Do you set New Year's Resolutions?
I've heard both sides of the coin. Some people jump at the opportunity to set a new goal, while others criticize the fact that we shouldn't wait until a metaphorical new day to make over our habits. Personally, I love the fresh feeling that a new year brings with it, and so taking the opportunity to look over the past year and set new goals for the next is one of my favourite traditions.
Before I dive into my goals for this coming new year, I thought it would be helpful to look back over this past year and reminisce how my goals played a role in my day to day. I don't want to toot my own horn over here, but I'm proud of the way that I explored my resolutions over this past year. Did I keep all of them? No. Did I explore some of them? Yes. Did the manifestation of those goals surprise me? Sometimes. Here goes.
My first resolution for the past year was to cook one vegan meal per week. Before this, I had never cooked anything vegan and my understanding of vegan food could be summed up in one word: vegetables. But I asked for a very popular vegan cookbook for Christmas and decided to dive in by challenging myself to cook one vegan meal per week. Did I succeed? Yes. In fact, I loved it so much that I began cooking more and more vegan food because I simply loved it so much. I purchased two other vegan cookbooks throughout the year, started following a few vegan foodies on social media, and even started developing some of my own recipes. This one became embedded in my lifestyle and I am thankful for that because I know I will continue to cook this way for many years to come.
Another resolution was to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator. I had stumbled my way through Photoshop for a number of years, so I was eager to try and tackle the other beast. For my first resolution, I had a clear, tangible plan, but for this one, I wasn't sure how it would manifest. I thought maybe I would buy a book, play around, and stumble my way through the program. Well lo and behold, I think this ended up becoming my favourite resolution because it came to life in the most unexpected way. In March, I felt a strong stirring that perhaps I should look into heading back to school and by April I was enrolled and starting my first classes in a part-time Graphic Design program. By my second term, I was taking a class completely dedicated to Adobe Illustrator. That, coupled with a personal 100 Day Project, taught me the ins and outs pretty darn quickly. Do I know it all? Certainly not. Do I know a lot more than I did at the beginning of the year? Definitely.
Now to the failing side of last years resolutions. I also had a goal of painting three canvases with acrylic throughout the year completely for fun, with no pressure or intention of using or selling them. I loved the idea of this resolution. It seemed so easy and fun, but I literally did not touch one single canvas throughout the year. Although I wish that I would have given it a go, I don't have any regrets about not getting to this one. I explored my creativity in other unexpected ways throughout the year, and ultimately, this resolution was made in order to push myself creatively, so in a way, the goal was addressed. Painting is just not my priority right now. My final resolution to "simplify my life" was a bit of a failure because it felt a little too broad. The secret to setting good resolutions is to make it specific enough that you know how to go for it. In some ways, I'm sure I did simplify, but in many others, it felt as if things only got a little more overwhelming. I strongly believe that there are different seasons for different things and so I'm okay with the fact that I didn't really prioritize this one this year.
To finish off, I just want to drop a little pitch about the value in setting intentional resolutions. As you can see, over this past year, I tackled some of my resolutions and neglected others. That's ok. The point in setting them in the first place is to evaluate where you're at and to push yourself to do something differently or to try something new. The intention is there, even if the action doesn't always follow. Setting personal goals for yourself is so satisfying - whether you decide to do that at the beginning of a new year or on a month-to-month, week-to-week, or day-to-day basis, doesn't matter. The point is to just do it. It's amazing to look back and see how you have grown throughout the process.
Did you set any resolutions for 2017 that you were able to keep? How about some failures? Now I'm off to tackle next year's list before the ball drops in a couple of weeks.