thrive

Welcome to Thrive! A weekly advice column for creatives and the generally confused.

 

Happy New Year! We have officially made it through our first week of 2018. I hope you are all still feeling the energy of last week as we and those around us felt the cleansing power of a calendar flip and a year change. I have always loved New Year’s Eve, not just because I tend to be a bit of an idealist, but because I love the optimism it puts in just about everyone else too. It gives us the strength to clean off the slate and say, “I can do better” or “I finally got this.”

Haters will say this optimism, this glow of life, is fake. That people are setting themselves up for failure. While I honestly don’t share this viewpoint, I can see where they’re coming from. Failed resolutions are definitely trend we all know. But I also think that’s because we pick very generic, pie-in-the-sky types of resolutions. I don’t think any goal is too lofty if we work from where we are. If we work with what we have instead of what we don’t, we guarantee a much higher rate of success.

For example, you can’t expect to be a brilliant painter if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush. Saying your New Year’s resolution is to get your own gallery show is a bit lofty, but if you look at where you are and what the first step to that gallery show is, maybe instead your resolution is to buy your first set of supplies and take your first class. Sure, that seems easy, but there is actually a lot of steps involved: saving money for supplies, educating yourself on what you’ll need, researching the best classes, paying for the class, finding time for the class etc. It’s a huge undertaking and totally resolution worthy! Do not be afraid to have a totally specific, “easy” sounding resolution.

Resolutions need not be crazy. And resolutions need not be for the overly optimistic. Think of one small thing you wish you could do, have, say, be. Break it down into smaller steps until you have something you can manage, something that could actually get done in a year. We always joke the year goes by too fast, but it’s true. You’ll be on your second goal before you know it.

And if the whole thing still sort of makes you squeamish, set the goal for you only. No one has to know you’re working on something… just make sure you can keep yourself accountable without outside help!

 

THRIVE is answered by Amanda Kusek, a poet, blogger, and dog mom living in NYC.