3 Words – the Anti-Resolutions

In general, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t make them because I know that I don’t follow through on them. Why set myself up for disappointment and failure? I think this demonstrates a certain level of self-awareness, but also a certain level of immaturity. I am perfectly capable of setting goals and meeting deadlines in my work, but something about the nebulous deadlines and lack of accountability in personal goals makes them exceedingly more difficult to accomplish. I’d probably prefer a resolution that has a specific end and measurable result, but I don’t have the slightest idea what that would be.

Many of the grant professionals I chat with on Twitter talk about 3 Words and how they are a guide for their year rather than resolutions. I decided to check it out. The idea is that you pick three words that are overarching themes to guide your year. The three words should resonate with you and reflect your goals in a big picture way. I like this concept because the three words feel like reminders to keep in mind rather than resolutions that must be accomplished.

After writing down a few potential goals, I found some themes and categorized them into my 3 words. My 3 Words are Habits, Healthy, and Present.

Habits is relatively simple. First, I’m an adult so I should have a better bedtime ritual that includes regular teeth brushing and face washing. I should also be making my coffee the night before to save time in the morning – why else would we have a programmable coffee maker? Another habit is better time management, which includes limiting unnecessary distractions at work. Even though my time management is significantly better than it was in college and grad school, there is always room for improvement. A crossover item between Habits and Healthy is “me-time.” I think everyone knows by now that I’m an introvert and not ashamed of it. But this also means that I require time to myself to recharge my batteries. Finding that time and being unafraid to say leave me alone would be a good habit, and I believe it would contribute to my overall well-being.

Healthy is more than just lose 10 pounds this year or whatever other arbitrary weight loss goal people set for their resolutions. Healthy for me is figuring out any underlying issues related to my health (without getting too personal this is something I’m working on this month). Related is trying to find ways to make healthy food choices. Healthy is being honest with myself about my needs and wants. And finding my passions. I think I’m mildly passionate about a lot of issues and causes, but which one really matters to me and how can I develop that into something? Maintaining healthy relationships is also important to me. In the past, I was really good at maintaining toxic relationships, I think I’ve gotten over that, but it also means I need to learn more about keeping the good ones going. I’ve always liked the quote “Begin each day as if it were on purpose,” and I think I could incorporate that more into my daily life plus I think it fits with Present.

Present is about trying to live more in the present. I’m really good at living in the future – I did get a degree with “planning” in the title after all. But sometimes it is better to go with the flow and stop thinking about the future, which is generally out of my control. An exercise a meeting facilitator did once has stuck with me, which is to write down what’s keeping you from being present today. By getting stuff, like future plans, out of my head and on paper means I don’t have to keep thinking about it during the day, and I can focus on what’s happening in the present moment. The last part of Present is trying digital detoxes. All too often I have my head stuck to a screen which keeps me from being in the moment, so taking time out from some of that could be a healthy habit (see what I did there?). I think this one could be hard for me, since I’m a bit of a tech addict, but it is worth a shot.

There’s my three words. I have absolutely no idea if I’ll stick to any of what I just wrote, but I’ve put it out there for all to see, which is a step in the right direction.

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