Over the last few years I’ve watched as bloggers (notably Chris Brogan) have pushed the new-year technique of selecting three words that will drive you for the year to come, rather than making resolutions.
Resolutions tend to be limiting and a bit rushed in the making, which is why they have such a reputation for fast failure. Conversely, Three Words are about the direction in which you want to grow and success can be measured in many ways.
The concept of three words also resonates closely with a concept that we teach our film students, which is Theme. Great films have a unifying theme that ties together every camera shot, character, location, dialogue and plot direction.
A way to describe it more succinctly is “theme is what the movie is really about”.
- What is Godfather really about? “Power Corrupts”.
- What is Chinatown really about? “Power wins over justice because it is more ruthless and aggressive”.
- What is Jurassic Park really about? “Man cannot control nature”.
I see the concept of Three Words as a theme for the year. Each day and month, and in each action or project that I undertake, I can ask myself, “is what I am planning to do ‘on theme’?” Rather than fixed new year resolutions that can only be either done or not done, these words are designed to move my life in a particular direction in 2012.
So what are my three words for 2012?
Focus. Create. Measure.
I’m going to stop trying to do a thousand things at the same time. I’m going to block my calendar throughout the day into chunks and focus on one thing at a time.
I’m going to try to stop jumping ahead into the newer, more exciting projects until I have wrapped up what I am already working on.
I’m going to keep asking myself, “Is this idea/project/activity important, or just fun/easy”.
2012 will be a year to make things. It is easy to come up with thousands of ideas for how to make my life/work bigger, better, greater. The challenge is making these ideas real. 2012 will be about taking ideas off the drawing board and ‘shipping’ real products.
In the standard business learning-loop (plan, do, measure, improve) measurement has always been my weakest area. By measurement, I mean building careful records over time that can be used and shared by other people.
2012 will be a year of making my intrinsic knowledge extrinsic so that I can teach other people what I know. I will stop doing the measure-improve cycle in my head. My ultimate goal for this ‘word’ for the year will be to build a formal marketing model for our school, so our testing and measurement can become focused on refining the model, rather than trying to understand ‘marketing’ in general.
If you want more information on the whole Three Words thing, check out http://www.chrisbrogan.com/3words2012/
Best of luck for your own 2012!