Shaking off the cobwebs


2016001So after three months of crazy work hours, I’ve come up for air and – holy cow! – it’s 2016!

I know this is a little late, but I wanted to share my annual practice of saying goodbye to the year that has passed and launching myself into the new one with some well chosen make-my-heart-sing goals. Every year, I approach this process a little differently. This year, there are three parts to it, and I really wanted to share them because all three are fun and affirming and, really, who doesn’t need more fun and affirmation in their life?

The first thing I did I actually do every year, and that’s to make a list of my accomplishments. Each time, I approach the list with a little dread, certain that it’s going to disappoint me. I come to the task with a head full of things I intended to do but didn’t, and it’s hard to see around that pile of shit unmet expectations. But I do it anyway, and every year, my list is longer that I thought it would be, and filled with things I’ve forgotten – little wins, new skills, mini-epiphanies and big ones too.

If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend it. Sit down with your old to-do lists, or notebooks, or project maps (I have all three), and take stock. I suspect you’ll surprise (and impress) yourself.

The next part of my process is something new. I stole it from my friend Andrea Lewicki, who is crazy smart and wildly creative. She posted on Facebook the list of things she “left behind – on purpose – in 2015.” Her list included things like, heels, and waiting, and lipstick, and days without dancing.” It was simple and beautiful and funny and oh-so-powerful, at least to me. I immediately made my own list of things I would purposefully leave behind in 2015. I wrote ten things on my list, but one of the most important was this: the phrase “real artist,” as in “I’m not a…” You would be amazed at how often that phrase comes out of my mouth, almost always to indicate the difference between me and someone I see as more talented, trained, experienced, successful than I am.

It’s stupid.

And it is no more.

I wrote out my list, and in a perfect backyard burning ceremony with family and friends, I dropped it into the fire, letting all those worn out, ill fitting beliefs and habits burn. (A typed version of the list is saved on my computer so I can remind myself if necessary.)

The third part of my year-end practice has been to create a list of new habits (to replace the ones I burned away). I got this idea from Leonie Dawson’s Create Your Shining Life/Biz workbook. About making the list, she writes this:

What joyful, nourishing and centering habits would you like to cultivate during 2016? Don’t worry about how hard it is to form habits… Some days we might do all of them. Most days we’ll only get to some… It’s not about perfection or failure. It’s about reminding ourselves of the sacred toolkit of activities we have available to us.

I like the phrase “sacred toolkit.”

Here’s my list:

  1. First-ish thing each morning, write down my three most important tasks of the day.
  2. Set a weekly just-for-me art goal.
  3. Yoga every workday.
  4. Be grateful. (There’s a Jason Isbell song I love that goes, “You should know, compared to people on a global scale our kind has had it relatively easy.” Amen. I think of that often as I try to be more grateful.)
  5. Meditate.
  6. Every day, do these two things at least: make something and help someone. Every. Day.

And that’s it! My 3-part launch into the new year. I have some very specific business goals to write up, but I won’t you bore you with those here. (You’re welcome!)

I hope your transition to the new year has been celebratory and mostly smooth. Sending you all big love and high hopes for 2016.