For the last several years, I’ve watched others do the “my three words” yearly mission. And it’s time for me to jump in.
Yes, I’ve thought of my three words before, but I’ve just thought about them.
Until now, I’ve taken little action to crystalized my three words, write them down and truly make them the focus for a year of my life.
So in 2014, I’m doing it.
It’s the end of February and by now many New Year’s resolutions are toast, or hopefully you are still going strong.
If you’re struggling, hopefully this post comes at the right time and it will inspire you to get started or get back on track if you’ve lost some steam.
Let’s be clear, though.
My three words aren’t resolutions. They’re guideposts and word triggers packed with personal meaning and significance.
I’m using them to quickly remind and ask myself:
“What are the most important things to do, measure, refine, and think about on a daily basis?”
I can quickly look at my three words and go through a quick and simple rundown in my mind and to see how I’m doing on a daily basis.
I’m aiming to review my three words nightly before my head hits the pillow and I’m using them to help me focus as I start my day.
But I’m not just sharing my three words with you just to do it and say I crossed something off my To-Do list.
No. I’m sharing them with you because I know that by making my three words, and my thoughts about them, public it’s making them more real to me, AND I’m also inviting you to hold me accountable and dialogue about them. (I’m serious. Tweet me. Ask me about them @chriscatania.)
I’ve shared this kind of personal goal stuff before and by whenever I’ve made it public it’s helped immensely. Sharing personal goals publicly has given me that much needed lift and accountability boost to keep going when I don’t want to.
I know for a fact that telling you what I’m aiming for in life in this blog post helps me reach me goals and change my life for the better.
That said, I’ve decided to say no to all the doubt in my brain and I’ve clicked “publish” on this blog post so you can join me and we can help each other. Yes, in case you’re wondering, I do have more details on these words including how I’m measuring success, but I’m not sharing that stuff here.
I want to keep it simple for now. Just three words.
So let’s do this!
Without further ado, here are my three words.
I chose the word “health” to remind me that I want to focus on developing and staying healthy in all areas of my life, specifically:
Those three areas are foundational to be being the best husband, father, friend and co-worker I can be. Yes, there are more details to these “health” areas of my life but I won’t share them here on this post.
What I will tell you is that I know that when life gets crazy and I start to lose focus on what matters, it’s usually because I’ve stopped making it a priority to devout time to nurture at least one or more of these three “health” areas of my life.
There are two reasons why I chose hunger in 2014.
First, I want to stay hungry. Not hungry for food (which isn’t usually a problem) but more like Rocky Balboa in Rocky I and Mr. T in Rocky III, and Rudy in Rudy. (Yes, I’m a big fan of Rocky and sports underdog movies. No shame here.)
Seriously, though, I want to stay hungry for growth. I did grow a lot in 2013 but I want to be more intentional about it in 2014.
I want to feel that rumbling in my stomach and in my soul as I aim for my goals in all areas of my life.
I want to keep my eyes on the prize, be proactive and not let life’s distractions, negative thoughts, and other mental junk food that comes hurling at me on daily basis, stop me from being hungry for what matters in life.
Secondly, having a hunger and a thirst for bettering yourself is exciting and it’s contagious. I love being around people who are hungry for life and learning.
What I mean is that I want to inspire a hunger for others.
I once heard someone say that what you do in life and what you share with the world should inspire others, and what you do should improve the quality of life for others too.
So I’m taking those great thoughts as a personal challenge and I’m aiming (and hoping) that by staying hungry for growing, learning and constantly evolving who I am will inspire others around me.
But, again, let’s be honest. Maintaining that hunger is hard. And that’s why I’m sharing this with you, remember? So we can help each other stay hungry. Do we have a deal? Thanks. I know you’d be with me on this one.
Now on to the last word.
I told you before that I purposely don’t do New Year’s resolutions.
Why? Well, because New Year’s resolutions only happen once a year and why should we wait 365 days to change what we’re doing? That would waist so much time.
In my short time on planet earth, I’ve learned from others (and by failing myself) that creating daily habits that I can gradually build on is the better way to go. It’s better than creating New Year’s resolutions.
I’ve learned that aiming for gradual habit change gives us more power to create a lasting foundation for behavior change. When we look at the challenge to change habits as a “one day at a time” (or even one minute or second at a time) thing, it’s not as overwhelming for our brains.
Yes, no doubt, changing our behavior is one of the hardest things to do.
But one thing I’ve learned is that knowledge is power. And taking the time to read and understand what drives our habits and behaviors has helped me reach my goals.
I love reading books and blogs to soak up as much knowledge as I can, and I highly value taking an experimental approach to life in general. That’s why I do these Fitbit and No Sports For A Year Experiments.
I read what others have learned, and try to apply it to my own life, and I also learn by doing (succeeding and failing) myself.
And when it comes to reading books about habits and understanding how to change them, I’ve had the pleasure of learning a lot from The Power of Habit, Nudge, and One Small Step Can Change Your Life. If you haven’t already, I recommend checking these books out as there is a lot of excellent research and practical stuff you can do to help change your habits.
Alright, these are my three words for 2014: Health. Hunger. Habit.
What are your three words this year?
Thanks for sharing and be courageous today and always, my friends.
Note: The photo above is of a zig zag bridge in the Japanese garden at the Chicago Botanical Garden. It’s designed to get you to stop and think about where you’re going.