New Year, New Way with Resolutions
This year, I’m taking a different approach to resolutions. I now realize that January 1 comes with buyer’s remorse, the pressure to choose a resolution right now, otherwise all good intentions expire. In previous years, I’ve panic chosen a resolution – grabbed something from a magazine or Pinterest board, that means almost nothing and that I inevitably forget within a week. By mid-Jan I can’t even tell you what the resolution was that I started the year with.
But not for 2018, because over the last year I’ve been collecting ideas for life the same way you might collect cute quotes or aphorisms. Below are a few pieces of advice and tips that struck me on some level: some are blindingly obvious, others kind of surprising.
Some of these apply specifically to my situation: many work projects, not enough time, and two little kids to adore and entertain. Others are more general and apply to the universals of all our lives – health, relationships, love, career, self-care.
Use them as reminders, prompts, nudges, maybe even as resolutions. But use them because they matter to you, because they have meaning in your life, for whatever you are facing at the start of 2018!
We wish you all the best for the year ahead!
1/ Allow Fear In: “Running away may feel good in the short term – in fact, it can feel wonderful for a while. But if you’re always running and never engaging, you’ll find you’re facing in the wrong direction for your whole life. You’ll never have the chance to look back the way you came and feel proud.” Advice from The Poetry Pharmacy.
2/ But Fear you are absolutely forbidden to drive: “Yes, you are definitely in the back-seat. I acknowledge, that you have a role to play and can be in the car, but not in the driver’s seat.” Advice from Elizabeth Gilbert.
3/ Write first: This isn’t just for the writers out there – though this has been crucial for me – but for everyone who has a creative practice. If the first thing you reach for is your smartphone, your brain space is immediately co-opted somewhere else. Start your day with what matters to you. Not what matters to someone else. Advice from Jessica Lahey and KJ Dell'Antonia
4/ Do something kind for the future you. I love this idea, that those five-year (ok, one year, maybe) plans are actually really about you, not some abstraction. That what you do today is really a gift, or, if you get it wrong, an anchor, for a future you. That realization brought me up sharp! Advice from Will Wheaton
5/ Love is attention. This one I’m trying to remember, constantly, because all the draws on our time can mean exactly the opposite. Checking our smartphones 74 times a day (the average!), or focusing on everything else but the people we love in our lives, whether that’s kids, friends, or partners. Be present with those you love. Advice from many places; this idea was around a lot in 2017.
6/ Find your life lilos: "Box sets, gossip magazines, reality telly, beauty vlogs, teen films, the shopping channels – these are things I call ‘life lilos’: often garish, always light, unchallenging buoys that keep us afloat in troubled times… cultural E numbers; emotional MSG." Advice from Dolly Alderton from The High Low Podcast
7/ Be willing to commit to something: Choose something, focus on that one thing, make that thing happen. That means no cul-de-sac ideas, or even multiple ones, that will leave you strung out and achieving nothing. Pick the thing that matters most, and focus your energies there. Advice from Miranda West, Do Lectures. Also, keep in mind her equally as important gem:
8/ You have a clear runway. This is the moment when West realized that what she needed was right before her: ‘the bombs are not dropping; the kids are fine.’ Realize when you do have the opportunity to do something, and then take it.
9/ Make the project as good as possible. This one is so simple, but we forget to do this sometimes, amongst all the to do lists and schedules and social media planning. Focus on the project, on why you are doing it, and keep that focus to make it as good as you possibly can. Advice: Ted Wilson, The Alice Collective
10/ Be aware of your own complacency: “I think people nominally have never been more attached to self-transformation, but the actual willingness to take the risks it entails is lower. We want to be able to control everything. We want self-transformation, but on our own terms. That’s a somewhat dubious prospect.” Tyler Cowen and Joceyln K. Glei, on the HurrySlowly Podcast
Need more ideas, look to our favorite Go-Tos: podcasts from Dear Sugars, How I Built This, and Bryony Gordon’s MadWorld; smart ideas from StreetWisdom and The School of Life; and books to keep you thinking, How to be a person in the world, anything from Anne Lamott, and In the Company of Women, amongst these.
Soon we’ll be announcing programs at The Indie Alley to get you moving on all your maker, life and work projects for 2018. Let us know what you are interested in learning, creating and doing and we'll make sure that we make that happen for you.