Thursday, January 1, 2015

Of Resolutions & Rituals, Purges, Goals, & Owls

I truly love this time of year. New Year is my absolute favorite holiday, and I have various rituals associated with it. I thought I’d share them with you; I really believe in their power and efficacy—and my wish for all of you for 2015 is empowerment and effectiveness.

At the end of the post, I’ll be sharing my usual special offer to celebrate New Year.

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is a year of creative growth and forward motion for us all.

Wordy Bird’s New Year’s Rituals (live and uncut)

1. The Great Office-Studio Purge

This is a must. I do have a lovely room in which to work and create, but it does get rather out of hand, especially toward Christmas, and especially when I have a major creative project underway. Ok, it’s shocking and I'm (sort of) embarrassed, but I'm determined to keep it real here and I have promised a few people some before and after shots. Nobody's perfect, and life can get in the way of good intentions, but this is why you should look forward to and embrace the Purge. (But then, I have read that many creative people tend to do better work in chaotic spaces...)

Exquisite chaos, extreme shame.

Phoebe can't believe it either.

Nine-year-old me, who kept her books 
categorized and neat, would be incensed!

 You never know what you'll find...

The palette I've been looking for for ages. 
A terribly important magnetic Z.

Expect the chaos to get exponentially worse before it gets better.

There’s nothing like purging and starting the year with a tidy, clutter free, clean space. It feels fantastic. 

Organized by favorites, non-fiction, books
by friends, books I use for teaching, and "other."
Nine-year-old me would be proud. 
Phoebe is speechless.

I must have done a good job because my daughter just walked in and frowned. "It's too clean in here," she said. "Where's your real office?" Don't worry, sweetheart, it'll be back before you know it. 

Shame above me! I couldn't reach. Or face up to
getting rid of any books, if truth be told.

2. The Sublime Setting of the Goals

We all know that resolutions beg to be broken and can be rather self-defeating. I’m a HUGE advocate, however, of concrete goal-setting. I believe in writing goals down and keeping them close at hand. In my opinion, it’s the best kick starter to define what you want to achieve, hold yourself accountable, and actually get stuff done.   

I usually reassess my goals around midyear. There’s nothing wrong with reassessment and a shift in priorities; in fact, to not reassess your goals is folly. Situations change, unexpected opportunities arise, and so sometimes you need to shift course before you crash and burn. And note I said “reassess” and “shift,” not lower. Never lower you expectations. Big goals, even if they seem outside the realm of the possible, will keep you focused and take you further than lower expectations. Big goals must, of course, be broken into smaller discrete goals, stepping stones to the big one.

When making my annual goals, I find the following categories helpful as a launching point: health/fitness, relationships, financial, career, spiritual/philosophical/personal growth, creative. Again, I highly recommend avoiding resolutions in favor of making concrete goals with deadlines. That gets the subconscious working out possible steps to achieving them on time.


I resolve to make a lot more new art this year.  

I will complete my new portfolio by April 15th.

And, yes, this is an actual one from my list.

Another goal I have is to see a snowy owl, up close, this year. I took this a few days ago with my phone... through a telescope. 

So close to success, but so far...Again. The snowy owl is my feathered white whale. Ok, so some goals are somewhat dependent on factors outside your control. But I can control how often I go birding and just how hard I’m willing to work to see the snowy. And you can do the same for your goals. No excuses!

3. The Fresh Fancy Journal

I use this each day to list my tasks and goals for the day, and it’s satisfying to tick them off one by one, have a record of what I’ve achieved, and get a lot done. So before New Year, I buy a high quality, beautiful journal. It takes me ages to choose usually, but my lovely daughter gave me this perfect one for Christmas. I write my year’s goals in the first few pages, so they are always at hand.

4. First Dawn

No matter how I celebrate New Year’s Eve itself, I always get up to watch the year’s first sunrise. (This morning it was well below freezing and I’d only had three hours sleep, but First Dawn was absolutely worth the numb nose and head-swimming fatigue.) 

Do you have special New Year rituals? I’d love to hear what they are and how you feel about goals and resolutions.

As I always do at this time of year, and in the spirit of making goals and keeping deadlines, I’m offering 20% off editing services contracted and deposit paid by January 31st, 2015. Editing services include: developmental editing, copyediting and proofreading, critiques, and writing instruction. Contract start can be on a future date, as long as it is by September 1st, 2015. Contact me: wordybirdie AT

Wishing you a wonderful 2015.