Happy 2019! Since we are still lingering in January for a few more days I’ve decided that this still counts as a “New Years” post, especially since I have yet to publish anything on the blog this year. Though I’ve had my 2019 intentions solidified since January 1st, in my typical introvert fashion, I’ve been letting them marinate for a while before getting them on the page.
First off, let me just say that I don’t buy into the whole “New Year, New Me!” hype. I’ve spent the last 33 years becoming the person that I am, and for better or worse cultivating my current habits. I’m all about growth and change and working towards goals, but I’m not so much a fan of putting all this pressure on yourself that suddenly on January 1st you give yourself these ultimatums of change. I understand if NY Resolutions ARE your thing, but they aren’t mine. I spent a good part of 2018 delving into some self study, and I certainly learned a lot about myself, the most useful piece of information I gleaned from this was that I am an Obliger ( Gretchen Ruben, the Four Tendencies… I highly recommend) There is certainly no point in denying it, the entire chapter I was like “Hi, it’s me. Thanks for describing each and every thing that goes on in my brain” I don’t think anyone really loves being put into a box, and there are certainly aspects of this tendency that don’t seem very flattering, but rather than focusing on what some would consider negative traits, I’m choosing to act on things that will help me manage them (IE I need accountability if I want to accomplish my personal goals, and needing to be more firm in my boundaries to avoid burn-out.) I bring all this up, because it has made me realize that as a human with this tendency, I’m probably not going to be super successful at keeping any concrete resolutions… But I am heading into 2019 with a handful of words/ themes and areas of my life that I’m wanting to give a bit more attention to… and hey if some new habits happen to appear in the mix, I’m certainly not going to chase them away.
Words/ Themes for 2019: Why pick one when you could pick three? Maybe this is my indecisiveness, or fear of committing to only one idea (I’m a complex creature) but the words that I’m embracing for 2019 are Connection, Boundaries, and Ambiance.
- Connection: Though I am a full-fledged introvert, I do understand that some of the most meaningful moments in life are shared through connection. I love being a part of a “small town” community, interacting with my yoga students and customers at the shop, volunteering, and exploring new ideas with book clubs etc. and I want more of this is 2019. More personal stories, meaningful conversations, handwritten notes, thoughtful smiles, coffee dates, accountability groups etc. . I’m especially excited to embrace this idea of connection in March as I head to Alt Summit and get to meet and interact with hundreds of creative, entrepreneurs, artists and kindred spirits.
- Boundaries: This might seem awkwardly juxtaposed next to “Connections” but one thing I’m really learning about myself is that I need to set clear boundaries in order to be successful creatively. I tend to be the person who over-commits to things, volunteers to help out, and generally say yes when asked to help with projects, to sub a class, or work on something… and that is good a lot of the time. I like when people ask me for help, I like to feel needed, I like to give my time, and so a lot of times I just give an enthusiastic “YES!” and am then often putting my own personal projects, ideas, creative pursuits on the backburner. I know there is a lot of ebb and flow, but what I’m realizing is that I’m tired of saying yes to projects I’m not 100% passionate about just because I feel obligated to. And the bummer thing is that sometimes this means saying NO to things you want to do. It means passing on happy hour when you are trying to get your budget in order, or missing a gathering because you need an introvert recharge, or passing on an opportunity so you have time to focus your creative energy on something else that fills you with more fire. And you know what? It’s hard. People don’t like hearing no (and some of us don’t like saying it) and I’m finding that there are actually a fair amount of people out there who don’t want to respect your boundaries, or pushback against them, or can’t understand why you have them / make snarky comments about them! BUT I’m practicing anyway. So as much as I’m saying yes to connection, to getting out of my comfort zone and to building relationships, I’m also saying no. I’m planting my feet and respecting myself and my creativity and my needs. (and guess what, it feels awesome.)
- Ambiance: Hygge seemed too specific for a year round feeling, and I’m still trying to vocalize exactly what I mean when I say I’m spending 2019 focusing on ambiance, but I’m trying to be more intentional about creating ambiance at home and around me. Thus far this has looked like turning up the heat and lighting candles when I come home. I’ve started to work on some clutter issues, I’ve completely organized all my jewelry, and added some new art to my gallery walls. I don’t know exactly how this is going to look and evolve, but I know that I’m bringing more attention to my patio space, the garden, and I’m paying more attention to where I’m spending my time and what feelings these places evoke.
