Thursday Thirteen - 259 - 13 Ways to Meet the New Year

by Julia Phillips Smith

1 - Rather than making resolutions, I find a similar but more powerful way of meeting the new year is to name the year. This tradition is observed by my writer friends Chris Szego and Charlene Roberts from Toronto, and when I was there for Christmas in 2010, they told me they'd named the upcoming year of 2011 the Year of Intention. I totally went with that, and by year's end I was a debut novelist and an out-of-hibernation director.

2 - Conversely, if the current year has not been to your liking, why not symbolically say 'See ya!' to all that didn't work out for you? Hold a little ceremony and let it go. Write what you'd like to disappear on a piece of paper, make it into a little boat and send it off in a flaming viking funeral. Give it a horrible shredding accident. Run it over with the car. Whatever makes you feel good.  

3 - Why wait for spring cleaning? A cleansing of your work space or home environment might be the sort of thing to kick-start your creativity. Who knows - you might find some extra change...

4 - Have you been making-do with equipment that is in serious need of repair or replacement? Is your monitor chugging along with diagonal green lines where the black is supposed to be? Perhaps Boxing Day sale fliers aren't just for recycling. Check out the sales and gear up.

5 - Are you the sort of person who starts a new year with gusto and then runs out of steam/inspiration/plain old interest by March? Pacing might be a place to start. Likely, a sprint is not your answer. Set a realistic pace and keep going, even when all you want to do is stop.

6 - You may lose patience when you can't do it all with mastery all at once. In this case, remind yourself that once upon a time, you didn't know how to tie your shoe laces. Tackle your new projects with respect and allow yourself the setbacks that come with learning.

7 - If you're the sort of person who measures yourself by the accomplishments of your peers, ask yourself why you persist in this if it holds you back. If team sports is not your thing, there are lots of long-distance-runner markers you can use instead of trying to be 'as good as' or 'better than'.

8 - However, some people do perform better when there are others to motivate. For example, if you have been unable to get that story from nebulous idea to a working project, maybe you need to find critique partners to work with. Having a set meeting schedule with chapters due can be a real help.
9 - Maybe you begin each new year with the Undo-able List. You know the one I mean: the one with so many things on it, only a professional production company of fifty could hope to pull it off in twelve months. There's a difference between a lifetime bucket list and your list for 2013. Take a realistic look at your plans for the year. Maybe get someone you trust to have a look at it. If they laugh hysterically, consider wiping 3/4 of your intentions off the list.

10 - Perhaps what's been eating at you is the sense that all of your previous intentions have been for naught. I would highly suggest taking some time to make an inventory of all the amazing things you've done. You'll surprise and inspire yourself--I promise you.

11 - Some people find it overwhelming to break down a big project into the smaller steps necessary to pull it off. If this sounds like you, maybe you need a second set of eyes to look at the bigger picture. Perhaps they can help you figure out a starting point. It's kind of hard to follow the yellow brick road if you can't find it in the first place.

12 - Many people feel a real need to shake up the ordinary as the old year passes away and the new year arrives. Is there something that scares you? Challenges you? The adrenaline rush of taking on these challenges is a great way to embrace 2013.

13- Have you had to say a final farewell to a loved one this year? Did that spark a strong urge to stop saying 'some day' to a cherished dream? Let their legacy be the permission you need to finally do what it is you've been putting off. 

Photo by Helen Tansey

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  1. Such a wonderful list, and I definitely can relate to #13. I hope you have a blessed 2013!

  2. I always love reading your posts, Julia! They're thought provoking.

  3. I kept thinking oh, that's true. Need to print, mull and select.

  4. What a great post, Julia. This feels like you were speaking directly to me:

    "You know the one I mean: the one with so many things on it, only a professional production company of fifty could hope to pull it off in twelve months"

  5. Great post. You have really spring up my spirit to face 2013 with confident. Very inspiring. Have a great 2013.

  6. Great stuff. I always do #2. I write down all the things I want to get rid of from the past year, put it in a bowl and light it on fire, sending it off in the universe far away. :) There's something primal about it that makes it feel permanent.


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