Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Musings for a New Year

As I say each year, a new year is a new beginning. A time to reflect on what went well in the past year and what needs to be done better. While any day can be a new beginning, the change from one year to the next is symbolic. The tradition of New Year's Resolutions helps give us the push to work on the things in life that we know we need to do better.

As I reflected back on 2010, my first thought was that I didn't work my plan. My feeling was that I did not accomplish what I had wanted, that as the old year closed, I was not where I had wanted to be. Because I knew that feelings can be deceptive, I knew I needed to look back at my written goals to evaluate 2010. I needed to know whether my feelings reflected the reality of what I had accomplished.

There really are some advantages to writing down your goals, your plan for the year. Writing things gives ideas form and structure. The act of writing helps clarify in your mind what is important. Thinking about the year ahead and visualizing what you want to accomplish gives you goals to work toward. If you don't think, plan, and visualize, you are less focused and you may not live up to your potential and your dreams may not become reality. Planning makes the seemingly impossible become possible.

Evaluating is also very important. Looking at what worked and what didn't gives you insight and wisdom for future planning.

Yes, I am biased. I value myself based upon what I accomplish. While I know there are flaws in that thinking, I think that as humans we are here on earth for a reason. What we do, how we spend our time, what impact we have on the world around us . . . these are very important. Life needs to be lived consciously.

I was pleasantly surprised when I looked back over the goals I set last year. While I was certainly accurate in thinking that I fell short of the mark of what I had dreamed, I had made progress on some of my goals.

Some examples:

Goal: Go through my entire house, organize, throw away, get rid of clutter. I can choose to see all of the things I didn't get done . . . or . . . I can see that on a monthly basis, I had made some small dents - clearing small areas, making small, but noticeable progress.

Goal: Art Shows - I did three shows last year. While they were not stellar successes in terms of sales, they were each valuable learning experiences. The important thing was not how many things I sold, rather the fact that I made the effort. (And, in some cases, I sold more than those around me . . .) Sometimes the action is more important than the immediate results.

An accomplishment that was not specific on my goal list was redoing my web presence at my Mary Ann Melton PhotoShelter site.

The other thing my evaluation showed me was that I spent a lot of time on a project that was not on my written plan at all. While I was not the only one working on the project, the end result is something that benefits many people and the world around me. This was my biggest, most positive effort for the year.

Today's reading from the Artist's Way Every Day - A Year of Creative Living, by Julia Cameron sums it up quite well:

Growth is is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself . . . Growth occurs in spurts. You will lie dormant sometimes. Do not be discouraged. Think of it as resting . . . Marathon runners suggest you log ten slow miles for every fast one. The same holds true for creativity.

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