Areas of Focus: Mid November I attended a workshop that encompassed yoga creating healthy habits, and organizing your life and finances (UM yeah, talk about all the things I need all the time). My biggest take-away from said workshop was that we (the proverbial we) can only have three priorities at a time. If we add more than that, our plates become too full, and we can’t actually achieve the things we were hoping to. BUT the cool thing is that if we make something a priority, and carve out time for it, we begin to go through the process of making that priority a habit, so over time we can shift our priorities because those things we were making time for and striving towards have either a) become ingrained into our daily habits or b) are no longer a priority. This makes sense (at least to me.) I’ve noticed this with meditation and my morning routine. I gave it focus, I made it a priority, and now without thinking, I have this set routine that involves getting up, making coffee and crawling back into bed for 20 minutes of mediation, intention setting and spending a few moments drawing a Crystal, Spirit Animal and Inner Compass cards. Sometimes is feels silly, other times is feels luxurious, but it has become my standard routine , so I no longer need to focus on making meditation a priority. It is already incorporated into the day to day.
My three priorities for 2019 are Creativity, Health and Home.
- Creativity: Though with priorities I think specifics are good, I wasn’t willing to say “writing is going to be my priority for 2019” Writing is definitely a huge part of being creative for me, in fact it is my favorite medium, and part of making creativity a priority does involve carving out designated time for writing each week. But creativity also takes the form of cooking and trying new recipes, planting new things in the garden, making a collage, color coding my planner, writing letters, planning yoga classes. And each of these things feeds the same part of my brain as writing, and I’m allowing some space for that. ( but naturally, by making creativity a priority in my life, I do expect more writing will be a result.)
- Home: I know this seems big and general, but it sort of goes hand in hand with Ambiance. I love my home, I love being at home, I love entertaining at home, I love working in the garden… and all that being said, I LIVE in my home. I’m a person with a dog, and clutter, and an extensive closet, and more greeting cards and stationary than one would think necessary, and tons of yard work that needs to be done, and I’m also just one human. One human with a full time job, and a side gig, and responsibilities outside the home and of course some excuses. And you know what? I spend a lot of time at my home, and I put a large chunk of my take home pay towards rent, and I’m ready to make my home and its tidiness a priority. I know this is definitely going to take a shift in thinking, and a shift in my actions… I am mostly ready for that.
- Health: This probably needs less defining than the other priorities, but I’m taking Health to be the overarching umbrella for Emotional, Physical and Financial practices. It encompasses a lot of things like getting more sleep, moving my person, drinking more water, cutting back on coffee? (maybe next month…) being intentional with my budget, reading more books, having deep conversations, evaluating relationships, making more time for stretching and yoga, drinking less alcohol, and surrounding myself with people and projects and things that bring me joy and cutting out the things that don’t.
One last observation before signing off. I’m trying to get better at is the idea of having grace with myself and others. Do I want to cultivate healthy habits? Absolutely… (I’m on day 23 of oil pulling! ) but I’ve come to accept that I’m living day to day, and if I fail miserably today at drinking enough water, or moving my person, or loading the dishwasher that is OKAY, because tomorrow is a clean slate. I understand it is a fine line between just letting yourself completely off the hook, and grace, but I think the important thing to remember is setting realistic expectations for yourself, and then striving to meet them. Some days you will, and it will feel awesome, and you will think “I’m going to keep doing this!” and you keep doing it until life kicks in and you oversleep, or you stay up too late working on a project, or you make a conscious choice to eat take-out and glass of rosé rather than drinking the last 20 oz of water you were wanting to, because LIFE. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but also don’t give up!
Anyway… I’d love to hear what sort of words/ themes/ ideas are resonating with you for 2019 and if you are a resolution keeper or attempter I’d love to hear about that too! Leave your themes/ resolutions/ new years practices in the comments below.