Tag Archives: 3 words

progress reflections halfway through January

I did my three words.

I’m keeping track of how much water I’m drinking, how often Nancy and I are walking. I’m working on a couple other things.

I’m trying. I’m really trying.

But I spent part of several hours of driving yesterday thinking about my three words and about what has felt like little progress.

I picked up a little thread that Chris Brogan included in “Wiring Yourself for Success.” He shows how to take three words and lay out a plan. As part of the planning process, he says to identify “Distractions to Avoid”.

So yesterday I made a list of distractions or barriers or obstacles for each of my words. I looked for what has been throwing me off track.

Cats cookiesFor example, I realized that when I am agitated, I snack. Having an open container of Cats Cookies from Trader Joe’s on the car seat next to me makes it very easy, when trying to focus, to take way more than the 16 that make up a serving.

On the other hand, if I have a bag with only 16 and can’t get to the rest, I’ll only eat those sixteen.

This is not, by the way, focusing on failure. It is looking at the places I get off track, identifying what happens, and making changes to avoid those behaviors.

Because, after all, I want to eliminate the distractions that are keeping me from accomplishing what is represented by my three words.


Related posts:

Which weaknesses

Have a seat. Just for a minute or two.


remembering three words 8 ways

Some of us created lists of three words at the beginning of the year. But how do you remember them? Because it’s Tuesday and February, I figured we could all use a reminder about reminding ourselves.  (See Chris Brogan’s post on three words for 2009 for background.)

1. Create a wordle (wordle.net) of the three words and other words that matter to you. If you type the three words multiple times, they show up bigger. If I were good, I’d provide a wordle tutorial, but I’m not that good. (Besides, there is this issue of focus that I’m working on).

2. Let other people know your three words. They can help you find material or ideas or accountability. For example, I have a guy in Texas feeding me ideas and asking how I’m doing. (Thanks, Tim).

3. Explore your three words regularly. I’m doing it here at the Levite Chronicles. In fact, if you look back through my posts this year, you will find regular links to focus and to deliberate practice. Singing is my own problem and I’m not writing about it.

4.  Find opportunities to talk about your words in other settings. For example, I had the opportunity to do some training. I had my choice of topic. Of course I picked deliberate practice. The more we become our own experts on our own words, the more likely we are to do what we wanted to do.

5. Be willing to change your words. So your three words for the year become your three words for six weeks and then two of them change. Big deal. You are adjusting.

6. Write summaries of your progress. Whether in your blog or in a journal or using a Sharpie on your bathroom mirror, let yourself know that you are working on this list. You’ll be more likely to trust yourself in the future if you are holding yourself accountable to yourself for encouragement as well as criticism.

7. Lighten up.

8. On your calendar for April 22, write “three words review.” That way, after Easter, after spring break, around the equinox, you’ll have a reminder to think through what you are doing.

So, do you remember your three words?

how can I keep from singing?

Apparently it doesn’t take much.

Oh, sorry. That sentence is the answer to the question in the title.

I know. You thought I was talking about the song that Pete Seeger made famous, that Enya sang, that Bruce Springsteen sang. You thought I was talking about the song that I first heard from Noel Paul Stookey when I was a college student 30 years ago, the song that our daughter is singing in one of her school choirs this winter.

Really, it’s a question that has led to the second of my words for this new year. The first was “focus“. The second is “singing“.

That seems to be an odd word for a year. It’s not very specific. It’s not very productive.


Singing conveys an attitude. It conveys a sense of gratitude, of contentedness. At least for me. And I realized during Christmas that I wasn’t singing. There were carols and I wasn’t singing along. In fact, there is singing every Sunday morning and I realized that I’m not singing, not consistently.  I have realized that there is a tightness when I sing.

So I have decided that this year I will sing. It will take practice. It will take choosing to sing. It will take reloading my iPod with singable songs. It will mean paying attention to lyrics. It will mean paying attention.

But I’m guessing that I will be different when I start singing again.

You know, it’s funny. Robert Lowry, the writer of the song mentioned earlier, looked at his songwriting as less important than his preaching. He was, after all, a preacher. But no one knows his sermons. Many people have heard and sung and learned and clung to his songs.

Maybe singing matters after all.


How can I keep from singing?

Lyrics by Robert Lowry

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation
Above the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

What through the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
What through the darkness round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is lord of Heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,
And hear their death-knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near,
How can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled,
How can I keep from singing?

little fingers.

My little fingers hurt.

It is a completely unexpected pain.  All I did was walk into an empty gym and pick up a basketball and start shooting from the free throw line. I took about 25 shots. I made about 3 shots. And…

my little fingers hurt.

It’s been many years since I took that many shots in a row. I’m not an athlete. And I don’t like to look like a failure. As a result, although I’ve had access to a gym every day for the past, well, for most of the past forty-five years, I haven’t walked in and taken 25 shots in a row for a long time.

Why did I try it today? I think it was because I wanted to find out what it would feel like to decide to do something outside my normal routine, something that other people have worked to make routine. (Okay, truth in advertising. I walked in, and then decided to try shooting, and then, when I missed the first 4 shots, decided to try several in a row. So it was an emerging decision.) There are people who have decided to work on free throws as an important part of their lives. Some are kids wanting to find a niche in the game. Some are pros who are tired of failing when they get to the free throw line. Some are people who just want to set some record for the most free throws in a row.

(My little fingers still hurt.)

Consistency is one of my three words for this year. And I don’t think of myself as a very consistent person. In truth this means that I’m not consistent about the things I would like to be consistent about. I’d love to be consistent about a to do list, or about a morning routine that is productive or about following through on tasks. I’d love to be consistent about reading my Bible or about emailing friends and family encouraging words or about eating wisely.

On the other hand, I realize that I am probably consistent about showing grace and about checking email and about laughing. I am consistent about walking with Nancy. And I realize that being consistent about some of the other things means remembering and believing that they are important. Important enough to keep doing even when…

my little fingers hurt.