A different take on New Year’s resolutions

A different take on New Year’s resolutions

If you’re a long-time reader, you’ll know that I adopt a ‘word of the year’ at the start of each year, rather than draw up a long list of New Year’s resolutions or goals for the year ahead. I find that this approach is a lot more forgiving, but it also helps me to be more intentional about how I spend my time.

Thing is, while reflecting on 2017’s word of the year, I realised that the word slipped my mind by the time May rolled around, and I really had to dig deep to try and remember what my word was while doing some reflecting a couple of days ago. (Thankfully I wrote all about my word of the year and intentions for 2017 in a blog post, here). The word I chose absolutely describes the overall feeling of 2017, despite the fact that I completely forgot about my chosen word, not even half-way through the year!

I’ve been meditating on a new word for 2018 for the past two weeks or so, and there’ve been a few that have really stuck with me. Abundance was one of them, mainly because I’d love nothing more than an abundance of work, an abundance of family time, and an abundance of money this year. Carefree also came to mind, because underneath my desire for more work and more money lies a desire for financial security; a life free of stress and worry, and a feeling of being secure in all aspects.

After the realisation that I’d forgotten about my word of the year for 2017 a mere handful of months into the year, I knew that I had to approach this year’s word differently. I had to find a way to hold myself accountable throughout the year, and to come up with ways to encourage me to really live my word every single day. And that’s how I dreamt up the idea for #ProjectCREATE2018.

Along with my word of the year, I usually jot down a list of a few things I’d like to see, do, or achieve during the following year, and I realised that my list for 2018 features a lot of DIY-type projects and creative ideas – things like (finally) compiling an e-course or writing an e-book, putting paintbrush to canvas, and actually printing out some photographs and putting together a good, old-fashioned photo album. The best way to ensure that all these projects actually get done? Committing to doing one each month, and ticking them off my list one-by-one. And so I scrapped all the other words I’d picked out and pondered on, and settled for CREATE as my word of the year for 2018.

I’m the sort of person that enjoys learning and experiencing new things, so I think committing to a monthly project is a great way to ensure that I always have something fun to do and something to look forward to, and I think it will also force me to put down my phone, log off my social media accounts, and do something. Some of the things on my list tie in to my work, and others are simply for fun. Either way, I’m pretty excited for each and every single project on this list, and you can bet I’ll be blogging about each project and sharing more about them on social media, too (using the hashtag #ProjectCREATE2018, of course).

I hope you’ll follow along and that my little projects will inspire you to get creative and start your own projects, too! Here’s a breakdown of some of the projects I’ll be tackling in the next few months:

January – make our house a home

We moved into our home in October, but there are still a few unpacked boxes and it’s not quite as homely as I’d like (we don’t have any art up on the walls just yet, and we still haven’t replaced the couches we donated when we left Somerset West!) My goal for January is to finish unpacking, to set up my at-home office, and to finally make our little house a home.

February – paint

What many people don’t know (including my husband, who has never seen me draw or paint), is that I’m actually not a bad artist. I feel a bit vain saying (typing?) that out loud, but I even considered studying fine art at university. I had a huge love for art – I spent most of my evenings in high school sprawled out on the living room floor, drawing with charcoal or painting. And then I got a new art teacher while in Matric, and I started doubting myself and my abilities. Every single art work was picked to shreds, and the teacher in question would often erase parts of my art work and make changes to my works. I started feeling very insecure about my abilities, and my passion quickly fizzled out. It’s amazing how a teacher can really make or break you. Long story short, I haven’t picked up a pencil or paint brush since I was 18, but I’d really like to start painting again to see whether I can still do it. I’ve picked February as my month to paint, because my husband’s birthday is at the end of February and I think he’d really appreciate a painting done by me, especially considering the fact that he’s an artist. (Though I might be opening myself up to a whole new chapter of art critiquing!)

March – start ballet (again)

March is my birth month, so as a gift to myself, I plan on enrolling myself at a ballet school for adult lessons. I did ballet for 15 years, then suddenly gave up – literally overnight – when I was about 18 years old. I didn’t miss it for a long time, but for the past five or six years, I’ve had every intention of taking up ballet lessons again, but I keep putting it off. No more. Come March, I’ll be dusting off my ballet shoes, slipping into a leotard, and practising my plies once more.

April – put together an actual, physical photo album

I want to start printing out some of my favourite photographs and putting together a photo album so that I can flip through my best memories whenever I feel the need.

May – make a set of ceramic somethings

I’ve always loved doing pottery and painting ceramics, so I’ve decided to whip up a set of cups or plates or something that I can be proud of and use in my own home.

June – knit something

I love knitting, but I can’t knit anything in particular – other than really long scarves, if you know what I mean! My goal for June is to knit something that Beanie can actually wear during winter – a cosy jersey, a snug little hat, or simply a scarf if I’m really struggling!

July – start putting together my e-book or e-course

I’ve had an idea for an e-book or course floating around my head for a good two years now, and every year I promise myself that this is the year that I’ll finally do it – but I never seem to get round to doing it. I plan on setting aside a couple of hours each day during July to work on my e-book (or course), so that I can launch it in September 2018. I’m pretty excited for this one!

August – work on my Secret Project

This is another idea that’s been brewing for a good year or so, and although I can’t reveal much about it right now, I’ve got a rough outline of things to do during these next few months so that I can finally start with the project in August. Watch this space!

September – make pretty pillows for our couch

I love fabric painting, and I’ve wanted to learn how to sew for as long as I can remember. I plan on pulling out the paints (and the sewing machine, perhaps?) and making some new scatter cushions for the new season.

October – make my own jam

I don’t know what possessed me to put this one on the list, but hey – it sounds fun, right?

November – create a scrapbook for Bean

Most moms put together a baby book for their first baby, but then beat themselves up for never quite seeming to find the time to do a baby book for their subsequent babies. I am here to relieve you all of your shame, because I’m yet to create a baby book for Beanie – a whole five years later! This month, I’d really like to spend some time each evening putting together a page or two fo Beanie’s scrapbook, starting from the day he was born, all the way up to this point.

December – make our own Christmas gifts

Every year I have every intention of creating our own gorgeous Christmas gifts… but I always seem to run out of time. Hopefully having #ProjectCREATE2018 on the go will help me stay organised so we can finally get round to whipping up batches of Christmas cookies, flavoured gin, and homemade pasta sauces for our friends and family.

I’m actually really excited about the year to come, and I can’t wait to get started on each month’s project. I feel like setting these monthly projects for myself not only helps me to stay accountable, but will also ensure that I get to the end of 2018 having ticked a few seemingly unimportant tasks off my to-do-for-fun list. It’s so easy to get caught up in work and lose sight of all the fun, little things you’d like to do with your time – things that bring you joy and make you happy – so I’m hoping that this new way of doing resolutions (for me, at least) will help me to experience more fun, more creativity, and more happiness in 2018.