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My Three Words for 2023

business celebration joanna's updates self development Jan 01, 2023

Here we are again - Welcoming in a New Year! Hello, 2023.

This is a natural time for reflection and anticipation. A new year is like a blank slate, one you can use to craft your desired future. There might be a bit of hesitation or anxiety too. Maybe you don't want to do 'resolutions.' (I don't do them either.) Perhaps in the past, you didn't find yourself making progress in the future you imagined. Or you lost the motivation to take the steps. Or some other priority propped up, and you had to focus there.

This blank slate might feel overwhelming if you don't have a clear picture in your mind. However you feel about the new year - energized, hesitant, anxious, overwhelmed - know this, tomorrow will still come, and you will take some action or another. It's ok not to plan it, and it's ok if you want to.

I use a fun yearly exercise to help me; maybe you will like it too. 

Every year, starting sometime in mid-November, I begin to capture words that intrigue me and represent something I want to embody. I do this in small stints and have several places where I might jot a word down to remember. I have so much fun with this.  

FYI this is not an exercise I created. It’s Chris Brogan’s - he’s brilliant, and I love him and Rob too. Check out his blog about it here.

As the new year approaches, I start to cull my list. I examine each of the final 5-7 words - I read definitions from different dictionaries. Look at the etymology of the word. Consider, do I like the word? I mean it - I have to like the word since it will be with me for an entire year. Slowly I eliminate words until I get to my final three. 

The three words will be my guardrails or signposts for the coming year. When working on a goal, whether a habit or an achievement goal, I trust that one or several of my words will assist me. It's like having a bouncer who'll deny entrance to detractors and distractions. They help me stay in my chosen lane to my planned destination. (A plethora of metaphors for you.) I write the words in my daily calendar and keep them front and center for each weekly review.

A quick look back at 2022: Balance. Breathe. Develop.

Balance, a noun, didn't serve me as much as I had hoped. However, I did have fewer peaks and valleys throughout the year. Breathe was brilliant for me - I will continue this practice in the new year. Develop also served me very well, and I will continue to reap from that word in the coming year as I continue to reject hustle culture and lean into what I am doing with my life and work. 

Now, you may think this an odd exercise. Fair. I love it, though. Since it's hard to separate me from my work, CBWS, the words also become the CBWS words of the year. 

I hear you, 'For goodness sakes, what are your words already?" Lol. Ok, Let's dig in!

Move: mo͞ov /

  1. go in a specified direction or manner; change position.
    1. change the place or position of.
    2. Informal: depart; start off. Hurry up, go quickly.
  2. make progress; develop in a particular manner or direction.
    1. change or cause to change from one state, opinion, sphere, or activity to another.
    2. take action.

Bang and out the gate; this is an action word. I already feel this energy, and this word's job is to help me harness and protect that energy. I'll change the informal 'hurry up' to fine-tuning or efficiency. I like making progress - I mean, who doesn't - it's the particular manner and direction I will focus on - that intentional movement is critical for me. 

Practice: prac·tice / praktəs /

  1. perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one's proficiency.
  2. carry out or perform (a particular activity, method, or custom) habitually or regularly.
  3. actively pursue or be engaged in (a particular profession or occupation).

Did the saying "practice makes perfect" come to mind for you?! I feel like I say this word, practice, so often. I'm always saying it during my Foundations Course. I heard it a lot in 2022 as I went back to school to push my skills. This year, I will intentionally practice and improve my skills in a few areas. I'm excited to discover the nuances that will bubble up for me. I feel like practice is about striving toward mastery while enjoying the journey. 

Create: cre·ate /krēˈāt /

  1. to bring (something) into existence
  2. cause (something) to happen as a result of one's actions.
*Definitions from

Imagination coupled with action. This word needs' Move and Practice' attached to it for the magic to happen. It'll encourage me to embrace my inner artist. Inspire me to bring to life the programs I developed in 2022. This word has been central to my life and feels fitting that it's a focal point for this year. 

Now, enough about me! How about you??? What will you do this year? Will you try your hand at this exercise? It can be fun and thought-provoking. 

I want to read your 3-words for the year, your thoughts on mine, or perhaps a short note to tell me more about your plans for 2023—pop over to Instagram and share. Or send me a note Joanna @