simple and easy to recall—but I wasn’t sure I could choose so few words to represent my goals for an entire year. Admittedly, I probably overthought it. I actually made a list of words, crossed some out, rearranged them, then had an epiphany one morning over coffee.
Finally, here are my three words to guide me through 2017:
My first word for 2017 is gratitude.
I spent 2016 trying to focus on things that made me happy. After learning that happiness is more of a mindset than a state of being, I was determined to identify happy moments and happy things until I began feeling happier. What I discovered was that my real happiness comes from identifying all I have to be grateful for.
For example, we had a leak under the floor in our family room right before Christmas. To repair the leak, workers had to pull up the ruined carpet, jackhammer into the house’s foundation and cut holes in the wall. We had to relocate our living space, which meant storing furniture in other rooms of the house. It also meant forgoing our annual live Christmas tree and holiday celebration cuddled around the tree in the family room. I spent a full day feeling sorry for myself that Christmas was “ruined,” then I got some perspective and got over it. I realized that I have two friends who were spending their first Christmases without their husbands. My sister was spending her first Christmas without her son after he was killed in an accident last summer. My little family would spend Christmas together, and I was grateful for that, tree be damned.
I have so many things in my life to be grateful for. I have a fabulous husband, two amazing children, a good job, a beautiful home, plenty of food, and two dogs who love me unconditionally. I have a nice car that runs well, friends I enjoy and enough money to live comfortably. I am healthy. There aren’t a lot of life problems that I can’t overcome with gratitude for what I have. In 2017, I want to focus on that gratitude and not obsess over all of the little annoyances in life.
My second word for 2017 is focus, which works hand-in-hand with gratitude.
It is easy for me to lose sight of what’s really important in my life by focusing on what others are doing, what they may think, what they have that I don’t, etc. Comparison really is the thief of joy. This year I want to focus on what’s right and important to me, for me.
My focus also should flow into my work and hobbies. I want to focus on spending my time on the things most important to me, that will yield the most important outcomes for my life.
We only get so much time on this earth. I want to spend 2017 focusing on making the most of it, not allowing myself to be distracted by things that don’t matter.
My third word for 2017 is momentum. Where focus builds on gratitude, momentum builds on focus.
Focusing in on the projects and actions that are important to me in my work and hobbies will allow me to build momentum in my own professional development.
After defending my dissertation last year, I have accomplished many things, but I also spent a lot of time relaxing. It’s time to refocus and build momentum on professional projects that are important to me.
I’m too fast to want to have it all, do it all, be it all RIGHT NOW. In 2017, I want to focus on little actions that build great momentum toward accomplishing my goals.
These are my three words for 2017. I don’t think I’ll forget them, but I’m going to put them on sticky notes in key places, just as reminders when I need them most.
What are your three words for 2017?