Hey ladies! Hope everyone had a fabulous holiday! We’re kicking off 2013 with a guest post from Lizzie from Lizzie Goes on how to stay true to those New Year’s resolutions. Get ready for some inspirational motivation from a girl who turned day dreams about traveling into a full time reality!
I love the door hinge that is the end of one year and the beginning of another – it serves as the perfect amount of space through which motivational messages and words of wisdom may squeeze into our consciousness and actually get heard.
The start of 2013 has been no different. There have been some great articles being passed around online about why we should quit our jobs, why we should travel, why we should start being the people we want to be. Second only to overpriced gym memberships, these grandiose delusions of changing our lives become the biggest ideas we could actually buy into.
But then January ends. And the gym clears out. And you go back to your job and your routine and your complaints and it isn’t too long before that nebulous idea of change goes back to being just that – something abstract and intangible and depressingly distant.
So how do we hold on? How do we keep from backsliding into the lives we haven’t been living?
Louisa May Alcott once said, I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. I usually try not to latch onto motivation quotes, because if you hear too many of them they can all start to ring hollow. But this one was a game changer when I first heard it for a three very important reasons.
First of all, I like this quote because Louisa May Alcott is a total lady bro. C’mon, you know you love Little Women. We all do. I have to assume Sex and the City is based off Alcott’s book – the original sisterly foursome that offers one prototype to which every girl can relate. We all think we’re a Jo, passionate and impossible to tame, when in reality we’re actually living our lives more like the responsible, (rather humorless in my opinion) Meg.
The second reason Alcott’s quote so moved me is because it establishes one basic truth to which we must all yield – life is full of storms. They are, as they say, a’comin. Batten down the hatches, ladies, because 2013 has a 100% chance of precipitation in the form of problems, conflicts and tears. Just like every other year of your life. Whatever changes you’re looking to make this year – whether it be a healthier lifestyle of diet and exercise, quitting your job and disappearing to Fiji, or anywhere in between – it’s not going to be easy. There will be storms. Break out that Burberry poncho and get the heck over it.
Because you, lady sitting at her desk wondering if she should ask for a raise, take a vacation or just go get a manicure, are learning how to sail your ship. We tend to overlook the past year’s achievements to make room for the new year’s improvements, but I say credit where credit is due. And it’s time to give yourself some. It can be extraordinarily difficult to accept control over one’s own life, and that’s oddly natural. Who the heck wants to be responsible for something so gargantuan and precious? What happens if you muck the whole thing up?
You just keep sailing the ship, until you muck it up again. It’s a learning process. Better you than someone else. Last year, right around this time, I quit my job and made a plan to travel. None of it worked out the way I planned. But having made the leap in the first place – having made such a fantastic investment in my own life – gave me the sure-footedness to adjust and keep moving forward. To keep learning. Somehow, remembering that it’s an ongoing learning process makes the prospect of changing one’s life seem a lot more manageable.
So the end of January slump is coming. Like with any storm, the best we can do is stock up on canned goods and brace ourselves for impact. But really, that’s the hardest part. You are going to wake up one day this month or the next and think, ugh, I don’t want to go the gym. I don’t want to put this money into savings rather than putting it into a margarita glass (no judgment, there.) I don’t want to go into work tomorrow and quit my job and the benefits, security and stability it brings.
But you’re learning to sail your ship. And at least you don’t have the Civil War to deal with, like Alcott did. Did you know that in the 1800s rum was considered an acceptable shampoo for your hair? Be glad you don’t have to lather up with Havana Club before heading off to try and abolish slavery, and be brave enough to keep learning.