Every year once November comes around I work towards getting ready for the new year and one of the first things I work on is my 3 words for the year. But this year was so packed with new experiences and priorities that I decided to make sure I could start working on things I needed to work on before the new year ended.
I have a small notebook in which I have been writing some words that would come up and try to choose 3 words that would guide me in a New Decade and a New Year.
The year 2019 was packed with many emotional events. I started the year losing my Grandma Lydia. Grandma was my other mom. She was always there supporting me and keeping me on track. I can say the first hard-working entrepreneur I met was my grandma. The first business I spent a lot of time was at Grandma’s Flower Shop. She evolved her business into many forms. At one point grandma to bring the bread to the table, she would drive kids to school, teach her florist skills, sell clothing, and focus on her main business as a florist.
A Year Packed with Activism
Once I left the U.S. Army in 2006, I started inclining myself to social and environmental activism. My years working for CPA Firms like KPMG and other consulting firms that were a department of Defense Contractors as an IT Security Consultant made me see the world from a different perspective.
For quite some time I’ve been involved in many movements as a collaborator, liaison between the international press and activists, and a photographer capturing what I see from the front lines of those who are fighting for a better Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico’s Summer of 2019
I was pretty busy for the first 6 months of the year in between one of my big projects got canceled and it opened my schedule up just in time to join those protesting the Department of Education Corruption Scandal and then the Governor Rossello Scandal.
As I closed off a project I hit the streets with my Camera on July 14th, 2019 to capture about a hundred protestors that arrived in front of Fortaleza. On that night I was pepper-sprayed because I attempted to document a few police officers hitting activists without the proper id. Apparently, the Captain of the Police Force was trying to intimidate me and another photographer from not capturing what they were doing wrong.
That night I would have not thought in a matter of days we would have hundreds of thousands marching in Old San Juan, and about 1 million people protesting in the major highway.
For 3 weeks I put everything aside like many others did and we manifested ourselves in a way to put enough pressure to have Ricardo Rossello resign as a Governor.
Getting Back to the 3 Words Exercise
In 2010 when I was moving away from my IT Security Consulting Projects to more creative projects my good friend Chris Brogan wrote about how he prepares for the new year by choosing 3 words. Those 3 words are there to guide me throughout the new year. I usually take a few days to review what I committed myself to in the previous years and think of words that will help me become a better me for the next 12 months.
In the Military, we would do after-action review which allowed us to reflect on what we did well, what we failed at, and what we can improve and continue doing. I do this continuously on every project or milestone and make sure I do one major one once a year.
I make sure I choose action words that will help me correct my personal and business efforts.
Those words will guide me and ideally, they can help me achieve my long term goals while aligning with my short term goals.
Getting Ready for the New Year 2020
Once again in an effort to get ready for 2020 I choose three words that will guide me throughout the new year.
So here I share with you my three words for 2020.
My 3 Words for The New Year 2020
There is one thing I am continuously working on and that is attempting to simplify things for myself and for others.
I consider myself to be pretty good at process improvement. I tend to look at things and I am always willing to commit to investing time and resources to make something a bit more simpler over time.
I am good at simplifying things for others but I usually struggle in simplifying things for my own self. I look at this website I see things I can make simpler. But once I start working on it I either leave those improvements halfway or find myself complicating things.
With some of my photography I felt at one point I might be over-editing them since I am not as good editing photos.
My business grew significantly more in the volume of clients this year. For that reason, I need to look at ways that I can simplify things in my business and in life for the main reason that I need to be able to delegate.
I am going to be working hard to simplifying my efforts.
I see some of my peers, friends, clients, and family members and I always feel I don't challenge myself enough. I've figured out how to run my business in a way that I don't have to stress out as much. But that also means my growth when it comes to revenue and other aspects is not where I would like it to be.
I feel I need to challenge the way I approach certain projects and how I run my business.
I also need to challenge my future sales prospects a bit more to make sure that they match our work ethics and overall values.
I need to look at every decision and maybe see if I am challenging myself enough.
I am sure we can all challenge ourselves a bit more but I definitely think I need to start the year challenging myself in a way that is sustainable for the next twelve months and long after.
I've always looked at taking things to another level. As I mentioned with my first worst chosen this year I love improving things.
When I served in the U.S. Army one of the first things you learn in Boot Camp is how you will always seek to improve your fighting position when in combat. You start with some basic defenses and over time you continue building to improve it. This makes sense because in Combat improving your position can mean the difference in between coming back home or transitioning to another dimension on the battlefield.
I apply this to everything. Every time I create something I continue to look at how to improve it. I sometimes get distracted and forget the resources I have available.
I want to commit myself to enhance those resources. These are talents I feel I need to heighten.
From creating more products out of my photography and enhancing my photography skills a bit more to looking at some consulting opportunities where I can mentor people who want to learn a bit about SEO or how to make a website work. I am going to be heightening what I offer while staying close to topics I dominate and I believe I am good at.
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
Every year I look back and realize time goes by pretty quickly. This year I lost one of the closest family members, my grandma.
I also had friends who lost their life partners, and became single parents. We can feel sad for them and empathize with them but more importantly we need to use those we lost as a reminder that we are here for just a short time. We need to make the best of every day.
I want to push myself to do that in honor of My Grandma's Legacy and those we lost.
Let's get this year started right!
Happy New Year!