I’m not sure if you noticed, but 2018 is over! I almost didn’t notice, since I slept through midnight. Apparently the three hour time difference between PST and my native EST is too great for me to overcome. Inspired by my lazy entrance into the New Year, I’ll start my 2019 newsletters a day late.
2018 was a wacky year filled with great successes and equally great setbacks. This brought upon tremendous growth. For one of the first times in my life, I feel content with who I am as a person. That’s not to say I couldn’t work out more or couldn’t use my phone less or could stop going to Taco Bell four (4) times a week, but I don’t feel compelled to make specific goals for myself this year. I’ve found that some of the most valuable changes to my life have come from setting a general intention (“try to be more outgoing” or “try to not make it obvious that you’re so incredibly good looking”) rather than creating numeric goals with specific steps.
This radical idea goes against conventional wisdom. According to every career-readiness course I’ve been forced into, it’s impossible to accomplish anything without having SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound). These goals can really be effective if you do them right! At the same time, these goals are also restrictive and can create a lot of additional stress. When I think about the ways that I want to improve my life, usually I’m focusing on intangible things or who I want to be as a person. Beyond the struggle of making something like “being mega-cute” actionable, creating metrics makes it easy to lose track of why I’m doing something in the first place. As cool as it theoretically seems to be mega-organized and systematic about improving my life, I know that I can find organic ways to improve through my intentions, without feeling like I’m living my life like it’s a corporate job.
So what are my intentions for 2019? I want to be more outgoing since the people I meet are what make life special. I want to find greater depth in everything I do since there’s no satisfaction in the superficial. I want to be more adventurous because I want to live my life more fully. I want to be enthusiastic about everything I do, to inspire myself and others. And lastly, I want to create more. In my mind, creating in all forms is intrinsically tied to happiness and life satisfaction. I spend a lot of time making things (newsletters, illustrations, designs, etc.) but I always have more ideas that I never follow through on. I want to spend more time on those.
My approach to doing all of these things is based on a general mindfulness about my every day actions. I want to create a habit of being aware of my actions and regularly checking in with myself, “why am I doing this?” Ideally, it will help me stop from reading Terry Crews’s Wikipedia page for the 12th time and make me more likely to make something or find ways to dive deeper into his life instead. We’ll see how it goes, but until then, I hope you have a Happy New Year!