There’s something fun I’m trying for 2018, but first we need to address the giant elephant in the room.

I failed.

Remember how I set a goal to release four EP’s in 2017? I didn’t make it. I only released three — Someone to Blame, Rain, and Fighter. (Click here to listen to all of ‘em.)

The truth is I let the holidays sneak up on me. We also moved into a new house in November, so life was crazy, and I didn’t plan accordingly.

But was it really a failure? Of course not. Do I wish I had released all four EP’s? Yes. Did I miss the goal? Yes. But I released way more music than 99% of musicians out there. So that’s still a win.

I still plan to release that fourth EP, it’s just going to be late. 🙂

Setting goals is great, but only if the goals force you to do things you really want to do, like make music. I missed my goal for 2017, but I made a crapload of music, and I’m proud of that.

My 3 Words for 2018

Chris Brogan does this thing every year where he chooses 3 words for the year. He writes:

“The words that you select for My 3 Words are meant to serve as lighthouses to guide you through foggy moments. To that end, it’s important to pick words that have enough meaning that you’ll snap your perspective into alignment with them and build out your days, weeks, months, and year accordingly.”

I love that idea. Goals and resolutions can get tricky. I have a lot of the same goals I had in 2017 (Play the Ryman, get to my goal weight), so I don’t really need to set new goals. But I do need to adjust. I need to take a look at 2017. What worked? I want to do more of those things in 2018. What’s broken? I want to fix those things in 2018.

With 2017 still ringing in my ears, I sat down yesterday and mapped out my 3 words for 2018. Here they are:

STORY — I really connect with Don Miller’s writing about the elements of story, and how a good life is made up of the same components as a good story. There are parts of my life where I could be living a better story. Connecting more deeply with people. Taking risks. Dancing with my fear more than hiding from it. I want to live a better story in 2018.

BUFFER — A lot of the stress I experienced in 2017 came from poor planning and execution. I have a hard time working on something today if it’s not due for another month. So I put it off. And I put it off. Until the thing is due tomorrow and I’m scrambling to finish it. I’m a big fan of working under pressure and setting deadlines, but there’s a difference between working well under pressure and being lazy. I need to spend more time doing the important things BEFORE they come urgent (Stephen Covey’s Quadrant 2 concept). Life feels so much less stressful when I finish things well ahead of time, giving myself a buffer, room breathe. This will help with stress, but it will also make me far more intentional and proactive, allowing me to accomplish more of the things I want to accomplish.

HEALTHY — This one is pretty cliché, but I need to focus on being a healthy person in 2018. I realized recently that I first need to think of myself as a healthy person before I can really make lasting changes to how I approach food and exercise. I want believe I am a healthy person — emotionally, spiritually, and physically. If that can sink in, the behavioral changes will happen. But no amount of behavior modification will change my heart, or change how I feel about myself. Gotta work from the inside out.

Story. Buffer. Healthy.

Those are My 3 Words for 2018. What are yours?

Leave a comment and let’s make 2018 a great one.

Joe Gilder
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