My Three Words for 2012

Every January since 2006 Chris Brogan has challenged people to forego the idea of New Year’s resolutions and instead focus on three words that will help you set clearer goals and guide your experiences for the coming year.

I wanted to come up with my own set of three words since I have never been big on creating New Year’s resolutions for myself.

Now I realize that it is already the middle of February, but there’s never a bad time to bring better focus into your life, right?

My Three Words for 2012

Here are the three words I am using to guide me in 2012.


I’m a man of ideas. Big ideas, small ideas, good ideas, bad ideas. I’ve got tons of ‘em. The problem is that most of these ideas never turn into anything more than ideas, for many reasons that can (and just might) fill future blog posts. All these ideas just become fodder for lists and help to fill my brain with thoughts that keep me up at night.

So the “idea” this year is to focus on action, as in taking action. Execute on the things that I come up with. I want to create value from all of these ideas, at least the good ones, that I have sitting out there just waiting to take on some concrete form.


For those who don’t know me, and for those who think they know me but perhaps really don’t, here’s the real scoop. I’m pretty open-minded in my beliefs about how I and others should be able to lead their lives.

But while my many of my beliefs are liberal, my actions have, with few exceptions, been very conservative. I have lived most of my life without taking a lot of risks. I did everything the way you are “supposed to.”

Finish high school, go to college, work 40+ years for a company, retire, play golf, watch Matlock reruns, die.

Ok, I just turned 40 so most of that last sentence is pure conjecture. But I was already well on my way down that path. I worked for Motorola for 16 years before my recent layoff and was living a life best described as Same S***, Different Day.

In his book the Art of Non-Conformity, Chris Guillebeau described someone like me as a sleepwalker. Looking back I view myself as having lived in the Matrix.

Now it is time to put that era to rest. This year I choose to take more chances.

I want to… no… NEED to… push myself out of my comfort zone.

No more sleepwalking for me.


Over the last few months I’ve felt a growing desire to simplify every aspect of my life. To simplify my life to the core elements that matter the most to me: people, planet and prosperity.

I add unnecessary levels of complexity to my life all the time. The complexity clouds my mind, distracts me, makes me less efficient and limits my output. And I don’t like it anymore. I need to reclaim some simplicity in my life by reducing everything I can.

Reduce the clutter in my living space, reduce the ideas bouncing around my head, reduce the amount of crappy food I eat, reduce the new skills I’m learning and focus on the most important ones, reduce the time I waste on low output activities, reduce my distractions, reduce my carbon footprint, etc.

By reducing the many complexities in my life I hope to gain a clearer focus on the things that truly motivate me. And take action on a higher percentage of them than I ever have before.

Action. Chances. Simplicity.

This is the first time I have done this exercise and I’m excited to see how closely I end up aligning my activities this year with these three words.

So what three words are guiding you this year?


You may wonder why I did not choose “reduce” or “reduction” instead of “simplicity” as my third word. For me the goal is achieving simplicity, the strategy to get there is through reduction. So I’d rather focus on the goal and not the strategy.