A new year and making resolutions for the new year feel like a fresh start to something, something great that you want to work towards. If I’d be completely honest making resolutions for the new year has never worked for me. Almost until the end of January or the very beginning of February, I tend to forget those resolutions and go back to the old ways of doing things and I am pretty certain that’s the case with most of us. There could be many reasons behind why it happens. If you are fond of making resolutions that will somehow radically change you, I’d like to argue, if you want to make a change you don’t need new years or new year’s resolutions to give you the permission to do so. In my opinion, all you need is your desire to make that change happen and bring it to life as if it was there since the beginning of time. Question is, how bad you want to make a change, that change happen?
Even thinking about ‘resolutions’ makes me feel anxious and too much pressure of ‘should’ statements on my shoulders and considering my rebel tendencies when I feel like I ‘should’ be doing something, I am more likely to resist and do the opposite instead or maybe not do anything about it at all and choose that its not for me.
When I sat down to reflect on the past year at the arrival of 2018 and to make some new promises that I want to make with myself and the people around me, instead of choosing to write resolutions I ended up choosing a word for the year, commitment. It was my first time ever choosing a word and theme for the year.
I was starting out this blog, experimenting with multiple things simultaneously (e.g. learning WordPress, designing my website, developing a personal brand and its identity, a YouTube Channel, a new Instagram account, a monthly newsletter and a lot more) and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life alongside learning Danish and settling down in Denmark. It felt right at the time to choose it as I was feeling quite lost and unable to choose a path from various promising yet confusing ones.
Choosing a word for 2018 worked very well for me. I was able to make a commitment to keep trying to figure things out. I was able to make a commitment to write to my Newsletter community every month consistently. I was committed to learning more. I was committed to making the very best out of the possibilities that lied ahead of me. Considering how well it worked for me last year I’m excited to share my word for 2019, what inspired me and what it means to me.
‘Daring Greatly’ had been lying on my bookshelf for months before I decided to finally pick it up at the beginning of December and give it a go. The reason why I was letting it rest there and not reading it wasn’t that I was unsure if it is going to work for me. I have listened to Brene Brown’s Ted Talk over and over again over the course of past few years and I knew deep down in my heart that if I do pick it up, I might have to change something, think afresh and sometimes you find yourself resistant to that change, comfortable in old ways but then something triggers and you start craving that change. Well, for now, let’s just say, I am glad that I picked it up.
It starts with a reference to this paragraph from the speech by Theodore Roosevelt
‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..’
This quote, it struck something deep in me and resonated on so many levels. I am finding myself short of words to describe the emotional bond I felt with his words. I have been there in the arena many times in my life but with time I taught myself to play safe and small, afraid of the spectator’s comments about how my efforts were not good enough.
I felt that intense craving for change when I found myself playing small over and over again. I had wonderful ideas and I was resisting sharing or bringing them to life. I was playing the hide and seek, the kind of hide and seek only webtroverts can play. I found myself struggling to get some attention and as soon as I got some, I went into hiding as if I was never there. But now, something has shifted for me and the desire to share those stories and ideas that I want to share is far greater than the desire to hide and keep playing small. If it was the other way around, this desire was supposed to be long gone by now after having this blog for more than a year and still wasn’t being able to publish almost any blog posts in 2018. I wrote more about this here.
In all honesty, I found myself craving for more and more. This deep aching desire has led me to choose ‘courage’ as my word for 2019.
I aspire to explore what it means to live a courageous life.
I’m feeling hopeful and curious to figure out ways how I can cultivate and practice courage in my work and life on a daily basis. Courage to show up as my raw, imperfect and vulnerable self and let myself be seen despite feeling afraid, choosing to focus on honing in my art and creative passions instead of being crippled by the fears – fear of failure, of being judged, ridiculed and of not being enough. I’m going to embrace self-compassion and approach my life and work from a place of worthiness. My version of daringly greatly at this season of life means doing the work in the best possible way I can, not quitting, keep going, keep believing in myself and not giving up on myself or on my dreams. Dreams that I have nurtured with love and care, dreams to live a creative life on my own terms, dreams to create art, dreams to build a sustainable business that would bring me joy and creative inner fulfillment and freedom.
I am going to approach living courageously from a place of understanding, understanding that there are no shortcuts to cultivating courage or to living a courageous life and it is more like a muscle that you build over time; the more you use it, the more it is going to be strengthened. Understanding that our fears don’t just disappear and they are an avoidable part of the creative journey.
Being courageous means simply to ask myself every single day, how can I be the bravest version of myself today?
It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary or something that would make me miserable or something that would become a stick to beat myself with. It could be something as simple as getting up in the morning, sitting down in front of my laptop, following through with my commitments even if it is scary or hard at times.
Other days it could simply mean picking up my paintbrush, standing in front of the canvas and exploring my inspirations and expressing them in ways that would bring me joy and not letting the self-doubt or imposter syndrome stand in my way to gain that creative fulfillment that I long for.
Living courageously could simply be giving myself permission to be a beginner and to make mistakes.
Practicing courage could be as simple as learning to say no to things that distract me from my path or doesn’t align with my values or saying no to should statements or to the things that either no longer serve me or the things I have outgrown or the things that don’t align with who I aspire to become as a person.
Practicing courage could simply mean saying yes to the ideas, projects, photographs, and paintings that I have been sitting on for a while and was too afraid to begin or saying yes to exciting new opportunities, new ideas, and new stories or to give myself permission to just explore, play and experiment.
Simply asking, what small steps can I take today to build a life that I am aching for?
This is going to be my version of daring greatly.
If choosing a word and a theme sounds like something you’d be interested in investing your time in, I want to encourage you to allow yourself to experience a different approach and here are my thoughts on choosing the word for the year.
Picking a word for your year doesn’t need to be hugely complicated or hard. While reading this post, you probably already have a rough idea of what your word is.
I encourage you to take a pause and reflect on what you want more or less of in the coming year?
Dig deep in your answers to this very question and allow yourself to explore what feels right for you in whichever season of life you are in.
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