It’s not that I don’t like resolutions. I think resolutions are great. I make them on a regular basis. I’m all about self-improvement and transformation, recognizing your faults and actively working to change them.
What I’ve never been a fan of are New Year’s Resolutions. First of all, I don’t understand why you should wait until January 1st to change something. If it bugs you on November 12th, start then. Also, this whole idea of imposing a laundry list of demands and expectations on yourself, all beginning on that same magical date, seems to be setting you up for failure. Really, on the same day you’re going to start reading more, acting with compassion, establishing an exercise routine, starting a diet, becoming a vegetarian, switching careers, studying for the LSAT, learning a language, creating a meditation practice (or whatever is on your list)?
So the New Year’s Resolution thing never stuck with me. I favor a more organic gradation of implementation.
But what I do like about starting a new year is the blank page.
Maybe this speaks to the writer in me. Maybe it speaks to the artist in me, who favors visible, tangible manifestations of metaphors. It’s a new calendar; it’s a blank calendar. I remember, back before the iPhone, when I would go and get a new day planner for the year. It was always so beautifully blank. It was blank, like a blank Microsoft Word document, waiting for you to write your story upon it. Day upon empty day, month after empty month, waiting for the story and for you.
Because the wonderful thing about writing your own story is that you also get to pick the characters. You get to pick, most importantly of all, the role that you will play. Sometimes we forget how easy it can be to transform ourselves, especially externally. And I am a strong believer that external transformation, unlike trickle down economics, really does, well, trickle in. It’s simply impossible for you to be the same person after you’ve shaved your hair, or gone blonde, or become a pixie.
Get contacts. Get a new pair of glasses. Buy a new shade of lipstick. It’s really the little things that become big things.
This type of styling isn’t inauthentic. It’s not irrelevant. It’s actually fairly monumental.
First decide who you want to be — and then figure out what that person looks like.
Maybe you want a little Marilyn Monroe sashay? Go blonde, buy a push-up bra and a white dress. No need for Halloween exaggeration. You may be the only person who knows what’s going on, but you’re the only one who matters.
Want to add a little mystery? Go for an Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction meets Louise Brooks black bob, perhaps a pair of red heels and some skinny pants. Again, no one else has to know.
As you channel these icons into your own personality, as you pick and choose the bits you want to complement your own identity, you’ll find it sticks. You can change yourself. But sometimes you have to go from the outside in.
And once you’ve figured out who you want to be, the next step is surrounding yourself with the people and the projects that will fill up those empty pages of your very own story. Remember, you’re writing your way to December.
Happy New Year.