by Cole Smith
Do you have a yearly theme? 2017 was a fantastic yet terrifying year for me. Learning to drive stick-shift, finishing a novel and sending it to beta readers, starting a blog – there were a lot of overwhelming days when the couch and a book looked pretty darn appealing. To keep from succumbing to the siren song of quitting, I’d mutter my slogan for the year: “Do it scared!”
Notice, that slogan is neither original nor specific. But it was exactly what I needed to shift (sometimes literally from stalling at a traffic light) back to where I needed to be. Pick a personal motto for 2018 to set your intention for the year.
It will start your year off on a positive note.
January is unspoiled and full of potential. Late December, on the other hand, often holds more stale failed resolutions than leftover fruitcake. Capture January’s energy and positivity by setting the mood for the months to come, and sticking with it.
It will keep you accountable.
One reason resolutions sputter and die by March is the lack of accountability. How do you check in with yourself? No one will know if you hit the snooze button instead of the gym. But you’ll have to face that slogan. You can crank up the pressure by giving a friend permission to say the magic words if you start slipping.
It will keep you going when you want to quit.
Feelings lie. It feels right to watch tv instead of knocking out 300 more words on your work-in-progress. It feels good to sleep in. And, at least in the short-term, eating that massive bowl of ice cream feels like heaven’s blessing.
Get a stack of sticky notes and wallpaper the house with your motto. Stick a reminder on the remote control, the freezer door, the alarm clock. Our feelings have a really short attention span. So remind them who’s boss by whispering your affirming slogan (or shouting it from your back porch). All that reinforcement will reprogram your brain and alter your habits.
My focus for this year is to build on the momentum of 2017 (or, in the case of driving manual transmission, at least to coast on my momentum as long as possible… Please change, traffic light, hurry!). I’m still narrowing down themes for a motto that resonates with my goals, one that sings when I say it. I’ll know it when I find it.
May 2018 be a year that pushes you, but kindly. And, if you need to, you can whisper, “Do it scared!”
Cole Smith is a writer, teacher, and mountain biker in West Virginia. She enjoys good coffee and great stories. She shares inspiration, encouragement, and tips for creative overwhelm at www.colesmithwrites.com.