We all want to set goals and cultivate better habits. While there’s definitely arguments re: the arbitrariness of January 1st, every year it rolls around and every year we keep wanting to make progress on renewed aspirations.
The reality? We hit snooze, make excuses and waste time. Or maybe that’s just me. Last year I accomplished some things and failed at others, but staring down the barrel of 2019 I’m keen to have a more light-hearted approach. Inspired by Gretchen Rubin, I’ve created my ‘19 for 2019’, a gentle list of things it’d be nice to achieve. Some are easy, others ongoing, but rather than be intimidated by the impending year this list will hopefully encourage growth while being forgiving when life gets in the way. 2019 is hard to predict for myself, so this framing allows for a more flexible approach than strict resolutions do. Screw productivity, this year it’s about the incremental things.
In no order, here’s my 19 for 2019:
Meditate, journal & sweat everyday. This has been my ideal morning routine for the past year. Have I done these three things every morning? Absolutely not, but each activity adds pretty noticeable value, so I’ll keep dang trying. Meditation focuses my mind (currently using Waking Up, but love Calm), journalling helps process emotions and getting my heart pumping daily is - unfortunately - important. Fine.
Do yoga twice a week. Because stretching feels nice. Twice a week is surely a low enough bar.
Get a good haircut. One that flatters my face so I don’t always resort to tying my hair up.
Volunteer. Even just for one day, I hope to give some of my time to a good cause.
Have photography published in print. I love making photographs and would love to have some living physically in print by the end of the year. Hopefully editorials or documentary work.
Read 25 new books. I set the goal of 20 in 2018, which I only just managed but enjoyed keeping track of. I’m a lot less busy now than this time last year, so 25 should be a breeze.
Learn InDesign & Photoshop. It’d be nice to open these programs without getting overwhelmed by all the freakin’ buttons.
Go to ten gigs. Music is fantastic. Live music is fantastic-er. Even the small, dungeon-y gigs will count, ten is just a number I made up for encouragement.
Publish writing once a week. My biggest creative ambition for the 2019. This post will count as #1 (yes, I’m starting two weeks into the year. Better late than never). Despite doubting my talents and whether I have anything worthwhile to say, I want to write more. This only happens through practice, so whether here on my personal site or via Medium I’m planning to publish new writing every week. Putting this system into place means that by the end of the year I will be a better writer, at least more so than before writing 50 pieces of work. The payday for my words may be non-existent, but the personal benefits (a reason to practice, a deadline, 50 chances to put ideas into the world) will boost my skills, audience and ‘identity capital.’
Attend a photography / creative conference. Will be a fun way to engage with the creative community and learn more about the industry.
Cook one new meal every month. Oh, to be able to cook 12 full new meals! Current kitchen definitely routine needs some TLC. And they can’t all be pasta.
Publish a second zine. The process of creating my first was delightful, and I’m planning to have another out soon. Watch this space, just not too closely.
Host a board game night with friends. Always fun.
Travel to one new country. I used to want to travel often and see as many countries as possible, so only wanting to visit one new country would’ve been under-ambitious to my 20yo self. Yet my attitude towards travel changed when I realised you don’t (!) get a medal on your deathbed for having been to the most places. So I’ve been to Thailand. Yes? I’ve spent a few weeks of my life in Spain. And? What did I really do? Wisdom doesn’t come from going places for travels’ sake or fleeing the ordinary for indulgence abroad. I still think highly of travel, but want to do it intentionally i.e. to fully unplug, to photograph something I couldn’t elsewhere, to see someone, to learn. You can’t conflate meaning with checking off boxes on a bucket list, so this year when I travel I hope to have a purpose behind it.
Delete social media for a month. I de-stress just thinking about a phone free of apps.
Stop hoarding internet tabs. You’ll never read those articles, let them go! Perhaps a tab purge every week?
Be vegan for a month. Managed three weeks last year before halloumi got the best of me. Time to try again.
Move. When, where, with who? All a mystery.
Be more experimental with music. It’s fortunate that music isn’t distracting when editing photos, meaning there’s time to embrace unfamiliar genres rather than cycle the same things on repeat as I tend to do. I want to sing to myself more, stop caring about what people think, and if I’m really feeling the beat - just let loose. Life’s too short not to dance n’ all that.
Bonus: Take at least one surf lesson. Bonus bonus: go to an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet.
Coming up with this list was fun, and I’m keen to look back on it in 11 months. Some things are enjoyable (i.e. 8, 13, 14, 19), some can be done in one day (i.e. 3, 10), and some are ongoing (i.e. 1, 6, 7, 9, 16) but I’m confident they’ll all make my life a little happier and more fulfilled in some way. I’m not hoping to magically transform myself this year - or any year - but resolve to be making progress. Because if not now, when?
Here’s to 2019 x