Beyond resolutions: 3 questions for a more fulfilling, creative new year

My mom loved to say, every day is a new day. In other words, you don’t have to wait for a new year or month or Monday to start over. But a new year feels like the right time to start fresh, especially if you’ve had a rough year. You have 12 whole months ahead of you to create the life you REALLY want. Only problem is, how are you going to get there?

Many people make resolutions. You might be great at resolutions. Not me. It sets me up for failure. I’ve tried some very elaborate new year “plans” that included complicated Excel spreadsheets, heavy reading, and lots of time I didn’t have. But inevitably, I fell off the resolution wagon and ended up right back where I started.

That’s why I prefer to look at the new year as time to “get my house in order.” I simply ask myself three simple questions that help me find alignment personally and professionally. No spreadsheets required. All you need is a little quiet time to sit and think, without interruption. Maybe a journal or sketch pad, too.

Here goes:

1. What do I long for? Beyond things, this question is meant to get at the heart of what’s missing in your life. Think about this past year, and remember the times when you were depleted, sad or angry. What prevented you from going to your creative work? What made you overeat or shop compulsively? Many times, below the surface of those actions, are feelings looking for a voice, needs that are not being met. What is it that you long for this year?

2. How can I fulfill that need? Will it require schooling? Will you need to make travel arrangements? Start saving money? Make a list of actions you can take. This is brainstorming, not a “To Do” list. This is your chance to list everything that you could possibly do or need to fulfill a dream, achieve a goal, right a wrong, or just feel better. Pick one action that you can realistically do this month to get started. Decide how often you will come back to this list to choose another action. Put it on your calendar. Then show up.

3. How will I know I’ve succeeded? This is the most important part. How will you know you’ve succeeded if you haven’t defined what that looks like? It could be as simple as “When I take that trip to France.” It could be a feeling: “When I can be alone and not feel lonely.” Or, “When I commit time to my creative work every day.” And be sure to celebrate that success.

How about you? What do you do to prepare for the new year? Do resolutions work for you? Inquiring, creative minds would like to know. Wishing you all a new year filled with possibilities, hope and creativity. 🙂

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