My 3 Words for 2016

New Years Resolutions: I’ve made them for as long as I can remember, but I couldn’t tell you one off the top of my head. They’ve always felt important, but they’ve never been impactful.

I actually just checked back on my blog to see if I had written any of them down and found this post about an alternative way to view resolutions. It was refreshing. Thanks, past me. I don’t remember writing that, but apparently I knew what was up two years ago.

But that’s not what this post is about. I wanted to share a little look into what I’ve set up for 2016. This year, I’ve created simple new years intentions.

They’re more like guidelines anyway

I think the biggest hangup people have with resolutions is that they’re so resolute. There’s no room for error, and a simple slip up can ruin the whole project for the year.

I wanted something a little more open to interpretation. And to mistakes.

It always goes back to being kind and gentle to yourself instead of holding rigid expectations. So without further ado, here are my intentions for 2016!

Three guiding words

There is no heirarchy here. I based these on three personally important areas of my life: my relationships, my all-around health and my work. Turns out, they all ended up being relevant for all areas.

3 words


I chose this one specifically with my relationships in mind. I have been surrounded by some awesome support this year, and I want to make sure I keep up healthy relationships by giving more energy and commitment to them.

But beyond relationships, this hits another area of my life: my own health. I’m notorious for putting work ahead of my own well-being, and that’s something that needs to change this year.


I’m talking all sorts of balance here, folks: work-life balance, physical balance (hello, yoga) and mental/emotional balance. All of these have been out of whack lately, so I’ve been setting up gentle rules guidelines to help regain my balance.

Again, like I said, these intentions are not meant to be hard and fast rules that I’ll break and then feel bad about. Think of it like meditation – whenever you wander from these core intentions, gently bring your focus back. Self-defeat is not useful here.


I discovered this concept from Brooke McAlary while I was binge-listening to her Slow Home Podcast. She has a great episode about rhythm, and this blog post will help you get started creating a rhythm for your week.

I love this concept because routine is such a danger zone for people like me – if one thing goes wrong, I’m ready to scrap the whole thing until the next day when it starts over. I want to create a rhythm in my life that is kind and productive.

It also doesn’t hurt that I love the musicality of this word, and everyone can use more music in their lives, right?

Picking your own words

I started by picking three areas of my life I wanted to work on, but you don’t have to be that specific.

Chris Brogan has a clear way of explaining this concept, and really helped me get started with mine.

The most important things:

  • These are your words. You don’t have to share them or feel like you have to copy others’ words. Choose what speaks to you.
  • Leave room for change (a year is a long time!) and allow yourself some space to grow into the words. Mine are a little less specific than I wanted, but I loved that I had a little wiggle-room on how I interpreted them.
  • Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t let these words become negatively restrictive or impeding. The only way it will work is if you allow yourself some grace for unforseen circumstances.

With that, I wish you and yours the best new year! And I want to thank all of you readers for joining me on this blogging and simplifying journey – you truly made my 2015 extra special.

Now it’s your turn – what are your intentions for 2016?


10 thoughts on “My 3 Words for 2016

  1. Great words and great definitions!

    I’ve chosen one word this year and did the same thing last year. Last year my word was Enough, recognising I had, did and was Enough as I was and didn’t need to change if I didn’t want to.

    This year my word is Balance, like you I’m focusing on all forms of balance but with a particular focus on balancing my activities better to help me with pacing, one of the main techniques I have for managing my chronic illnesses.

  2. I adopted the 3 words mantra a few years back. Chris Brogan is brilliant for thinking of it, right? I really dig your Rhythm selection. There are so many applications here but adopting to the rhythm of life is nice. Setting your own rhythm within is nice too. My 3 words are Bliss, Blog, Believe. I would welcome your thoughts on my blog…

  3. I love this! Beautifully written! I did the same thing for the first time this year. I was inspired by my yoga teacher who would ‘set an intention’ or theme for each class, like ‘compassion’ and encourage us to think of ways we can carry that intention through the rest of our day. My New Year’s Intentions are ‘self-care’, to ‘simplify’ and to follow through to ‘completion’. I’ve learnt a lot so far. My big lesson of the weekend was that finishing what you started is tiring and time-consuming. The solution? Start fewer things. Funny how this feeds into simplicity and allows me more time for self-care.

    • Love those intentions. Hah! Yes! So much could be simplified if we curated our lives and schedules more carefully. I’ll have to keep that in mind moving forward.

      There’s a restaurant near me in Los Angeles that asks you “questions of the day” – things like “what practice have you started recently that is helpful?” or “who are you most grateful for in life?” I LOVE it because it just isn’t something you automatically think about on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing Ania!

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