5 Things to do Differently in 2019

Last year was a difficult year for me, filled with extremes and leaving me emotionally drained and by the end of it I found myself ready to make some serious (and drastic) changes. I have never been keen on New Year Resolutions and therefore have never made any attempt to make them but this year I found myself seriously pondering the idea. In the end these 5 things are the closest I am getting to a New Year Resolution. I concluded that it is the idea of a New Year/Clean Slate dynamic that appealed to me. So, if I could wipe the slate clean what would I do differently? I would….

1). Let IT Go!

IT being all those yucky things that I carried around with me all through 2018. Hurt feelings, feelings of failure, defeat and life generally going awry. It isn’t that they lacked purpose but I feel that at this point they fulfilled their purpose too well. I wrapped up 2018 dealing with all that muck and addressing why and how I had reached a point where I was so miserable with the direction my life was going that I took drastic action.

Part of my personal code of ethics is the belief that ‘I am the greatest common denominator in my life,’ which simply means that if life isn’t going the way I like then I need to take a long hard look at myself. It is my life (it begins and ends with me), I set the guidelines, boundaries and parameters of my existence. If I am miserable then the only person I can blame is me. I create the life I want and I can’t do that if I am holding onto those things whose purpose in my life is now defunct or never benefited me.

I have decided that this year I am going to stop undervaluing myself, my talents/gifts, and I am going to pursue my dreams. It is never too late!

2). Build Upon Successes

In my case, since last year was kind of a bust, those successes were fairly mundane. My successes are going to be counted as revelations and things that went right, those intangibles such as lessons learned. I learned that you are never too old to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start over. I discovered my Personality Type (INTJ – MBTI) at the end of 2017/beginning of 2018, which was very eye-opening but not completely surprising, and allowed me to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I no longer see my paradoxical quirks as traits that need to be hidden but as superpowers to help me succeed.

My biggest success last year was the realization that I have everything I need to succeed at life already at my disposal. I just need to get back to basics, strengthen my foundation and start building the life I want.

3). Be Creative

Creativity is one of my foundations and whether you realize it or not it is also yours. We have been taught to think that Creativity is synonymous with being Artistic, when they are actually two separate entities. You create your unique life everyday with the decisions you make, what you believe in and who and what you allow into your life and why. We sometimes forget that we are a creative force and we (and by extension, our life) can become stagnate. We become dissatisfied and that dissatisfaction is a catalyst that causes us to shake things up, try something new, shake off the dust and cobwebs and quicken our lives. We are a constant work in progress, always striving to be a better version.

This ability to create the life we want, our best version of our self, presents us with opportunities to find solutions to problems that arise. Creativity is a freedom and fearlessness to try new things, see new perspectives, take risks/set goals, learn from set backs/failures. There is a playfulness to Creativity because it is about the process/experience and not the result/outcome, which actually helps you to find solutions to problems in an abstract (out of the box) manner. We have all heard the adage, “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, yet expecting different results” this perfectly sums up that creative stagnation. Switch things up, try something new and revisit the problem later with a fresh perspective.

4). Set Goals

One of the things I realized about myself last year is that I am a future planner, which is a great thing but means that I often find myself unable to get that proverbial ball rolling. I stall out, get stuck in research/planning mode or busy work that could and should be delegated. I rock the “grand (all encompassing) master plan.” I suck at small achievable goals and delegation and more often than not means someone else starts calling the shots because I have distracted myself with the obsessive details of my plan for the future.

This year I plan on working on that small goal/ delegation aspect that isn’t my strong suit. I have even asked for help from those that excel in this department. I now have monthly goals, yearly goals and that grand 2-5 year master goal and I actually have hope that I will reach that master plan without getting sidetracked or overwhelmed with all the small stuff and misdirected focus.

I also discovered last year that I have a rigid focus that sometimes hinders progress. I need to be more flexible if I want to achieve my goals. Get out of my head and out of my way. Determination is great but I need that flexibility to navigate through Life’s little hiccups.

5). Be Happy by Finding Joy

My Grandmother used to always say: ‘Happiness is fleeting but Joy is everlasting.’ I honestly never understood this until a few years ago after my Grandmother’s death. Happiness is a tangible, circumstantial experience and Joy is an intangible, permanent source. In a nut shell…Happiness is usually tied to a person, place or thing and when that changes so do our feelings of happiness.

I am going to use my grandmother as an example: my grandma always brought a great deal of happiness to my life. She discovered my artistic talents and from that moment on I went to the Estelle Seymour Art Studio almost every Saturday morning with her (from the age of 3 until I was almost 20; she being an artist as well). We went on vacations together, I even lived with her when my father and I got into an argument one year. I learned a lot from my grandma and with her in my life I always felt loved, heard, encouraged and inspired. Happiness is fleeting.

Upon grandma’s death a source of happiness disappeared. I can no longer run to her house when my life gets hard for her words of wisdom, comforting hugs and homemade chicken and dumplings. Gone, are summer days at the cabin picking blueberries and making up silly songs over campfire s’mores or splashing in the lake. No more lazy winter days knitting or painting to fill the long hours. No more creating artworks just to make her smile. Those days are gone and although I have memories those memories can make me sad.

However, they also bring me Joy. Grandma may be physically gone but her memory is alive and well. She may have made my life better while she was alive but she also shaped the person I am today. She still influences how I navigate life. She taught me skills that I still utilize. She unearthed talents I probably wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise. Me utilizing those skills and talents is a way that I can honor her and it brings me joy to do so. I am sad that she is gone but I have an abundance of Joy surrounding the realization that she had such a profound impact on my life.

I don’t know what 2019 will bring, but I guess it really doesn’t matter. I don’t think setting and or keeping New Year Resolutions matter that much. I think it is more important to really want to improve upon what you are and have already accomplished and constantly tweak that to make it and yourself a better version year after year. Strengthen those foundations and thrive. What 5 things would you do differently in 2019 based on what worked and didn’t work in 2018?

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