Three words

January 6, 2011

Too many resolutions, that’s what I say. Friends, bloggers, writers all seem to be trying to outdo one another with the sheer quantity of goals for the coming year. It’s mind-boggling.

Have you noticed that even though simplifying is the buzzword of the day, we work at cross purposes to it? We say we WANT to simplify, and then do just the opposite.

Strikes me that when there are 40 things on your list of resolutions, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

I like much better something my friend, Bernie Borges, did. He picked three words to guide his journey in 2011. He says they’ll serve as his compass for his work this year.

The three-words technique works equally well for any part of life. Using a few encompassing guiding principles instead of detailed “tasks” takes the pressure off. You don’t have so much riding any any one objective. But it still provides a framework for the year.

We may or may not get to the gym every day. We may or may not lose 20 lbs. Take a daily vitamin. Walk the dogs for 20 minutes twice a day.

How many of those resolutions have we already broken? We’re bound to fall short of a long list of detailed things we should be doing. And then feel guilty.

But if our guiding principle is HEALTH, then we can weigh any given action against it and decide what we want to do. Without all the guilt-inducing details.

Health happens to be one of my three words. Here are the other two:

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I’m retired, but not rested. I’ve vowed to meditate more. To not overschedule. To empty my mind before bed. To smoke some pot before bed. {Medicinally, of course.} Blah blah blah.

Instead, I’m going to let REST be a guiding principle for 2011 and gauge my actions around whether they promote it or not. {No, this is not an excuse to smoke pot. Honest.}

I’ll bet you thought “writing” was going to be one of my three words. Yeah, me, too. I was surprised that it wasn’t.

A writer-friend recently said “For you and me, full-time writing is a wish. A myth. We don’t really want to do it full-time. We want to do other things, too, and write in between.” Oh, so wise. She knew this because we never do it. Write full-time, that is. Even when there are no obstacles. {Yes, she is one of my angels of mercy.}

I love exercising my creativity in many different ways. Cooking an interesting meal. Teaching. An art project. Blogging. Other kinds of writing. For inspiration, reading things like Sylvia Plath’s journals. Or some really good poetry.

So those are the three words I’d like to serve as my compass for 2011.

Oh, even as I write this, I can think of more I’d like to add. LOVE. FORGIVENESS. COMPASSION.

I will resist the urge. There’s always 2012. {with any luck}

What are your three words? Oh, and don’t overthink it. Pick the first three that pop into your head. They’ll be as good as any.

3 comments on “Three words
  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Ruth D~ says:

    What a great concept: three words. I should have read this before I wrote my recent post…beating myself up all the while. Health it is… and two more that I’ll come up with if I don’t steal yours.

  3. Ruth, steal away! They aren’t exclusive!

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