Every year I make a long list of resolutions of things I want to improve on in my life. Whether it be in physical fitness, with my art, or in my personal life, I never reach my goals.
For the month of January, I struggle to juggle (ha.) all these commitments, February rolls around and some of them get left by the wayside, by March I’ve failed at accomplishing any of them and come April, I forgot I even made them.
Year after year, I set myself up for failure, creating lofty goals, failing, forgetting, and repeating this same pattern again and again. But this year I changed my approach.
Instead of making a specific goal (i.e. I want to run every day, I want to read X amount of books, I want to paint X amount of pictures, etc.), I made a more abstract goal that wasn’t “pass/fail”. This year, I decided I wouldn’t let fear dictate my actions.
Okay, first off, I’m fully aware that a little bit of fear is healthy. There’s something to be said about being cautious as this helps most of us to avoid doing anything too dangerous. I have sort of the opposite problem though. Rather than walking too close to the line of danger, I’m so far away from it that I can’t even see it (probably huddled in my bed reading books about people who actually do go on adventures). When I reflect on my life and the decisions I have made in the past few months, I’ve come to realize that I didn’t take a lot of chances or grasp a lot of opportunities simply because of fear.
I didn’t apply to jobs because I was afraid I wouldn’t get them, I didn’t sell any of my art online because I was afraid no one would buy it, I avoided picking up my camera because I was afraid I would fail. Instead of becoming my biggest advocate, I realized that I was standing in the way of my success. Even worse, I have a nagging thought that while many people may struggle with these issues, that this could be an issue related to the way our society raises women (more on that another time though).
So now, before saying no to something, I ask myself why I don’t want to do it. If fear is the only answer to that question, then I take a deep breath and try to approach whatever it is head on and with a positive attitude. So far in 2016, this mentality has lead me to do things like going for runs at nighttime, singing “Come on Eileen” at karaoke at a bar, doing things with my art I’ve never done before (i.e. I just made a vessel that has ovaries for handles - which I love!) and even something as simple as reading alone in a coffee shop. Oh, and of course, writing this blog post.
These may not seem like big things for most people, but I know that for me they are steps in the right direction. I may not be skydiving or going on blind dates, but the small things that I’ve done in spite of my fear are already leading me to be a more experienced, social, and confident person. And this makes me so incredibly excited for what the rest of the year has in store.