My 3 Words for 2017

Bridge at Disney's Coronado Springs
Long Exposure of Bridge at Disney's Coronado Springs.

I have to say 2016 has been an exciting year for many of us.

I have had some mixed feelings about the year. Overall 2016 turned out to be a lot better in many aspects than previous years.

Running a business can be unpredictable. This year we made sure we mitigated as much risk as possible. We evaluated what type of relationships we wanted to establish with clients. We made certain that we validated each relationship and what was in it for us.

We started the year making some much-needed changes. As a result, in the first five months of the year, we were so busy that we forgot to nurture our marketing and administrative efforts. We caught on to it and the Next 7 months we focused on making time for them.

To get ready for 2017 I have already chosen my three words that will guide me throughout the year.

I have been doing this exercise since 2010 where I prepared my first three words in what was a crucial year for me; it was the first year as a Dad.

This year I have taken the feedback of what I have learned by observing those close to us. I have found what has worked for partners, friends we admire, and our best clients. By doing this, I identified some opportunities for me to focus on in 2017.

So without delay here are my three words for 2017.

My 3 Words for 2017

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Epcot Fountain
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I live near the ocean. There is nothing more exciting than to observe the ebb and flow of what mother nature has created. I'm able to watch and feel a current do its job of keeping a very complex system in a certain order.

When it comes to business and personal situations, we need to establish a flow of things. We need to make sure things flow as we wish.

Different to other years, in 2016 we were able to bounce back and reset. We recovered quickly from certain challenges and issues we encountered.

I had a plan in my head of how things should flow. From client communications to personal relationships, it was clear what I wanted in my life. I was going to let go what I felt was going to either drain me or those around me.

So one thing I want to get better at is making sure that 2017 flows in a way that is beneficial to those around me. Especially family, loved ones, and those who help me pursue my dreams and to be able to have the life I live.

I can't control how 2017 flows through, but I can surely plan to make it work for me. I will also remind myself to try to adjust quickly to whatever changes come along the way.

Daniela and Snow White walking down FantasyLand.
We paused for a second on our First Visit to Disney during Christmas Holidays. The pause got my daughter a special treat to walk around Magic Kingdom with Snow White.
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One thing I still need to get better at is taking a break.

I talk without pausing when I get excited or passionate about something. I am sure my friends Bianca and Nando experience it every day with my daily discussions with them. They are also one of the brave few that remind me I have to slow down.

It's one of the reasons I don't do much public speaking. When I love a subject, or I feel passion for it, I hit full speed. But I usually see how my communications and focus starts deteriorating from that moment.

The same goes when I want to serve others. From clients to friends, I tend to answer quickly and react. I have gotten a lot better over the years, but I need to learn how to pause more.

We all need those extra few seconds, minutes, or hours to think things through.

When I pause, I become more productive, and I can make better long-term decisions. There might be occasions that I might need to give a quick answer. So I will be ready for those too.

In most situations, I need to pause and think before answering. From answering an email to any of my clients to giving a response to a friend on technical questions.

I need to Pause more, and I want to commit to doing so in the next year.

Pine Grove Isla Verde
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As humans, we turn into creatures of habit. For some reason, many of those habits are things that entertain us or make us comfortable.

Rarely do most practices align to being more productive and getting things done. For some reason, we always ignore those practices that can improve our quality of life.

In nine years of being on my own, I always tend to work hard, but more importantly, I have to work smarter.

In my years as a business advisor, most successful people are those who repeat what works for them, to perfection.

Repetition seems to be the main ingredient in many successful businesses. My friend and client Nicko who owns Uncle Gussy's has a stable process, and repeats eat over and over. Every day in Midtown, New York where he serves thousands of customers, Nicko has a unique recipe to keep growing his business. From the moment that any customer starts interacting with him, he takes care of them. It makes many of his regular customers have a sense of loyalty towards the truck. If you don't believe me, just watch for a day when Uncle Gussy's is not operating to hear how upset his customers are. They want to do business with him, and if he is not there, they miss him.
There is a reason Uncle Gussy's has been in the same spot since 1971. His repetition is key to his success.

