Okay, I know it’s almost the end of January and I’m late on this one.
But better late than never right?
Chris Brogan started this exercise back in 2006. Instead of coming up with a long list of new year’s resolutions that will likely be forgotten (and likely are forgotten by now)… he recommends picking 3 words to frame your goals and intentions for the year.
Here’s why I like the approach:
- It requires minimal planning. I feel like I’ve already wasted so much time planning in my lifetime that I can’t afford to do any more of it. Having a strategy and thinking through what you want to achieve is one thing… but sitting down and day dreaming about the future at the expense of taking action is a trap I’ve fallen into more times than I care to admit. The 3 words idea cuts right through the non-sense and gets to the point. I like that.
- It’s easy to get down on paper quickly. I am obsessive about writing things down. If I think of an idea, or something I need to do, or have any kind of musing… I immediately need to write it down. This can be a productive habit if you stay within some healthy boundaries. I exceeded those long ago. This is one of the reasons planning scares me… more stuff to write down and put somewhere. 3 words is music to my ears.
- It’s easy to remember. I’m probably the only one still thinking about new year’s resolutions. In fact, I’m sure most people have already forgotten what theirs were and have fallen back into old habits by now. But 3 words is simple enough… if I ever feel like I’m off track, I only need to recall 3 simple words, or read this post, to remind myself where I’d like to be and what I should be doing.
Here are my 3 words:
I’d like 2015 to be characterized by a large volume of work. I believe that the path to mastery, in any endeavour, is about putting your head down and doing the work. There’s no substitute, no shortcut. And I don’t think I do nearly enough of it. The key here is to do ‘real work’, not ‘busy work’. There’s a lot of stuff I do that feels like work. But is it really pushing the ball forward? Not so much. That has to change in 2015.
The list of stuff I’d like to work on gets longer and longer every year. I’d like for it to get shorter in 2015. It’s time to start chipping away at that list by identifying which projects are worth my time and pushing them forward relentlessly. The hard part, I think, won’t be the act of shipping itself… but deciding what to ship and what to keep on the shelf.
I tend to abandon ideas too quickly. It’s the lizard brain, or the resistance, doing its work. I get impatient when I don’t see results right away. But things that are worth doing often require you to lean in, trust your gut, and be patient. I need to discipline myself to slow down and let things materialize instead of running off to the next shiny idea.
Looking at it again, there’s a lot of overlap there. But I’m working towards a deadline here…
Flickr creative commons image via clement127.