My Three Words for 2020

Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I am practicing  “My 3 Words for 2020.” The idea is that you think up three words that will help guide your choices and actions over the coming year.

Several years ago, both Chris and I followed Chris Brogan’s My Three Words exercise for the new year. I actually found it helpful but as things happen, I quit doing it for a while.

After doing the three words exercise for a couple years, I moved to creating My Three Goals. This became much more like creating resolutions and my goals, to be honest, were contradictory. I basically wanted to lose fat at the same time as I wanted to gain muscle and increase my running speed. I must have just watched Wonder Woman or something. What was I thinking? I didn’t achieve any of those goals. I still like them so they linger in the back of my mind. Maybe one day I’ll accomplish some of them.

My Three Words for 2020

Here are my three words for 2020.


I really pondered this word because it feels rather negative to me and I’m trying to focus on the positive side of things. I want my language to be positive if possible. I considered words that I consider to be more upbeat such as Embrace but this is the word that keeps coming to mind. I’ve learned that if that’s what happens, it will continue to be the word that comes to mind.

Why abstain as the word for the year? I’m trying to eliminate certain things from my diet and am struggling with that. I’m hoping that going gluten free for an extended period of time will help improve my health. I get that means not eating bread and pasta and I know that I can do that. It also means giving up craft beer and that’s a challenge for me. I don’t mean as in I can’t quit drinking beer because I’m physically unable to but much of my social life has revolved around visiting breweries and logging in unique beers in Untappd.

I also recognized that I have certain behaviors and activities that are detracting from my progress to the things I want to accomplish in my life and I need to figure out how to abstain. That can mean less time on my phone, watching TV, and mindless shopping. I want to abstain from negative behaviors.

For these reasons, I decided that one of my three words has to be abstain.


I do not have a large family but the one that I have is important to me. My son is getting married in 2020 which means my immediate family is increasing from two to three. Is that a 33% percent increase? I really stink at math but it’s a significant event. I definitely expect to be celebrating.

My parents are elderly and my siblings deal with a lot. I need to be able to support everyone. That takes energy, both physical and emotional. It also means having the flexibility to change my schedule and be available by phone, text, and in person.

I have a few close friends who I consider to be my family. I want to be sure that I devote time and energy to them too. It’s easy to become complacent about relationships. I want to avoid that complacency.

I want my energy this year to be directed to my family.


Here on Becoming Elli, we talk a lot about motivation and habit and routine. I debated on this word too, thinking that perhaps I wanted to use habit instead. I’m going with routine because that is more closely aligned to what I want.

I struggled in 2019 to maintain a routine for my exercise, steps, and professional activities. My job changed and when my schedule changed, my routine flew out the window, leaving me feeling confused and anxious.

I’ve come to realize that I have to have that routine and if my schedule changes due to work or anything else, I have to be able to adjust and keep my routine going.

I have an ADD-type mind. I tend to focus on what interests me at the moment and not so much what I need to be focusing on. That makes living with a routine more important and also difficult to do.

Using the Three Words

You’re supposed to look at your three words daily so that they stay in mind. I get that because it’s like having a goal. If you don’t keep it in mind, it’s not happening. So, I’m printing out a graphic with the three words on it and posting it in my house.

What are you doing for the new year? Making resolutions? Setting goals? If you happen to be following the three word plan, please share your words here or email me at

3 thoughts on “My Three Words for 2020”

  1. Good words for focusing on 2020 Jill! You’ve inspired me to figure out 3 words again. Personally I like the “routine” and “family” but would struggle with the “abstain”. My next post will be my 3 words for 2020.

    Happy New Year!!

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