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Turning the page to 2023
Choosing a theme for the coming year
Howdy! Welcome back to Traipsing About, a newsletter about reclaiming creativity and ditching tired personal paradigms. Thanks for hanging out with me and T. Rex for another 12 months.
When December teeters toward the new year, Chelsea and I enjoy coming up with theme words to help frame the next 365 days. For instance, my word for 2022 was “creativity.” (Chelsea always suggests “cooking.”)
This year, she chose wholesome, insightful words (as usual) like savor. Meanwhile, I’m struggling to think of a fresh one. Maybe because I’m enjoying creativity so much!
This week on New Yearing About, Edition #115:
Process, not goals
Traipsing Tidbits: shoe screws, neti pots, and two kitchen hacks
T. Rex rings in the New Year
ICYMI: last newsletter I wrote about visualizing my perfect day. My friend Nicole added that she likes to design a perfect day at the start of each year, with the additional step “writing down everything that’s stopping me from having that perfect day.” Love that!
The less stressful way to accomplish your goals
It’s almost a new year, which means it’s time for random strangers on the internet to offer you unsolicited advice on setting big goals. Time to join a new gym! Lose weight!
Instead, here’s the low-key approach I take to achieve improvements in my life, calendar turnover be damned. It works for anything, be it financial, physical, or a skill I want to learn like speaking Italian or playing piano.
For me, it breaks down to a simple difference in mindset: daily progress vs. an end goal. That simple trick takes a pressure-laced situation and unfolds it into a pleasurable activity.
Relationships: Not “I want a great marriage,” but “I strive to be kind to my partner in the daily interactions.” (Yes, even when I’m hangry.)
Business: Not “I want to double revenue,” but “I will double the number of potential clients I connect with.”
Writing: Not “I want to write this many blog posts or gain this many new readers” but “I want to write most mornings about things I am enjoying or improve my life.”
Fitness: not “I want to lift this much or achieve this race pace” but “I’ll try to stick to this training plan most days.”
Language: Not “I want to speak at a C1 fluency level by ____ date” but “I’ll study my Anki flashcards consistently and take a weekly lesson.”
Piano: Not “I want to play the (devilishly fast) Liebestraume by Lizst” but “every day, I’ll try get my hands on a piano to practice technique and work on repertoire.”
What I love about this is that it takes away the pressure. Down with arbitrary deadlines to speak this well or play that song or send that rock climbing project or hit that business revenue goal.
As Chuck Close said, ““Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” But screw that, amateurs can tap into the magic as well!
By focusing on what I can control—daily actions—I trust that I’ll make progress. No more gripping the reigns with white knuckles and gritting my teeth, just a daily practice that moves me forward. (It ties neatly into designing your perfect day.)
As a bonus, there is also far less recrimination attached to daily goals. If I miss working out or piano or Spanish study, I do it the next day! Consistency builds resolve, routines become rituals, and progress follows naturally. Journey, not the destination.
In other words, I just sit down and practice my scales. I enjoy it, even REVEL in the knowledge that note by note, pushup by pushup, and word by word, this is how songs are learned, muscles are strengthened, and books are written.
(Additional reading: my blog post about Boulders of Awesomeness.)
Traipsing About Tidbits
My go-to, “wow this works great” hack for winter traction while running or walking is sheet metal screws into the tread of shoes.
After years of Chelsea and various friends singing the praises of their neti pots, I finally caved…and…it’s awesome.
Wait, whatttt, I don’t have to peel ginger?! YESSS.
My fav kitchen time saver this year has been to mass prep and freeze frequently used ingredients and sauces in ice cube trays, then transfer them to glass jars. Lemon/lime juice, cashew cream, date syrup…anything! Easily thawed in single-use portions when needed, it’s such a time saver.
Quote of the Week
This quote from The Alchemist popped up in my Readwise this week and seems fitting:
Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
…which makes me think of French philosopher Montaigne’s thoughts (paraphrased):
Neither position in the world, the privilege of blood nor talent makes for the nobility of man, but solely the degree to which he strives to preserve his personality and to live his own life.
You’ve reached the end of Traipsing About newsletter #115…and (almost) 2023!
This week’s unsolicited advice: pick a theme word for the year, then write down your perfect day (and what’s stopping you). Is it supporting your goals for health, relationships, personal development and so on?
Take the additional step of focusing on small, repeatable habits that build the flywheel’s momentum. Do your best with those and trust that results will follow!
Or just listen to Montaigne…
Til next year, arrivederci and buon anno a te!
P.S. I wouldn’t eat this guacamole, but watching it get made was fascinating.
Thanks for reading Traipsing About! I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts and chortle (or groan) at my drawings. I always love to hear from you, so hit reply and send me an email anytime. I read and respond to every one!
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