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My Three Words for 2013 - Felicity Fields,, Goals, Entrepreneur, Small Business, Plan, Chris Brogan

Beyond a New Year’s Resolution: My Three Words for 2013

It’s the second week of January, and by now you’ve probably hit your limit on reading “my 2012 year in review” and “my goals for 2013” blog posts.  (I know I have.)

But before I get back to writing about online marketing stuff, I want to share one more piece of insight that I gained from my first ever planning-palooza.  It’s an idea that was inspired by Chris Brogan and Alyssa Middleton, among others.

It’s call the Three Words concept, and like most great ideas, it’s pretty simple.    When planning your new year business or personal goals, choose 3 words to act as touchstones to remind you of said goals.

Here’s how it works.


Why You Need More Than a Plan of Action

The steps for setting your 2013 business goals probably look like this:

  • Your dream
  • Your vision, aka how to get there
  • Specific goals
  • Specific methods
  • Weekly schedule

Fairly standard, yes?  I bet you’ve all used this system many times before.  But have you noticed what’s not on this planning hierarchy?


There’s nothing here that says “Hey, you.  I know it’s a disgusting, grey, cold morning, and all you want to do is stay in bed and read trashy novels, but you have to get up and work because of X.”

That’s where the Three Words concept comes in.  If we were to add it to the hierarchy, it would be the last bullet point on the list.  Not because it’s least important, but because choosing your words can only happen after you’ve done all the planning work.


Choosing and Using Your Three Words

So here’s the deal: your three words are a short summary of your entire plan for the year.  Personally, I’d go for positive, action words like “rock star” instead of “successful,” or “sexy” instead of “not fat.”

And, since we’re talking about your entire year’s work, words that are bigger than single concept are better. For example: “Marie Forleo” would be better than “Rock Star” in terms of encapsulating what you want your year to look like.

In his recent blog post, Chris Brogan summed up the three words concept like this: “The three words are a shorthand representation of your bigger story. It’s kind of like how an icon isn’t the software program. It’s just a way for you to mentally access all the work you’re doing.”


My Previous Three Words

Having just stumbled across this concept, I can’t claim that I intentionally set words for previous years. But looking back, there were definitely a couple of words that sum up my yearly goals.  They were:

2010 – Survive. Learn everything.  Don’t panic.

2011 – Survive.  Invest.  Grow.

2012 – Focus. Better than 2011. Implement.

As you can see, some of these weren’t positive, and none of them are profound. But hey, it was a start, right? 

All of which brings us up to . . .


My Three Words for 2013

Courage – to pursue my vision.  As I wrote a couple of posts ago, I have big plans for 2013.  But to make those plans a reality, I have to believe that they are possible, reachable, do-able.  When I think of courage, I think of myself striding boldly over a horizon.  That’s the kind of person I want to be, and that’s what will motivate me to get out of my bed in the mornings and turn on the computer, even when I’d rather not.

Bravery – to do the work that is required.  One of my greatest flaws is inconsistency.  I have weeks where I tear through my to-do list, and weeks where nothing seems to move at all.  Being brave is about facing one’s fears, and my biggest fear is that I don’t have the work ethic it takes to make it big. So, to combat that fear, I’m going to be brave and do the work that’s required each day.  When I picture being brave, I picture every action hero in every movie ever made. How’s that for motivation? 😉

Onward! – This is mostly for the weeks in which nothing seems to be moving.  Being courageous and brave is great, but there’s still the danger of doing some work that is beneficial, but will not move me in the right direction. For example, cleaning out my inbox is work, but it’s not the kind of work that moves me closer to achieving my big dreams.  When I picture onward!, I see either a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail, or Malthesar from Galaxy Quest saying “On, Teb, on!”


What Are Your Three Words?

Now that you too have been introduced to this simple, genius idea, I want to know: what are your three words for 2013?  Were they easy to pick (as mine were), or did they require some serious mental contemplation? Either way, let me know in the comments below!

~ Felicity


photo credit: shoothead via photopin cc

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  1. Anastasia

    Great blog post. I really love seeing the progression of words for the last few years for you. Beyond just making due, making progress but taking ownership and control. I love that you do more than just chose the word but put some meat behind them with the descriptions of the HOW not just the what.