Like that, I can name many other efforts and projects that are a success. Our newest client Camille Fontanez (who is the best destination wedding photographer we could recommend) has her business processes in place.

She repeats a formula or likes my good friend Chris Brogan mentions, a recipe that works for her. When it comes to collaborating on marketing efforts with clients, I have never seen someone so disciplined.

The way she runs her business is like a well-oiled machine. She is always telling great stories on her blog about her awesome clients. Camille might be capturing the super bowl of events for her clients at their wedding. I see how she has a steady work and life balance. Camille repeats many tasks and is always on top of her other business priorities.

Repetition is key, and I feel that when I get too busy, I sort of struggle with that. Lucy, my life and business partner, is so much better at Repetition than me. I am grateful she brings a balance in our work and personal relationship.

As I have proven in 2016 and previous years, as soon as I repeat what works for me in business and personal projects, I quickly start seeing the benefits of what I envisioned.

So a lot more repetition of what I know works and what I know will bring joy and happiness to those around me.

Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

I Prefer 3 Words Vs. New Year's Resolutions

For years I had failed at keeping resolutions as many of us do.

The most common reasons participants fail their New Years' Resolutions are:

  • setting themselves unrealistic goals
  • not keeping track of their progress
  • forgetting about it
  • too many resolutions

Instead of creating a long, overwhelming list of items I can't follow through with, I rather use this method that has guided me for the past six years.

Choosing three words will allow me not to forget about it and track my progress throughout the year.

Are you choosing three words or stacking the odds against you when following through with a New Year's resolution?

9 Irons Gift from Patrick
"The Nine Irons is an old Irish Amulet. In the 1800s Irish Blacksmiths were often called upon to make a set of miniatures. All over Ireland there were traditions of the power of iron in bringing gold luck, averting and healing sickness, countering charms and spells and warding off mischievous or malignant spirits and influences."

Religious Traditions Behind Resolutions

There are religious traditions behind the New Year's Resolution concept.

As I found on Wikipedia here are a few:

  1. Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year. They would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.
  2. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
  3. In the Medieval era, the knights took the "peacock vow." At the end of the Christmas season each year they reaffirmed their commitment to chivalry

Why three words?

I am not a fan of traditions much less religious ones. I want something practical that I can apply throughout the year.

My friend and colleague Chris Brogan introduced me to this exercise years ago. Chris publishes a blog post every year sharing what his three words for the new year will be.

On this trip, I made sure I got on Animal Kingdom's Mount Everest #RollerCoaster. As I got off it reminded me why I usually skip it. Going backward sort of messes with my balance. Tip: If you want to get on it quickly on slower days skipping a fast pass and going through the Singer Rider like should help.

Applying the 3 Words Every Day

It might seem hard to choose three words but even harder to stay on track throughout the year. In the past, I have used a daily software reminder. I have also used text on photographs I have taken around my work space.

Finding a way to remind yourself over the year will keep you on track with your three words. It will make it easier to commit to them.

"Remember that your day is your week is your month is your year. Your success comes from each choice you make along the path. And it’s always your choice." ~ Chris Brogan

My 3 Words Over The Years

  • 2011

    Renew, Focus, and Complete

  • 2012

    Sharing, Purpose, and Organic

  • 2013

    Brief, Fluid, and Control

  • 2014

    Observe, Release, and Substract

  • 2015

    Selfish, Sharpen, and Publish

  • 2016

    Depth, Reset, and Visualize

I am very optimistic to see the changes that 2017 will bring.

The fear of so many changes might have many trying to predict what will happen.

I have always embraced change a bit better than others; I hope I can Embrace the new year in the best way possible.

Happy New Year!

Me and Gaston

Share Your Three Words

Feel free to share your three words and your approach at starting a new year in the comments area or contact me directly. 

Comment Below

Isla Verde


  1. Olle Lindholm on January 1, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Growth. Self-respect. Contribution.

    Great to see how everyone does this exercise each year. To help you with flow, I highly recommend checking out Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work, if you haven’t already done that. Happy New Year!

    • Raul Colon on January 1, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      Will look into Mihaly’s work. Thanks for taking the time to read the post.