It’s January 1st — so let’s just start things off with these three little words: HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Inherent in this greeting is a challenge. Or maybe a command or perhaps a wish, depending on how you look at it.
The word is “happy.”
Reality says that you may already be in epic fail mode. You wake up New Year’s day and your house is trashed, you have a killer hangover, you lost your purse, you didn’t get a kiss at midnight, or you did and it was with the wrong person… and so on. You’re many things, but happy isn’t one of them, and so now the Baby New Year is just another teary-eyed infant, all cranked up to demand your attention and leave you exhausted and spent.
Sorry to bum you out, but if there is one thing I’m all about, it’s semantics.
And often resolutions are nothing but hollow words that we utter with absolutely no intention of follow-through.
Still, the urge to start fresh, to set some meaningful goals, and to look out at 365 new opportunities is irresistible. Sending wishes out into the ether is a joyous, bubbly exercise that feels as delicious and delightful as downing a flute of Veuve Cliquot.
This is why for the last few years I’ve taken to a New Year’s practice prescribed by the super smarty-pants social media and biz guru, Chris Brogan. It’s his “My 3 Words” exercise that goes like this: “Pick any three words that will guide you in the choices you intend to make for 2016. They should be words that let you challenge yourself as to motives and decisions. They should be words that help you guide your actions.” (You can check back today on his blog to see what Chris picked for his three words.)
This is the third year I’m doing Chris’ three words exercise, so that feels pretty auspicious. (If you’re into numerology, 2016 is a “nine” year — which can be divine if you play your proverbial cards right.)
If you decide to go ahead and make three words into your mantra this year, I’d suggest that you pick ones that are both action-oriented and/or meaningful to you AND that can be executed by you.
Here’s what I mean by that — one of the words I picked for 2014 was “money.” I honestly pictured people tossing buckets of dough my way, but that’s not how it really worked out. What did happen was that I became conscious of what was flying out of my wallet and got into a habit of chasing down random bills that didn’t make sense (i.e., things that insurance theoretically wasn’t covering… but should have and did once I made a phone call) and also questioning authority, like property taxes. (Which I did ask for a review of and successfully got a reduction.)
Last year I picked three words that I felt were in the realm of my own command, and two out of three worked pretty well.
The first was “joy.” As in just choosing to be happy because mindset is a choice — sometimes an easier one than others, but still something you can always consciously decide upon.
I also love the word “joy” because it always makes me think about this quote from Khalil Gibran:
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
Right? So this past year, when my oldest got his license, I could’ve been pretty morose about the whole “my baby’s growing up” thing — after all, I’m the gal who finds a lot of joy in worry. Instead, I just focused on all the positives, beginning with how happy I am that my child is finding his independence (which means I’m doing my job as a mom), and also that he can run freakin’ errands for me! WOO HOOOOOO!
My next word from last year was “achieve.” My verdict on that one was meh. Because achieving things beginning with getting dressed in the morning, bagging a few lunches, cranking out some work, etc. is all a part of the drill. In retrospect that word felt a little too grade school report card to me, and although I honor all words, it ultimately was too vague and not as meaningful as I would have liked.
The final word from last year was “magic.” Now that was a kick ass choice, because for me it was all about taking time to give props to the unexpected, the exciting and the, well, magical. Sometimes it was about stopping to smell the roses — literally — which are miraculous in their own right, and then other times it was noticing some larger synchronicities that could only indicate that the Force is strong and doing good things.
My twist on Chris’ thing is that if you can take your three words and make them a mantra — something you think about, meditate on, and use every day in some form or another (like part of your passwords that you chose to type in vs. keep on auto-log-in), then you have a pretty powerful way to stay on track with your annual intentions.
My three words last year as an acronym were JAM. I like to be jammin’, and so this fit perfectly in my little corner of the world.
This year I thought long and hard about what would work as my new three words. I gave great consideration to what I want to accomplish, how I want to feel and how I want to be from the inside out.
The first word came to me easily, although it’s my most difficult one to act upon: “embrace.”
I’ve already been struggling with a big challenge in the coming year, which is turning 50. Even writing down that number makes my stomach clench — especially since I live in a place where being old is anathema. (In other words, I’m awaiting my official excommunication from LALA land any second.) I’ve been rebelling against the idea of aging like nobody’s bizness, but I also realize that it’s all inevitable.
And so, embrace it is. Also, if you find me clinging to you in an arm-breaking “hug,” just know I’m taking that word very literally… so please just take it in, and give it on back.
My next word for 2016 is “light.” This is sort of like joy — it’s a choice. Often if there is an easy way and a hard way, I will forge ahead with the backbreaking, soul crushing work. This year it’s my intention to keep it light, keep it simple and work on illuminating the more peaceful path not just for myself, but also for everyone I come into contact with.
Light is a wish I have for all the world, too, on the heels of this past one where things got very freakin’ dark at times.
My final word for 2016 is “manifest.” I mean this in the new agey sense — just perceiving things and making them evident is not enough. Making shit happen… well, that’s the goods, isn’t it?
I’ve got so many kick ass creative projects in the works, including a musical that is thisclose to being done. And a book to co-write that had its seeds in 2015 and is ready for a big ass, bitch’in bloom in 2016.
Time to manifest like a mo’fo, and so this word has action, intention and just enough woo woo in it to make it the perfect choice for my third word of 2016.
Now it’s your turn — what are your three words? Make them clear, meaningful and obvious so that you can grab a hold and make them work for you.
If you’d like to share them in the comments, I’ll be happy to help you stay accountable all year long.
So if you see me futzing with acronyms and changing my passwords, just know that thoughts become things that unlock doors, help you kick ass, and take prisoners. There’s nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it.
And to that I say: Word.