    Anastasia recently posted..What are you waiting for? EXACTLY?

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields01-16-2013

      Thanks, Anastasia! I found it really interesting that I did have words for the first few years of my business, even though I could not have articulated them at the time. And it’s very satisfying to go from “survive, don’t panic” to “courage & bravery.” Makes me wonder what next year’s words will be. 🙂
      Felicity Fields recently posted..Beyond a New Year’s Resolution: My Three Words for 2013

  2. Cathy

    Great post! I love your evolution of words! My one word is service…I haven’t really pinpointed more. Thrive…freedom…fluid…those are good words for me. I may have to reflect on this a little longer.
    Cathy recently posted..Health Coaches are Needed

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields01-16-2013

      “Service” is a great word, which means a lot of different things to different people. For me, it’s a business principle this year, and not one of my three words. But it might be for next year.

      I gotta say, though, that I love “thrive, freedom, fluid.” They seem so much more all-encompassing than service. 🙂
      Felicity Fields recently posted..Beyond a New Year’s Resolution: My Three Words for 2013

  3. Megan Flatt
    Megan Flatt01-15-2013

    I too found the 3 word concept last year from Chris Brogan. I love it! I have my 3 words written out and right on my desk top so I can see them all the time. I also love the idea about keeping them positive. So often, our new years resolutions tend to be things we should quit or be better at. My words are : Growth, Balance and Connection. These cross all my life areas, business, relationships, health etc. Thanks for making me smile this morning!
    Megan Flatt recently posted..You Are The Best Version Of Yourself

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields01-16-2013

      Thanks, Megan! I hadn’t considered writing my words by my desk, but there is a white patch of wall in front of me. Hmmm . . .

      I do write my words out in my business journal each night before I go to sleep. It’s something new I’m trying this year, but at the very least it’s great to keep reminding myself of them.
      Felicity Fields recently posted..Beyond a New Year’s Resolution: My Three Words for 2013

  4. Pam Pearson
    Pam Pearson01-15-2013

    I’m loving this concept. Off the gut I’m feeling Growth, Strength, Passion. I’ll have to do some more meditation on it but a good first pass. This is something I can really grab on to. Easy to post these 3 words everywhere and review them constantly. My mantra for 2013. Thanks for the idea!

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields01-16-2013

      Thanks, Pam! Like all truly genius ideas, it’s simple and powerful at the same time. Growth, strength, and passion sound like a killer combination.

      I’m impressed that you got all three on the first pass – my first pass only included “onward!” and then I realized that it wasn’t enough by itself.

      Would love to hear if you change your words post-meditation! 🙂
      Felicity Fields recently posted..Beyond a New Year’s Resolution: My Three Words for 2013

  5. Christie Halmick
    Christie Halmick01-16-2013

    Love your three words for this year. So powerful. Words that keep coming up for me so far this year are: flow, fun, and run!
    Christie Halmick recently posted..How Can I Make Interactive and Fillable PDFs?

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  7. DaViktorious1

    You know what’s funny is I stumbled upon this website which intrigued me because of a Puff The Magic Dragon pic on Google. As I fidn myself reading this blog which also sparked my curiosity I think it’s pretty cool that this year I posted 3 words on my FB. “Focus Or Fold” I decided everything this year was going to fall into one of the two categories. Or isn’t an action word but it does spark a decision to be made.

    Nice blog! Good reads, Best of Luck on your future endeavors =)

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields05-15-2013

      That is funny, DaViktorious1. I did a 2-part post over a year ago with Puff the Magic Dragon pics. But I’m glad they brought you here!

      “Focus or fold” is a great guiding principle. It forces you to be all in or all out on a project, and that’s really hard for a lot of us to do. Especially when there’s so much stuff we could be doing.

      Thanks for stopping by, and good luck to you as well!
      Felicity Fields recently posted..5 Irresistible Email Lists to Learn From

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    […] it every year, for the past four, and many bloggers have followed suit, including Mitch Joel and Felicity Fields. Not only does it help you think through your New Year’s resolutions, it holds you […]

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