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Three Words for 2012

Pillars at the Lincoln Memorial

It’s that time of the year again where we look at the new year full of vigor and motivation, ready to take on everything that the upcoming year has to offer. However, it’s so easy to get bogged down and sidetracked from accomplishing our goals that by the time we look up again, the year has already escaped us.

This is why for the past few years I’ve joined Chris Brogan and several other friends in choosing three words that will serve as my guiding pillars for the upcoming year. These three words will help me to accomplish the goals that I have set out for myself, both professionally and personally.

Over the past month I’ve been working on my 2012 plans and getting myself organized and set up for the upcoming year. This past week I sat down with just my notebook and drafted a long list of potential words. There were many that hit the cutting room floor but that will still impact my year.

My three words for 2012 are: Consistency, Balance, & Ship


This is actually one of my three words from 2011 that I’m choosing to include again for 2012. It’s an area that I need to continually improve on and will be a key to being able to achieve what I’ve set out for myself this year. I need to remain consistent in my processes and systems that help me to stay productive. I need to remain consistent in my presence and level of engagement on social platforms and in my writing. I want to stay consistent with my fitness and nutrition. 2011 was a big year for me when it came to fitness – I lost 50lbs and dropped 20% body fat. I want to keep that up in 2012 and make even more improvements. One way I’ll be doing this is through a project that I’m working on with a close friend that we’ll be sharing more about soon.


When you’re workshifting full-time and one of your hobbies and passions is also your career, it creates a double-whammy for throwing balance out of whack. It’s far too easy for the scales to tip too far one way or the other. And I’m not referring to simply a work/life balance between the time spent working at my laptop and the time spent doing anything else but work. There’s a balance of time that needs to happen between time spent writing or engaging on social channels for work versus personal. Sure, these lines are blurred and I accept that but it’s far too easy to work on projects and engage in social channels throughout the day for work and look up and realize it’s been a couple days since I checked in personally.

There are other areas of balance that need to be struck as well such as the balance between developing strategy and executing. If you spend all of your time coming up with new slide decks and preparing reports, it doesn’t leave much time to execute all of those ideas. Some of this throughout 2011 was also the learning curve that happens when you join a new company, especially a large, fast-growing company. There is increased time and energy spent just learning how to navigate the organization, so that has to be accounted for as well.


The list of projects I want to accomplish in 2012 is long. It’s easy to start all of these projects and mark them as “In Progress” on a spreadsheet. The harder part, and the part that has the most impact, is on shipping these projects. It’s easy to continually tweak and never push the project over the line. This year I will ship more projects, even if they’re not perfect because they never will be perfect.

The next step is go beyond just choosing my three words for 2012 and expand on these three words by turning them into an action plan. I’ve already done some of this through my 2012 planning at work. I know what my projects are, my next actions for those projects and my target delivery dates. That’s what these words were partially born out of. However, this doesn’t take into account the personal projects and goals that I have. So now it’s time to take these words and apply them against those projects and areas of my life that will help me to look back at the end of this year feeling accomplished.

What are your three words?

Photo Credit: paurian

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  • Julie

    Nice post Justin. You’ve got me thinking about my three words. I am going to grab consistency from you as that applies to my daily existence as well. Family is a big one for me as my kids are growing up sooo fast right before my eyes. Spening quality time with family is of HUGE importance to me. My third word is strategic. I want to ensure I am strategic with every aspect of my work life, have clear goals outlined and strive to achieve these goals with strategic objectives and tactics. Nice post and Happy New Year!!

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  • justinlevy

    Those are three great words, Julie! Now make sure to put them on a sticky or print them or make them your desktop background – anything so that you’ll look at them often! Happy New Year!