My 3 Words – Not Just Short Wishes For The New Year

I've done my 3 words exercise for over 10 years now. I don't think there has been a year I felt as if it fast-forwarded so quickly that I had just finished doing my previous year's 3 words.

Christmas Celebrations Halted by a Powerful Earthquake Sequence

Days after I published last year's my 3 words blog post, I had to stop everything I had planned when it comes to my business Limonade and other projects due to the impact the sequence of Earthquakes had on what was left of the Infrastructure that Hurricane Maria had weakened.

I have to say that although challenging, those first few weeks were enriching because I got to collaborate with so many Puerto Ricans from and outside of the Island.

Everyone wanted to help, from donating money and much-needed supplies to the many that decided to put their lives at risk to help those who lost everything or were too scared to sleep in their own homes, given the constant tremors and seeing homes and buildings around them crumble little by little.

To everyone who gave their best in helping, I appreciate you. To everyone who helped me help others, I am super grateful for you.

Guayanilla, Puerto Rico on the third day after two large earthquakes shook it.

Hindsight is 2020

Since I started to work for myself in 2008, I have learned how not to plan too far out when I don't have my immediate plan super clear and transparent. If we can learn something from 2020, I have been teaching many of my clients and friends of planning no more than 6 months of your life.

Time flies, but things change very quickly; I remember understanding this thanks to a business mentor and friend Liz Strauss who passed away this year. After many years of following her online, I meet her in 2015 at Misfit Con in Fargo, ND. She invited me to an event called Genius Shared, and from those two events, I grasped many lessons that have helped me greatly from that point on.

From Liz, I learned that a clear message and plan are critical to your business and personal plans' well-being. The importance of simplifying what you do and how you can help so other people can easily recommend you and hire you. Planning out up to 6 months and then readjusting as you go to ensure you are on the right path given the events that might have transcurred.

Sharing My Experience with the hopes of others benefitting

The pandemic hit, and I offered my experiences, having dealt with recovering from two hurricanes in less than two weeks, a political uprising, and the recent earthquakes that impacted the whole Island. However, the South West was affected even more.

Tree of Life - Disney's Animal Kingdom

Why Choosing 3 Words Is More important for 2021 than Before

As I explained in more detail last year, I started doing this exercise when my good friend Chris Brogan shared how he prepares for the new year. That particular year I had just become a dad days before 2011 started, and it was clear that I no longer wanted to continue working on IT Security Consulting projects.

This year, I believe that we have so much more to recover from a very draining year, I realize that we have a new normal, and we must be resilient while being prepared for more uncertainty.

The 3 words can definitely be a simple exercise to keep you on track without making it too overwhelming to handle.

Hopefully, the 3 words will help us all do the following:

  • Guide us throughout the new year.
  • Create Simple Habits that Help us do more of what we like and remove what we don't want to do or dislike.

I usually pick three images and keep the list handy, along with an inspirational quote like Bruce Lee's Be Water my Friend. I make a routine to review and recite these words a few times a day or at least once and think what that means to me on that particular day and week.

After a few weeks of doing this, I am clear in what I need to focus on and apply that to the current events and goals I have to reach.

Using Action Works Helps Us Apply Those Important 3 Words

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 2021

Once again in an effort to get ready for 2021, I choose three words that will guide me throughout the new year.

So here I share with you my three words for 2021. 

Winter Evening at Condado Beach, Puerto Rico

My 3 Words for The New Year 2020

Rise of the Resistance Hollywood Studios
My 3 Words Icons - Raúl Colón


One thing I've learned from the most successful people I know is to rise to the occasions and to be present. This is easier said than done when uncertainty arises, and there is a disaster or a couple of them one after the other.

This past year, I've battled with staying focus and getting things completed. There are days where I am very productive, others that are not. I recognize I need rest and can't work seven days a week.

I felt this even more weeks after my mom passed at the end of October (2020). I was able to handle the situation and get everything completed in a pretty effective way. But weeks later, it hit me that mom is no longer here. I had a hard time getting my mindset to start my day and continue with life for a few weeks. Thankfully 10 days of rest and fun with my daughter and life partner made me feel better.

What I do better on productive days than unproductive days is how I rise in the morning and get busy. I know there are more challenges to come; I need to remind myself to Rise to that occasion, and once I start, the momentum helps me complete the rest.

Let's not forget to Rise against injustice, Rise against being dormant, and Rise for our well being.

Jellyfish at Mystic Aquarium
My 3 Words Icons - Raúl Colón


When I went to school for Accounting, they explained Batch System Accounting; being the tech geek I've had always been, I could not get why in 1998 we had to use such an antiquated system when Real-Time Accounting was the thing of the future. As I look back, I can see the value in both systems, and I can think of how I can probably improve how I run my business and personal projects by Batching certain things related and organizing my weeks and months better.

By batching my processes, I think of compartmentalizing certain days for work on certain projects and clients. I think I can become more useful and accurate if I do this. Maybe take a day to work on my Wedding Photography Clients and see what I can learn from observing them be helpful and useful to each client's approach to their business and their unique goals.

It also gives me the chance to have someone review what I am doing and offer more control in the quality of what we are putting out as a team. Focusing more on the future and the impact of everything we create for clients and our business gives our efforts more longevity. The longevity of something we created can hopefully translate into better results over the longer term.

LED Panel at Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, CT
My 3 Words Icons - Raúl Colón


Everything moves quickly, and many creatives like me continue to build and create more content in different mediums. Some people create more photos, more videos, more blog posts, and more creative assets.

Similarly, we might purchase a new item to replace something else or have an extra one.

In all aspects, I want to go back on what I have created and revitalize it. Many projects and creative assets might be collecting dust when they could be put into play to help me grow my business, make it look better, or help someone else in what I have learned.

I want to spend some time going over all the creative assets I have and maybe a few tangible ones in my personal life to see how I can improve them.

Look at each asset and understand the value it brings me and the opportunities that might be behind me revitalizing it.

I need to audit what I have a map out how it will help me throughout the next few days, weeks, and months.

The idea is to repurpose and get more out of work you've already done; by polishing it up, it should look better than before.

Before I continue to create, I need to see if there is something already there that can help me reach the goal faster and better quality than me starting from scratch again.

Summer Evening at Condado Beach, Puerto Rico

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 will not 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?


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

Rainbow over San Juan’s Condado Neighborhood

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

  • 2017

    Flow, Pause, and Repeat

  • 2018

    Map, Explore, & Transfer

  • 2019

    Capture, Regenerate, and Accountability

  • 2020

    Simplify, Challenge, and Heighten

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” ~ Plato

I finish my year with a bit of grief for having lost my Mom at the age of 64, our Labrador Juanga , and few other loved ones, we continue to spend most of our time indoors worrying about every move we make.

I have to be grateful that I was able to get through the year without being sick, and had some moments that really helped me understand the importance of family and life.

To a better year and more Light, to navigating the future weeks with those I love and cherish, let this year begin and bring more blessings and the energy to continue pushing us through the existing uncertainty.

Happy New Year!

Share Your Three Words

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

Tomorrowland and Space Mountain at Night - Disney’s Magic Kingdom
My 3 Words - Not Just Short Wishes For The New Year