3 Words to Guide my 2016

3 words for 2016 - do - bold- curious

Each year, since the fab Chris Brogan first introduced me to the idea, I have been choosing 3 words to help guide the direction, focus and intentions for my year ahead.

Rather than setting specific new year’s resolutions that quickly get lost under the excuses and rush of the year and end up being just another thing you couldn’t get done, choosing 3 words gives you a framework for intentional goal setting, based on what you want to accomplish personally, emotionally, relationally and professionally for your year ahead.

These could be traits you want to encourage, characteristics you want to grow, feelings you want to share with the world, or just general guidelines for how you go out and interact in the world in the coming year.

I like the concept. And have found that the 3 words stay with me throughout the year much longer than previous new year’s resolutions used to.  And that they actually help me to work on my own personality and character in a way that I hadn’t been able to keep focus on previously.

In Chris’ words this is how you choose your 3:

Pick any three words that will guide you in the choices you intend to make for 2016. They should be words that let you challenge yourself as to motives and decisions. They should be words that help you guide your actions.

So, here’s my 3 words for 2016:


A lifelong procrastinator I always find myself including this one.  I always need encouragement to DO more.  To not put off till tomorrow, to take the next little step, to finish the task when I’m oh so nearly done, to eat the frog first, to stop dreaming start doing,… you get the picture.

This is a big one for me, and I think I’ll always need a reminder of it, and a prompt to DO it. And this year more than ever this is true for the things I want to accomplish and the person I want to keep working to become.


For me this one goes hand in hand with DO, because often what’s stopping any of us from DOing is a little boldness.

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But it is also a reminder to me that I need to let more of the real me out for the world to see. To take opportunities that come my way. To take action when i see it needs taking (to help others or myself). To have faith in myself and what the new year has in store for me.


This is a new one for me, and comes out the desire to be more interested in the world around me. To stop, look and marvel at the intricacies of nature.  To breathe deeply the crisp morning air. To notice people around me, and ask questions, seek to find out more about them. To try new things and ways of being. To experiment, to explore. To not settle with what life throws my way, but to go out and find what I want my life to be. To try out and try on new methods and ways of living, working and interacting with the world around me.

I generally think of myself as a timid, quiet little mouse. But this year I am going to (attempt to) be more of a mouse with the mask of a lion. I’ll still be the real me, but I’ll be a louder, bolder, more curious version…that’s the intention anyhoo! 😉

That’s the theory anyway.  How this will apply to my life and business in the year to come is yet to be seen. But just by putting something like this out there for the world to see is the first step.

What about you? Have you been in the practice of choosing 3 words to guide the focus of your year? If so what are they? If not, and you had to choose 3 now what would they be?

For some inspiration here’s what some others are choosing this year:

Go ahead, let me know in the comments below what your 3 words for 2016 are.

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  • These are fantastic! Thank you for introducing me to the 3 words practice. My 2016 words are Fast + Maximise + Care.

    • Nadine McMahon

      These are great iTeachModern 😉 They really speak to your heart for the new year, and for getting the most out of what is ahead, in the best, most effective way possible. And I love the inclusion of Care as well. It’s an important one and so important to underpin whatever else you’ve got going on! Look forward to seeing and hearing these go into practice this year! 🙂

  • Ashlea Turnham

    I also like do- I’m very good at coming up with plans and ideas.. Just need to do them!
    My other words are passion and commitment 🙂

    • Nadine McMahon

      LOVE your words Ashlea! And I can see those 3 working hand-in-hand very nicely as a focus for you for 2016!! I for one am always very impressed with all the DOing you seem to get DOne…but we’re all at different stages and can always keep improving from wherever we are at. So here’s to more DOing in 2016, and the passion to fuel it, and the commitment to the things you love and care about to round it off! Can’t wait to see how 2016 turns out for you xx

  • mathfour

    I like your words – but the one “curious” would never make my list. My “resist” word attempts to calm my overwhelming curiosity (which I have no lack of #sheesh).

    In fact, I’m not being very “focused” (my word #2) because I’m supposed to be doing something else (not sure what, now).

    But I’ll “conclude” this comment (word #3) and figure out what I should be doing…

    (Thanks for the shout-out. What an honor to make your list!)


    • Nadine McMahon

      Hi Bon! It’s interesting how often we need the polar opposite of each other, but we’re all striving forward! All the best with your 3 this year…starting with focussing on what you need to do today 🙂

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