“Resolutions…baby, they come and go.” - Jamie Cullum, Next Year, Baby
I’m as guilty as the next person for not keeping resolutions. Every year for nearly a decade I’ve “resolved” to start and maintain a regular workout schedule. Not one year did I stick to a routine for its entirety. And I’m pretty sure my resolve will always be this way. There have been others that keep making the list every January and suffer the same fate.
I do have a couple new ones for this year.
Read one book per month for a total of 12 by year’s end. I read maybe half that much this past year without having set a resolution to do so, so this one may actually be achievable.
My husband and I made an unofficial resolution to leave one weekend per month open for...whatever. We’re notorious for over-scheduling ourselves with gigs, sessions and other such obligations that we’re left feeling overextended month after month. We would like to leave time for the leisure activities we enjoy, and maybe even a short getaway every once in a while.
I see goals differently than I see resolutions. My goals have hardly changed in several years. This is where it gets embarrassing. I have had a goal to release a full-length album since 2014. I started recording said album near the beginning of 2016. This is a blog post for another day, as many factors have prevented this project from being completed over the last three years. I am not deflecting fault; of course the fault is largely mine, and perhaps soon I will go into more detail regarding some of these reasons. For now, I will say, as with 2016, 2017 and 2018, it is still my goal to release this monster in 2019.
What will make this year different from the rest? It may come down to my own state of mind. 2018 was challenging in many ways, as I’m sure it was for many people. I, of course, continue to internalize gratitude for all that is wonderful in my life: my marriage, my dog, my home, my family, my friends, my career, my abilities and my health. Despite all that, I had a lot of anxiety throughout the year about not being able to finish projects, doubting my abilities and often times, just the banal struggle of getting from day to day. I’m sure most have experienced this struggle to some degree. But I haven’t forgotten all that I have, and I am determined to stop struggling and start thriving. I know that if I can do this, I will be in a stronger position to achieve the goals and resolutions I have set for myself. I have chosen three words to help me:
I am about 50 pages into Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. I guess this can be my January book, though I admittedly started reading it before that. Side note: my husband purchased this book and I stole it out from under him before he got a chance to start reading it. Sorry, husband. So far, I understand it to illustrate an idea I’ve been simmering over for a long while: If I give up, then I have zero chance of achieving my goals. By simply sticking with it, my chances of achieving them are significantly higher. This seems almost mind-numbingly simple, though it’s a difficult concept to keep at heart while running a seemingly never-ending marathon. Duckworth starts off by saying that grit is a better indicator than talent in predicting whether one will achieve great things, because talent alone does not guarantee that one will go the distance. I have to believe that I have a considerable amount of grit, as I haven’t given up on my album yet, as painful as the process has been. I need to better use it to my advantage - to not let myself buckle when things get difficult, and to apply that passion to keep improving my art and craft. Grit will help me to keep moving forward.
This one is a little harder to describe. Of course I intend to have grit, and I intend to achieve my goals and keep my resolutions, but what does intention mean within itself? I want to be more deliberate in everything I do: in managing my time, in investing in my relationships, in devoting time to my art. Intention really ties into everything. Intention turns struggling into thriving. Intention helps me remember to show acts of thoughtfulness to my spouse. Intention helps me spend more time with friends, and spend less money while doing it. Intention helps me plan ahead for my week to make meal planning and getting ready for work easier. Intention helps me choose reading over TV in my spare time. Intention helps me follow through with writing that thank you card instead of just thinking about it and forgetting. Intention makes me think about how I present myself in marketing and social media. Intention helps my branding. Intention helps my practice sessions become more valuable. Intention helps me designate more time to writing. Intention just helps me be better. Intention helps me enjoy life.
This is really a branch of intention, but important enough to warrant its own topic. I’m no good for anything or anybody if I’ve run myself ragged. Even just taking a few minutes for myself everyday would do wonders for my state of being. Self-care is exactly what you think it is. It’s making time for an exercise routine (this takes care of the incessant resolution). It’s taking time to read (another resolution!). It’s allowing time off to relax, whether during a weekend getaway (seeing a pattern here?) or even an evening watching a favorite movie. It’s investing in quality skin care products and sticking to a routine. It’s indulging in a little something extra every week or so - a face mask, foot scrub or even a massage. It’s nourishing my body with healthy food and plenty of water. You get the point. It all circles back into INTENTION, with a focus on the self. Showing myself this level of care will hopefully recharge me to the point that I can keep progressing with my newfound GRIT.
Maybe you can call it simplification. These three words work so well together, cover the bases of all my resolutions, and prepare me to work towards my goals. Only time will tell if this outlook is a more successful strategy than a laundry list of resolutions, but I have hope - and intention - that this will be a great year.