3 Words for 2012

Resolutions are pointless. You set them and never achieve them. You have the best intentions, but that is not enough.

Goals and rituals have a higher chance of success both in the short and the long term. That is where I like to focus my energy.

I also like the idea from Chris Brogan of selecting three words that become themes for the year to follow. Last year I chose Create, Inspire and Teach and the year before that they were Simplify, Focus and Attack. Looking back, they were guiding themes for each year and continue forward as constants in my life.

This year I had a harder time choosing because I don’t take these lightly, but I’m happy with what I came up with.


I’ve always been about helping others and that will never change. Inspiring, motivating, teaching and assisting other people is in my DNA. But, this year I need to focus on myself as well.

A big part of this is my health. I’d like to grow old with Laura and play with my grandkids. I’ve got too many places to see and people to hug in this world. To do this, I need to start thinking about my health across the board. This will require changes and improvements beyond the eating better and moving more.

I also realize that I’ve got to promote my work and me more. I see all sorts of people around me succeeding to a level that I’d like to and yet my humble upbringing is holding me back from raising my hand more. It is hard to even think this way, but I know that it is a truth I need to face. Of course, it’ll be a balancing act and I have no clue how to make it happen, but I will.

It also means that I’m going to stop saying “I’d like to…” and then never going any further. This might be learning to play guitar. Could be about crafting something with my hands. It is both of those and more.


Google got the metaphor correct that our lives are full of circles.

I have a couple of very close and important circles in my life. Two years ago, one of those circles formed around a weekend in Boston. Another formed around a dinner table in Las Vegas. The relationships formed and the support from within have been very powerful. I want to continue these and take them to a new level.

While these circles can survive online, they can only flourish face-to-face and that is where I need them this year. I’m going to do everything in my power to not depend on any tool. Instead I want to depend on the power of the people in the circles.

Just like when you throw a pebble in to a pond, circles can grow and make other circles and that is where I’m looking and planning. Remember the old days of writer circles and salons? That is where my brain is thinking. That is where it becomes a theme for the year and a powerful one at that.


On the surface, this one sure sounds like a load of sugar coated bullshit, but in my heart I need this word and know that it is more than that.

I heard some backlash chatter lately about this word. It is one I use a lot and believe in. It will be a big part of 2012 for me as it is a cornerstone of my next book. If I don’t believe in it than I’m going to have issues writing over the coming weeks and then spending months promoting and talking about.

Yet, it is more than that. It is about finding the amazing things in life with my camera. Sharing in amazing experiences with those that I love. Creating bits of amazement with the talents I’ve been given. After all, if I didn’t believe this than why would I ever believe that amazing things will happen to each of us?

Those are my three words for 2012: Self, Circles & Amazing. What are your three words?

Need some more inspiration? Take a look at some other sets of words from JustinChris or Steve who’ve shared as well.

Happy 2012 to everyone!

  • “I see all sorts of people around me succeeding to a level that I’d like to and yet my humble upbringing is holding me back from raising my hand more.”

    Same here. I have a repeat war inside my head and heart concerning being helpful and reaching out to others versus being a self-promotional tool. I never want to be the latter. It can feel like an impossible bridge to gap, mostly because I am very quiet about my strengths and successes, and even discussing them feels like a “look at me” move. I’m working on embracing them and sharing them with others so that I can continue to be of more use.

    On a lighter note, I’m learning to play guitar this year, too, as well as urban gardening. A pottery class might float into my schedule, too. It’s important for me to move from tech / online to doing something that rewires my brain differently. It shifts the focus of my creative work and feels refreshing and inspiring. I’m looking forward to working on new skills.

    Wishing you a happy (and amazing) new year!

    • Our minds seem to be in the same place with each other.

      I crave offline, back to basic things as well which is where creating something with my hands comes into play. I keep trying different things and none have truly clicked yet. When one does, I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of it!

  • I really like this construct.

