I’m breaking with convention a bit here, and instead of three words to frame my year, I’m choosing four.  They’re all related, and intertwine. They may or may not make sense to you, but perhaps they’ll get you thinking about yours, and what your guideposts will be for the coming year.


This has several connotations to me, related to all facets of my life. Discipline in how I choose my endeavors, to be sure they fit into the bigger picture (see Chords below). Discipline in terms of patience and temperance, to step back and breathe before I react, assume, or imagine the worst (the opposite of which is one of my weaknesses). The discipline to let my thoughts simmer sometimes, and come together when they’re ready, instead of feeling like I have to force them. The discipline to make time in my day for the things that are important to me, whether that’s doing a puzzle with my daughter, or setting aside dedicated time to read or write.


I  used to love to camp as a kid, and set off on adventures through the woods with my knife and a canteen full of water. The trick? The canteen only holds so much. And if you can’t find a fresh water source to replenish it, you’re out of luck (and thirsty, which can end up dangerous). I learned the hard way in 2009 that I have a tendency to chase after some things so hard that I leave little water in the canteen for other things. The result? Burnout. It’s related to Discipline. I need to learn how to ration my energy and time so that it’s used in the right places, when I can make the most of it.


I have, at any one time, several things I’m trying to do at once. From my day job to my other professionally-related passions to my personal interests, they really need something to tie them all together.

In music, if you’ve got a chord progression on paper – a unifying language, if you will – you can improvise a bit with those chords and scales, and still stay pretty well in sync. It’s a theme. A thread. But not spelled out to the detail. You can take a few liberties, or you can play straight. But those threads of tonality through the whole thing will keep you moving in the same, coordinated direction, even if you vamp for a while. I need that.


It’s rarely a single ship that manages to get anything done. It’s usually a fleet of ships, and each one has a purpose within the overall expedition. Most importantly of all, no one person can sail all the ships at once, and each ship needs a captain, in charge of their own mission within the fleet.  I need to hone my delegation skills, and my ability to empower and equip people while letting them own their own course.

So, those are mine for this year. Have you thought about what ideas or themes are going to keep you on track this year? I’m curious to see if mine help for the long haul, and how I might have to tweak them along the way. If you’ve posted on yours, please share below. And if not, leave a comment and let us know what you’ve got planned.

image credit: ayel Aheram