I use the entire month of January to think about my resolutions/goals for the new year (honestly, there's just no time in Dec!). I hear on the radio that people are already failing at the resolutions they set. Not me! I haven't even started! I love it! My plan for 2014 was my favorite so far. I've even designed a brand new hashtag for it! I'll share the details in just a moment.
photo source here
There are many supporters of New Year's resolutions. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, Happier At Home, and her newest Better Than Before, is a big supporter of resolutions. She has a useful post here about resolutions, where she mentions "If my happiness and habits research has convinced me of anything, it has convinced me that resolutions – made right – can make a huge difference in boosting happiness". Resolutions can boost happiness? Interesting. The key, as she points out, is doing them "right", making them meaningful and realistic.
Then I found this article on Forbes.com, entitled "Forget New Year Resolutions - Dream Audaciously". The writer, Henna Inam, tells about reading a couple books where the authors made long lists of goals to accomplish in their lives. She used that inspiration to come up with three ways to "dream audaciously", instead of making New Year resolutions. This method involves making a list of wishes, creating a vision board, making a daily practice, and finding people to support you. It's a very inspiring article.
While these are both brilliant ideas, I had to come up with my own way to set resolutions/goals that I felt would be achievable, while still challenging me. I'm getting smarter as I get older (thank goodness). I used to make big plans, write out long lists, and spend hours researching ways to accomplish my goals. When it came time to executing these goals, however, I was a less energetic and found numerous ways to avoid getting started. Before I knew it, the year was almost over and I'd resolve to start again the next year. Can you say over-achiever, under-executer? Ya, that used to be me.
After doing that for a few years, I decided to not have any resolutions. Why cause myself to feel badly? How about just striving to be better in little ways all year long? It wasn't a bad idea. I mean, at least I knew I wasn't going to fail. The problem was that it just didn't hold me accountable. I happen to be the type of person that needs a little bit of pressure to get things done.
So in 2014, I decided I would do #3bravethings
I didn't know what they would be or when they would happen. I just knew that by the time I reached December 2014, I would have accompished 3 BRAVE THINGS. Guess what? It worked! And it wasn't hard! It was fun. Here are the #3bravethings I did in 2014:
1. Participated in my first Art Show
I've been torn for years about doing an art show. Do I want to make prints, have an inventory, stand there all day? What if no one comes? What if I sell nothing? Fear. Yes. That is why it was a brave thing. I decided to just do it anyway and be content with the fact that I was accomplishing a brave thing, even if no one did stop by or purchase anything.
What happened at the art show was that I talked with many of the other artists that day and made new friendships. I spoke to people walking through that were enjoying their day or had questions. My husband and kids stopped by and my kids saw me as an artist, not just a mom. I even sold several pieces.
2. Got a Meaningful Tattoo
You might be saying "Ouch!" and you'd be correct. Tattoos are art and many are so beautiful. If you ask people with tattoos, most of them have a story behind each one. Some stories they will share, others are private. I had been thinking about getting another tattoo for a while (I have a Mickey Mouse also), but wanted to make sure it was exactly what I wanted. I have a Pinterest board called Beautiful Ink that has all my inspiration. It took me several months to come up with just the right design and words. I used inspiration from three sources and hand-drew part of it myself, while the tattoo artist drew the rest.
Here is my tattoo story.
The words: Art, Music, & Love
Art is my obvious passion in life. I tend to infuse creativity in all that I do. I seek out colors, patterns, and inspiration everywhere I go. Music is a constant in my life and I rarely go without (right now I have Soundscapes music channel playing on the TV because all the talking on the Today show was too distracting). I use music for inspiration, mood boosting, relaxing, and watching live concerts. I love making playlists! Love is my how I want to live my life. I spent years feeling angry, sad, resentful, etc. All the yucky feelings. Loving others is huge therapy right there. Within our family of five, marriage and parenting has taught me so much about unconditional love. It's easier to love others than to be angry and it's so easy when you think about it: smiling, offering to hold the door, writing a kind note, walking the dog, making date night a priority, helping a friend, calling someone instead of texting, giving people compliments, being optimistic online, etc.
The symbol is a two-part design.
The Om sign symbolizes peace to me. My favorite definition is here: The "Om" represents the four divine states of Brahman - metta (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upekkha (equanimity). I spent many years chasing some unknown perfection, the future, and just more in general. I didn't know what I was searching for. I'm finally learning to slow down, enjoy the present moment, and life in the now. I found my church at yoga. I finally felt close to God, found a deeper peace than I'd ever felt, and understood what I was searching for.
The Celtic Triad symbol has a variety of meanings, based on your heritage and/or beliefs. The meanings I associate with it are strength, and the trio of body-mind-spirit. I found an image that included the swirly designs with it, so I chose that one.
The tattoo artist, Steve from 138 Tattoo, helped me put the images together to form one. He also hand-drew the lettering for the words. The finished tattoo ended up a lot bigger than I initially planned on, but it's grown on me and I really like it. It is meaningful art to me.
3. Rode 50 miles in a Cycling Event
My husband has been an avid cyclist for years, but it wasn't until about 3 years ago that I started riding too. The problem was that he was much stronger and faster than I was, so it was "challenging" to ride together sometimes : ) Fortunately, I found a women's riding group in town and a small trio of us (that were new and slower) started riding together in 2013. Last spring, I joined the "big girl ride" (that's what we call the main group that rides 20-25 miles weekly). They rode at a faster pace than I was ready for in 2013. I was told that the key is to start training with them in the early spring, when everyone is a little slower from winter. So that's what I did in the spring of 2014. . . and I loved it! It was challenging, fast, and thrilling. I also rode two other days per week with a friend or alone to keep up my training.
The annual Cap2Cap Bike Ride was coming up in May and several of us wanted to do it. The route options are 25, 50, or 100 miles. I signed up for 50 miles, even though I'd never ridden that far. On the morning of the ride, I found two other ladies that I recognized and we rode it together.
50 miles, baby! I did it!
The idea is that we challenge ourself to do something that stretches our comfort zones, try something new, or do that thing you think you can't do. Tattoos, cycling, and art shows may not be your thing and that's okay. Find your thing. If you don't know what that is right now, no worries. Like I said, I didn't know what my #3bravethings were going to be, but I accomplished all three by May! When the opportunities arose, I said "YES", instead of "I'll think about it".
Are you ready to do #3bravethings in 2015? I'm in if you are.
In case you're not familiar with hashtags:
Post online about your progress with 3 Brave Things. At the end of each post, add the hashtag: #3bravethings. If you do a search for this hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you can see everyone's posts about their #3bravethings.
Can't wait to hear about it! We got this! <3