rebrands, not resolutions

It would be damn near impossible for me to tell you anything new about resolutions today. We’re four days into the New Year and I’m sure you’ve already been bombarded with the carefully curated messages put on Instagram by women whose job it is to maintain a perfect presence for their tens of thousands of followers. I follow those women, too. I should know.

thank you, Kate Spade

But what about those of us who are so busy living and doing that we barely have time to worry about planning for what’s next? We’re still accomplishing some major stuff. We’re still living very full and balanced lives. Maybe our vision boards are lacking and our planners leave more to be desired, but we have goals in our head. We know what we want….but what with the holidays and traveling and shopping and cleaning up around home – not to mention going back to our day jobs after an extended vacation in which we spent all our time working on all those personal to-dos – we just haven’t had the extra time to make our “goals” look pretty. What about us?

You see, I think we’re the ones who feel the most guilt at this time of year. A part of us is the Type A/Overachiever….but another part of us is a free soul. We are aware of the improvements we would love to make in our lives, especially creatively, but we’re also completely at odds with the process. This leads to a lot of self-doubt, self-loathing, and complete lack of confidence.

Like, If I can’t articulate my goals right here and right now, something must be wrong with me, right? I must have missed something. I’ll never get better if I don’t decide on a new habit by January 1st. If I don’t, I’ll be doomed to living the same exact life with the same exact problems. Which in a culture of self-improvement is the ultimate failure, no?

This year, I’ve felt the pressure of setting goals more than I ever have before. Not only am I finally working in a field that allows and even encourages me to write, but I’m about to co-host a writing retreat specifically centered on goal-setting. These things combined mean writing has been on the brain; writing is the thing I’ve been granted permission and expectation to do. Here I am, having done all the research, all the reading, all the writing of scripts and planning of activities…..yet it’s been extra hard for me to sit and center on what my new year should hold. Kinda ironic, isn’t it?

So I’ve tossed around a lot of ideas:

Write a novel.

Focus on essay writing and start submitting.

Wake up earlier and meditate/write morning pages.

Sign up for a super-expensive yoga class in Franklin that will hold me accountable.

Go vegetarian. Or vegan. Or maybe cook more of my pasta gluten-free. (Yeah right)

…but the problem with all of these is that I know I’ll likely fail. Because these are the things that I feel like I should do; they are not the things that I truly want to do. And goals, resolutions, rebrands, or any self-help you decide to pursue, should be rooted in what you want to do. That is how you find your purpose. In a way, I’m still working to define that purpose. And I realize that I’m on the journey towards that discovery and that’s OK. Maybe you are, too. In which case, it’s best to pursue what you want – because ultimately it will help you discover what you need. And it will certainly help you gain the necessary focus to get where you’re going and create something that others can benefit from in the long run. Which, ta-da! Equals success.

So as I seek that life-defining PURPOSE, what I want to do is vague:

I want this blog to be better. I want people to read it.

I want to finish something that I’m writing.

I want to continue crafting throughout all the seasons.

I want to be more knowledgeable when it comes to caring for my goats.

I want to love myself more.

I want to be less moody and more optimistic.

I want to be healthy.

I want to truly invest in my friendships.

I want to do the self-care thing. For real. Baths, candles, pedicures, and all.

Frankly, I just want to be more.

And so I’ve decided that this year, given the time crunch and the inadequacy of a bunch of “goals”….I’m just going to whittle it down to a word. (You know, like all those pretty girls on Instagram are doing.)

This year, I’m going to ASPIRE.

In a way, this may sound like a cop-out. It probably seems like I’m not really doing the work. But it’s not worth stressing out over having the perfect “goal,” especially when most of the world is going to give up on their resolutions in a couple of weeks or so. Having this word, carrying a small talisman around with me that reminds me of this word, will stick with me:

When I don’t feel like sitting down to write, I’ll remember that I’ve aspired to improve.

When I catch myself looking in the mirror and picking apart my appearance, I’ll aspire to let it go.

When I jump in on NaNoWriMo again in November, I’ll plan in advance, and I’ll aspire to get it done.

Whenever I sit down to this blog, I’ll do it with a renewed mind. One that sees potential for new subjects, new value, and new design.

This word will nag at me, it will eat away at my subconscious, it will encourage me to always stretch a little further than I’ve wanted to before. And in a way, yes, it will hopefully be easier than articulating 3-5 measurable goals and having to track my progress and face that potential failure. But at the same time, improvement isn’t a simple task. Especially when you’re aspiring to improve many different facets of your life. In fact, it’s much larger. Because at the end of the year, it should result in a new feeling, a new me – a REBRAND.

The results may be minimal, but they could also be great. If I can simply change the way I think about things, who knows where that potential could take me? And I like the idea of that – not knowing exactly what the future holds. I’ve never known before, and I’m doing alright. So what’s to lose? We can only go up from here.