    One observation. In the last two years, your words were all verbs. Very powerful. But your latest three are not. 

    I was a strategic planner for a many years, focused on changing peoples’ actions. One key technique we used in goal-setting was to require verbs. Rally around the action leading to the result, not the result itself. The action is clear, achievable, understandable to you and anyone else who reads it. Keeps you honest + accountable over the course of the year. Social proof.

    Typically I’ve found nouns to require an additional set of actions to create clarity on what’s to be done. With verbs, you’re already there.

    Can nouns get the job done? Perhaps yes. If not, what are the verb equivalents? Really interested in your thoughts.

    My words for 2012?  Test, close, scale.

    • I actually thought a lot about that because I prefer verbs as well, but as I looked at the list of words I had written down I realized that the ones that were the most important couldn’t be turned into single verbs which is why I went with the nouns.

      It was a decision I made because each contain several actions to be a success.

      I like yours. Nice to have test AND close in there! Best of luck.

      • Totally understand. The verb convention comes from a purelt work environment; your (our) life planning has an emotional/nurturing element as well, which I’m realizing is not so well-served by the verbs available to us. Sometimes I’d do “verb + noun” but that sucks out the punch of Three Words, n’est-ce pas. 🙂
        I guess that when I see nouns, I yearn for (and am trained for this, so you’ll have to forgive me), to ask — “so what does achieving that look like? how will you know when you get there?” So perhaps Circles means, one phone call each week with someone that matters to you, and one long IRL weekend a quarter with a circle that matters to you. Sumpin like dat. Concrete but achievable.
        As for my three, I’m bought into them but they are slightly soulless for my tastes. I’ve typically included a more emo-ish goal or two. But I have some substantial challenging goals for my business which I’ve committed to, and the emo part is kinda baked in my just being a mom and wife. So I think my deliberate efforts must be about putting numbers on the board with these three….do them and the rest will flow.
        At any rate, it’s been a pleasure to be inspired by you, and I wish you a terrific 2012!

      • Trust me when I say that there are clear and defined actions behind the scenes for each of them.

        I guess I’m just following Derek Sivers advice and NOT sharing all my goals which is something I usually disagree with. But, in this case some are personal and some I’m not ready to announce publicly yet.

      • I get it! It’s not all for the open world. Good luck and make it great!

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  • Erica

    Great post CC. I love your writings. Happy New Year. I’m gonna think about my 3 words.

    • Thank you Erica. 

      Can’t wait to see what you come up with it. Be sure to share.

  • I really love the “self” concept. I love to help my friends and family, but in order to do so I need to focus on keeping my mind and body healthy. I’m still working on my words so thanks for some inspiration. 

    • Yeah, I think many of us are always focusing on others and we suffer a bit from it. I know this is true for me over the last few years and I’ve really got to balance it out.

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  • Here are my three: http://www.jasonkonopinski.com/2012/01/02/my-three-words-for-2012

    I love this idea. 

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  • Hey, CC,
    Good words.  Mine are: Initiative, Conversation, and Discipline. (post here http://mediacreole.blogspot.com/2011/12/passages-from-one-year-to-next.html).
    Happy New Year!

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  • A little while ago, I started an “Awesome diary”.  This post is reminding me to pay more attention to it but it falls in line with your “Amazing” part.  There are so many “Awesome” moments in life that we forget about.  I decided, in whatever form I can (picture, note, story…) to record these awesome moments including awesome things that friends and family members did in one place.  Any time I am not feeling 100%, I can flip through and find tons of reasons to smile.

    Good luck with your words!

  • Move. Measure. Meditate. My letter for the year is clearly “M.” 🙂 Happy New Year! http://sassholes.blogspot.com/2013/01/three-words-for-2013-move-measure.html

    • MMMMMM MMMMMM good! (sorry I couldn’t resist)

      • Hehe. Of course you couldn’t. 🙂