My 3 Words for 2019

Published on December 27th, 2018

2018 was a transformative year across every dimension of my life. It is also the first time since I started the yearly, 3 Words tradition in 2011 where I know for a fact that I owe much of this success to this process. Each day I made it a point to remind myself of the words along with the purpose and intention behind them. And when things turned bleak, it was this bundle of intentions that help give me the direction to look and courage to act and make significant life-altering changes. Changes that I feel very, very blessed to have experienced after some tough years.

To celebrate, I’m excited to double down on the process and pick a new set of words and intentions for 2019. I trust they will guide and nudge my family and me to new heights, building off the momentum and settings us up for a fantastic 2020 and beyond.

To that end, here are the words I’ve selected and the reasons behind them.


While I’ve known of 12-step programs my entire life, I never felt compelled to step into one. Personally, the only addictive tendencies I’ve had centered around workaholism. Sure, alcoholism was rampant in my family (both immediate and extended). However, I (naively) thought my separation of time and space would keep me at a safe distance from its effects.

It wasn’t until multiple family crises that I found myself in a room for a different 12-step program: Al-Anon, which is for the friends and family members of alcoholics. When I started my journey there, I was adamant that most of my problems stemmed from the actions and behaviors of other people. However, I’ve come to hold a mirror to myself and see how and where I’ve both contributed or been at fault.

Spiritually, this program has already done a tremendous amount for me in helping bring order amidst the chaos of life. However, I know from past experience that until I genuinely embody and make something a habit, the effects can be temporary. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for me and my relationships that I make weekly attendance and daily meditation on this part of my lifestyle for at least another year.


One of my biggest regrets in life is having watched some of my most important relationships fall apart through neglect. Sure, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “out of sight, out of mind.” I had become so overcommitted, distracted, and tunnel-visioned in life that relationships were squeezed off of my priority list.

However, life has a way of both highlighting important lessons of the past while providing opportunities for redemption in the future. One of the realizations I had was the amazing gift my mom had when I was growing up. She was a super connector that could make friends with anyone and (more importantly) made it a point to make them feel important and appreciated. In a way, I know I have a similar quality and want to honor her legacy by living my life by that standard.

Fortunately, after I left a company that I co-founded to catch my breath, a fantastic opportunity was waiting for me to join Contact Mapping. Here it is our mission train and empower people to do the very thing that I want myself and others to experience: deeper and more meaningful relationships. To that end, my goal is to live this value on a daily basis through the word of relationship.


Steven Pressfield’s books (The War of Art and Turning Pro) are filled with refreshing yet brutal truths that we all need to hear when we find ourselves losing our way. In my life, I was starting to drift. I found myself being a team player shape-shifting to fit the needs of all others. This was fine in theory, but I noticed I was losing my edge and self-confidence because I wasn’t aligning my energy and effort with my passions and strengths.

Fast forward to 2018 at the Go Pro conference, and I was reinvigorated. A theme that kept coming up, again and again, was the power of focus, consistency, and showing up. For me, turning pro is the act of showing up and taking minute by minute action following my top values of growth and integrity. Turning pro means I will not allow myself to rationalize and accept behavior that falls short of this.

And You?

Given your goals for 2018, what 3 words will make up your mantra?

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.