My 3 Words: Stretch, Focus and Learn.


Using the concepts from the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard Chris Brogan came up with a refreshingly productive new approach to New Year’s Resolutions. In his blog post, My 3 Words for 2013, he walks us through identifying a goal, the barriers to obtaining it and then, identifying three trigger words to remind us how we need to change ourselves to reach the goal. He writes:

Switch, talked about needing three elements to bring about change: a rider (your plans and intents), the elephant (what your mood will do no matter what your plans say), and the path (the environment within which you intend to implement those changes). The concept of the three words is like the path.

I am resolution averse. However, I have had a measure of  success lately with resolutions:  in 2010 by not answering kids when they yell at me from some other room,  in 2011 by starting this blog and in 2012 by baking cookies. This year my goal feels fuzzier:  I want to write more or better or be read more widely. Hard to pin down; hard to define and therefore hard to accomplish. But, let’s see what I can do with Brogan’s technique.

So, I’d like to write. The elephants are crowding the room. I am too busy. I shoot down my efforts. I lack skills in grammar, style and writing technique. I get distracted. What is my path?

Stretch means to make myself a bit uncomfortable. I am short on time. I hate getting out of bed in the dark but, perhaps finding time to write means doing so. Writing regularly means writing less than perfect pieces at times. Or, asking for feedback. Or, writing about difficult topics. Stretching means risking.

Focus means remembering my goals. It is so easy to be swept away by the small pleasures and simple tasks of the day. Day after day until I realize a year is gone again. Focus means giving myself permission to put writing before laundry or phone calls or pleasant visits from neighbors

Learn is easy to define. I went to a liberal arts college which at the time had no general education requirements. I took political science, philosophy and science… no English. Therefore I have a load to learn. Starting with grammar; for example, how to use a semicolon.700206__large

At work I have two exam rooms. This card hangs in the one reserved for teen patients so that I can see it daily. Hopefully some of them read it and I’ll bet many of those that do wonder why on earth number 6 is on the list but, I know.

Thanks go to Bryan Vartabedian whose blog post at 33 Charts got me started with my 3.

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