I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Because as much as I think I should be resolved to accomplish things—as much as I’d like to be resolute in the pursuit of specific life outcomes—I know I seldom, if ever, see them through.
Instead, I choose three words to keep me on track during the year. I’ve been doing this for nearly a decade, now, but it’s only been the last few years that I feel like I’ve got the hang of it. Check it out.
3 Words, 2012-2021
2012: responsibility, action, freedom
2013: support, drive, print
2014: print, process, non-profit
2015: (oops I forgot)
2016: intent, action, mindful
2017: time, health, example
2018: eat-less, do-more, stay-up
2019: organize, purpose, profit.
2020: garage, growth, grit
2021: people, deep, quiet
2020 in Hindsight
I’m going to make my garage a place where things get done. Podcasts, projects, wrenchfests, just hanging out. It’s a 2-car garage. I should be able to fit at least one vehicle in it with room to close the door and get some work done—even if I’m mostly going to use the space for laundry and podcasting.
So close, and yet so far away. Things definitely got done in the garage studio this year. I built a massive, wall-mounted workbench and shelving system. I also built a pair of roughly matching, rolling shelves. All-in-all, I added over 150 square feet of storage space.
I didn’t get either of the cars inside this year—and it’s not gonna happen before the big road trip—but I’m pleased with how things turned out and are going on this front. The beat will go on in 2021.
I’m going to grow TGP. And, like my garage, I want it to be a place where things get done. Podcast, projects, wrenchfests, startups, continuing gearhead education—the works.
I’m also looking to grow personally—emotionally, financially, physically. (Though that last one is more a matter of reverse growth where it’s not healthy—like the beer belly.)
2020 was definitely a year of growth. Did TGP grow? Yes. Did it grow in the ways I thought it would when I selected this word? No. It grew in better ways. We spent the summer building a fine new website and refining who we are and what we’re all about. And we picked up a couple forum members along the way, too.
Personally, I lost some weight and gained it back. I feel like I’m eating a little bit better, but working from home has started feeling more like living at work, and the lack of escape due to Covid-19 has forced all of us to grow in ways we’d never imagined. Mask up and wash your hands, ya filthy animals.
This one’s more than just resilience and passion. It’s a reminder that things worth doing require effort and effort comes with friction. Life isn’t always smooth sailing. Undoing 20 years of poor choices is harder than not making poor choices in the first place
Forced into relative lockdown, the bad habits reinforced through years of poor choices are hard to break, but they can be broken. As much as daily life outside the house has become almost strange and foreign, life at home has settled into a rhythm of yeah-it-sucks-but-we-can-handle-it-like-everybody-else.
I closed last year’s 3 Words post with the following:
If you’re feeling motivated to take the wheel and change course in the year ahead, you’re welcome to join me and the rest of the crew in the TGP forum. We’re going to make 2020 the best year ever.
Looking Forward to 2021
I want to reconnect with people. Lately I’ve been noticing that talking to friends on the phone or Zoom or Hangouts lights me right up. Doesn’t matter how tired I am at the end of the day. Conversations with Kris, Andy, Mercedes, Andrew, Brad, and the weekly TGP standups we did over the summer were excellent and I want to connect with more people in 2021.
I want to go deeper. So much of our world these days is superficial; barely scratching the surface in pursuit of attention and clicks. I want a quality-over-quantity approach. I want to dive deep and forge stronger relationships that actually matter in the long run. Not entirely sure what that looks like just yet, but that’s why it’s one of my words.
I’ve realized my brain has a nasty habit of making up arguments. Like, I’ll randomly get pissed off because my brain is racing through endless hypothetical situations that never actually happen. It feels like some kind of little kid emotional trauma on the playground defense mechanism left unchecked—and I hate it. So I’m going to work on quieting my brain in 2021.
These are the things I’ll be working on in 2021.
As I go deeper getting to know people with the TGP podcast reboot, Amazing Machines interviews, forums, and beyond, I’ll also be seeking deeper silence to quiet my mind and focus on the things that stand to move the needle on my path to a high performance life.
Yeah, SMART goals are important. And if resolutions work for you, more power to ya! For me, though, this is where it’s at. When I find myself having imaginary arguments with other drivers in traffic, these words will help me pull it back and stop wasting time on trifling BS that don’t mean a thing.
If you do the three-words thing and want to share yours, I’d love to hear from you.
And if there’s anything TGP can do to help, please get in touch!