Like most of the world, each New Year brings a toast, a kiss and a resolution to change my life for the better. For the past five years or more, my resolution has been the same: to get back to art and be creative. It seemed simple and fun. I purchased the supplies, signed up for online classes and bought books. I planned to paint, journal and craft wonderful things. But, like 90% of the world, except for the one year I made it to April, by February I failed. Each January I am right back where I started except my closet is full of unused art supplies and unwatched online video lessons.
For most people their resolution is something that changes their life for the better. It is to — lose weight, kick a bad habit, exercise — but for me it was to regain something I had lost. Something that use to be as natural as breathing. Doing art. I was the girl that always had a craft project in the works. I majored in art in college for heaven’s sake. Why was this so hard? Why was I stuck?
And, that was it, I was stuck. I had convinced myself that I wasn’t a good artist. I compared myself to others. I felt guilty doing something just for pleasure when there was so much work to be done. I had gotten so busy with being an adult I had lost my carefree side.
In my quest to find myself and make my resolutions work, I came across the book 52 Weeks by Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin. It was the story and guide from two women and their quest to get unstuck. I read every word and highlighted pages. While it wasn’t written as a New Year’s Resolution guide, it did seem to me, perfect for that. As 2017 approached, I started preparing for my 52 Week project.
The idea is to create a list of 52 small, doable things that you would like to do during the year. Then you choose an item each week and check it off your list. Maybe you miss a few weeks and maybe some weeks you do multiple things. You go into the project aware that the list will change as you discover things you would like to add or things that you need to delete for one reason or another. Just like life, your list evolves.
The plan is to enjoy life, try new things, face fears and better yourself one step at a time. Quick and doable steps is what makes this a little different than a bucket list or a typical resolution. You can’t fail because you just keep stepping forward with 52 opportunities to succeed. Every check off on your list is a win.
As suggested by the authors, when creating my list, I divided the things I wanted to accomplish into categories. Some overlapped, some were easy while some were harder. The categories didn’t have to be equal, but putting together a thoughtful, diverse list would make the possibility of succeeding much easier. The important things is for each item to be one doable step. Somethings may take a little planning and others may be spur of the moment but all are separate items that can be checked off as they are completed.
My list was just for me. Some of the items would seem silly to my family and friends but that was ok. This wasn’t for them but for me, to move myself into being a better version of Maggie for Maggie in 2017. The fact that I was feeling accomplished and happy was a bonus for my family and friends.
Once my list was complete, I needed to put it someplace I wouldn’t lose it. Whether that was on the computer, a print out posted on the refrigerator or written inside a journal, the list needed to be accessible. The thrill of checking items off the list keeps you moving forward. Seeing it everyday is a reminder. I wrote my list in a nice notebook kept on my desk. I looked at it daily. I checked off things I had done.
As 2017 closed, I looked at my list. I had climbed a lighthouse, kayaked in the marsh, visited the Morse museum of Tiffany Glass, abandoned some art, ushered at church, cooked a standing rib roast and tried tai chi. I moved all my medical records and established myself in my new city, tried a recipe with ingredients I wasn’t familiar with and ate on my fine china. I took an art class and painted some small pictures via an online video tutorial. The checked list goes on.
I changed a few things along the way, taking off trips to Cumberland Island and the Okefenokee when mother nature made it impossible. But, I added a few things too. I’d say that 2017 was a big success. Sure, I probably would have done some of these without the list. But some, I definitely wouldn’t have, and I have a great sense of accomplishment because I checked them off the list. Most importantly, I discovered that I WAS being creative in my life, I had just not taken the time to realize it.
Finally, I am looking forward to a new year without the regret that I didn’t accomplish my goal and I’m excited about my 2018 list. oin me this year and cruise through adventures during the 52 weeks of 2018. Use the Fayette Woman 52 List print out to create your list. Follow the fun and tell us about it as we unstick ourselves and recreate the art of making New Year’s Resolutions a success!
- Something new. You are never too old to learn new things. Expand your world, see new things, experience new adventures.
- Wellness. Make small changes that improve your lifestyle and health.
- Fun. Do things just for the pleasure of doing them. Make the time and have no guilt.
- Arts and Culture. Fill your life with creative experiences as a participant and an observer. Music, drama, dance and studio art are sure to add enjoyment to the year.
- Relationships. What makes the world go round and life worthwhile are the relationships we make. Take time to nurture the people in your life.
- Facing fears. Face your fears and get out of your comfort zone. Add a little thrill every now and again to keep the old heart pumping. Don’t be held back because of fears
- Give Back. It is true, when you help others you are also helping yourself. It feels good to be a part of something bigger.
- Reflect. Take time to relax and reconnect with yourself and what made you tick. Whether it is time to read, relax or meditate taking care of the soul is important. Reconnecting with yourself.
- Changing course. What do you want to change about yourself. Make a baby step towards a new direction in life.
- Things to go and do. Where do you want to go and what do you want to do? Some local stops while others required planning. Include destinations, restaurants and museums you normally wouldn’t take the time to check out.