I am sitting here writing and preparing my 3 words for 2019 with a smile. This past year 2018 was one of the most challenging but yet most rewarding years in many aspects.
This year was one marking the rebirth of many things as we also take a moment to remember the deaths of those who passed during and after Hurricane Maria. Even today the first year of 2019 and 468 days after the Hurricane devasted the Island, parts of the Island are still without electricity and face other issues.
The Ghost of Hurricane Maria Haunts Many Of Us
I've been through many hurricanes and tropical storms. As Islanders, you don't have a choice but to be resilient and deal with what cards you have been ten. Hurricane Maria left scars that you can see in every corner of the Island, exposed many more scars than what people thought, and brought to the forefront the number of people that passed during and after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.
The Balance of Being Ready for The Worst but Expecting the Best Outcome
The past year most of my decisions have been influenced heavily by being able to survive another event like Maria. Although they have had some influence, I have chosen to push through with my decisions and hope for the best while working 10 times as hard to accomplish what we wanted.
The reality is that putting in the extra effort working seven days a week for most of the year paid off and allowed us to feel we are as ready as we can be. There is always room for improvement.
Getting Back to the 3 Words Exercise
Since 2010 I have been using my good friend Chris Brogan's advice in choosing 3 words to guide me throughout the year. Over the years I take the last weeks of the year to reflect on what I have done well, what I failed at, and what I can improve and continue doing.
This exercise involves in looking at the results of my efforts on the personal and business side. I also make notes of the words I think will help me maintain a course towards what I want to accomplish in the near future.
I favor action words which remind me that I need to correct a behavior or focus on a specific goal that I have set for myself.
Getting Ready for the New Year 2019
Once again in an effort to get ready for 2019 I choose three words that will guide me throughout the new year.
So here I share with you my three words for 2019.
My 3 Words for The New Year 2018
One thing I continue to work on outside of my business goals is my photography. I recently invested in new equipment and I have been working on improving my photography skills even more.
While I was watching one of the many videos that Jared Polin from FroknowsPhoto.com creates to share his knowledge and insight on photography something he said has stuck with me for the past few weeks.
Snapshots vs. Capturing a Moment
He was critiquing how some people take snapshots vs actually capturing a moment with their photography. Those words resonated with me; years ago I listened to Gary Vaynerchuk in front of a small crowd at SXSW talking about how everyone was just taking thousands of pictures but there was no depth to most images people were sharing at the conference in daily life.
I see it every day now when so many people want to become influencers and they strive to promote a brand for free while they continue to spend their dollars. I see it when business owners who think they are entrepreneurs are constantly doing things because their competition is doing it. They are just going through the motions of doing something because someone else did. I might have been guilty of this many times in the past. I have been lucky enough to have friends that are smarter than me and I have had the patience to listen to their feedback and correct what I have done.
So this year I want to make sure I focus on capturing every important moment and opportunity.
By capturing a concept, idea, and/or project you are taken ownership and digging deep to get results from it.
I will do my best not only to make sure I am capturing moments with my camera lens but capturing moments in my personal and business life.
I need to take ownership of the environment that surrounds me and capture the benefits that are tied to that environment.
As a creative person, I tend to continue building and making new things. I remember when I worked at KPMG I went back to the folders in my computer after 9 months of being in the firm. I had created so many tools for management out of their Research and Development Center I had forgotten of a few I had made and that was just in 10 months.
I've been working on my own for almost 11 years now. I usually tend to go back and see what I have done but I don't do it enough. I need to revisit content that went unpublished or an update on my old blogs that can be reused and retouched so that it resonates with the present and the future.
I tend to do the same when building websites for my clients. On too many occasions I can reuse something and style it differently but then once I am in half way I realize I could have saved time by repurposing and regenerating the code, templates, and tools I have already created for myself and my clients.
The first month of the year I am going to focus on consolidating what I have created before, standardizing it, and also making sure I can regenerate new things out of them.
As for myself after Hurricane Maria, I have fallen into a bigger routine than what I use to have. I need to make sure I am covering all the bases with our business and working harder. I need to look at ways to work even smarter than we already work and that means I might need to regenerate my way of thinking.
I think out of my 3 words for the New Year this one might be the most challenging of all three.
When I was in college getting my Public Accounting Degree I remember there was one Professor who really cared about us.
Jose Irizarry was always reminding us of the importance of drinking water, using colors to learn, and how accountability can make or break a business.
At that time it was normal for me to hold onto 3 part-time jobs, was in the Army Reserve, at one point in the ROTC, and also took a load of no least than 18 credits per semester.
One occasion Jose called me to the side and told me it was ok to sleep in his classroom. There was scientific proof I could retain more if I was fully asleep than battling the sleep I needed. On many occasions, I would leave a 3 am a shift as a bartender to head over to Class at 730am.
Jose always held us accountable for our actions. He was very fair with us students and like I mentioned before extremely caring.
Jose taught me that there is really no direct translation in Spanish for Accountability although with a few words you can explain the meaning.
This past year our business grew so much we had to work 7 days a week for most of the year. We enjoyed the rollercoaster of a ride but I want next year to become a lot smoother.
I still feel there are areas where I can improve my communication with clients and also hold myself accountable a bit more on many things that sometimes I don't have the time to check as often.
I never had an issue with being accountable for my actions but I think when I use the word accountability this year it's to have a level of more detail into what I would my friend Robbie Vorhaus calls in his book One Less One More.
Robbie explains how every day we need to more of what we love and do less of what we don't. A mantra that I've applied throughout the many struggles.
Accountability when it comes to My Minimalism Journey
Accountability will also help me get back on track to applying minimalism. For some reason, after the Hurricane, I tend to want to have enough in our small apartment so we don't need anything in the case there is another emergency. I want to be prepared.
I feel at this point I am prepared and just need to inventory every item I have and get rid of what I am not using.
Accountability will help me greatly in that process.
I Prefer 3 Words Vs. New Year's Resolutions
I have failed at keeping resolutions, I am more than sure that you have probably failed too.
The most common reasons we fail at our New Years' Resolutions are:
- setting unrealistic goals
- not keeping track of their progress
- forgetting about it
- too many resolutions
Don't create a long list of overwhelming items you know you are not going to follow through with.
In my case, this method has worked for me for 7+years so I am going to stick with it for now.
Choosing three words will allow me to focus on less, and allows me enough time to get it right as the year consumes itself.
What approach are you taking? Are you choosing three words or putting the odds against you when following through with a New Year's resolution?
Religious Traditions Behind Resolutions
There are religious traditions behind the New Year's Resolution concept.
As I found on Wikipedia here are a few:
- Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year. They would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.
- The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
- 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.
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.
Finding a way to remind yourself throughout the year will keep you on track with your three words. It will make it easier for you 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
Last year as I finished this post it was with a heavy heart. Many of my friends and family still did not have electricity. Some extended family did not even have a roof over their head.
I have seen how hard most people on the Island have worked to left themselves up and make 2018 a great year. Even if it was not that great for many I sure have to admire the amount of energy and the fighting spirit of those who were affected on the Island because of Hurricane Maria.
Happy New Year!