My Three Words for 2012

Prior to Christmas, Chris Brogan challenged his followers to “come up with three words that will help you define your goals and experiences for the coming year.” This is in place of resolutions, which I’ve never quite understood, but that’s a topic for another blog posting.

This posting is bout my brief journey to find three words that I could live by for the coming 12 months, and hopefully for years afterwards.

I had a bit of a head start on the list because earlier in December I had clearly defined what I’m passionate about. I had worked on that list for about three months before finding what ignites me. The list is surprising short, but a mind map of the words would be fodder for wallpaper.

My passions, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Communications (social media and PR)
  • Learning
  • Research
  • Teaching

My passion list quickly led me to create a vision list. This vision list consists four phrases that should be included in almost every action I take in the next two years.

My vision list consists of:

  • Complete my master’s degree
  • Finish writing the book
  • Plan (mentally and financially) for a PhD
  • Gain a better understand of the nuances of research

Looking at the two lists side by side, it’s easy to see how they are related; but when Chris put forth the three-word challenge, I wanted these three words to help me move forward with and augment my two previous lists.

Here are my three words for 2012:

  • Action
  • Passion
  • Contribute

“Action” can mean many things, but in this context I’m using this word to help me finish up old projects, such as writing the book I started in 2004, continue with current projects, such as my masters, and look forward to something new, such as a PhD.

“Passion” is a reminder to focus my energies into what I’m passionate about, which are listed above.

“Contribute” reminds me that my actions evolving from my passion and vision lists must also make the world better in some way.

I have printed out the three lists and keep paper on my night table. While that may seem like a rather strange place to keep the lists, I find that reflecting on my day before I go to bed helps me understand how I could have made better choices. I ask myself if I worked towards my goals. One step towards my goals every day is much more important to me than sporadic leaps and bounds. In the morning I also look at the lists to help me focus my mental energies for the day.

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