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  • Writer's pictureSarah Donkin

So this is the new year...

We all know how New Year’s Eve goes. Champagne and glitter and New York crowds in the cold on the television. Promises you really want to keep, and resolutions you never plan to stick to. Chanting the final countdown together and midnight kisses.

January creeps by like a mouse in the attic that leaves before you figure out how to get rid of it. February is vibrant shades of blue and red, love and pain, freezing and melting over and over again.

By the end of it, the New Year’s Eve promises are carbon dioxide bubbling to the top of a glass of champagne and popping under the exposure to the real world. You keep them on file for next year - a built-in resolution to offer yourself next time the steady turning of the earth makes you think about the impermanence of life on it.

Or, you come back to them. Like your house, the one you wake up in the day after the party. You keep living in it. You leave sometimes, on short or long trips. You make a mess of it, leaving shoes piled up by the door and dishes next to the sink. But slowly, steadily, you keep cleaning it up.

Here’s the obligatory New Year’s post. I wasn’t going to do it. I didn’t feel like talking about my goals, or how 2019 went. In fact, I had a different blog post all set to go, prepared in advance earlier this month.

But there’s a reason so many people talk about ending the year and beginning another.

There’s a part of us that looks for change. Not just change, but improvement. The new year is not the reason for the changes - it’s just an opportunity to try to believe that you can change. Similarly, doesn’t mark the end of the goals you’ve been working on for the past year or more - it’s just a chance to look back and celebrate how far you’ve come.

But don’t make resolutions just because everyone else thinks you should. I’ve made some big changes to my life at different points. I started eating healthier. I took up weightlifting. I dedicated myself to daily writing habits. I am trying to stop putting pressure on myself over hobbies and let myself just enjoy things without worrying about being good at them right away.

None of these changes happened because someone else thought I should make them. They happened because I was ready. It’s hard to define how, but it certainly wasn’t through self-hatred. In fact, I would say I made most of these changes through self-love, and because I wanted to make them, not just because I felt like I should.

You can change your life in a day. You can change your life hundreds of times in a year. The changes will stick when you’re ready.

And a failed “resolution” does not mean the effort was useless. If you resolve to learn an instrument and only know three chords by the end of the year, you still know three more chords than you did at the beginning - sometimes, that’s enough to play a song.

I am looking at this new year not through resolutions, but through goals. My goals for 2020 are:

  • Continue to consistently lift weights and eat healthy food

  • Listen to more, different music - specifically, one new artist each week (#moremusic2020)

  • Read more (ideally a book each week, but that will probably vary)

  • Draft three novels

  • Learn enough to record a second EP

I am looking forward to seeing what life looks like at the end of 2020 (in some ways - in others, not so much). If you have goals or resolutions for 2020, I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Thanks for reading, and see you in February!

- Sarah

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