I don't really get the hype over New Year's resolutions.
To me, they're synonymous with guilt and failure. I think most of us have set lofty goals for a new year, and then abandoned them before the signs of spring emerge.
Part of the problem is that they're often set up in an all-or-nothing fashion. I will stop ____ (entirely). I will start ______ (every day). It's unsustainable and unlikely to happen without a plan in place. Plus, if you reach the end of the year and you haven't mastered your goal, there's a sense of failure or disappointment.
Does this mean I don't think we should try? Of course not. Over the last few years I've become obsessed with end-of-year rituals and spending time either at the tail end of a year or on New Year's Day to vision the year ahead.
The difference is I have stopped making huge promises. The things I write down are goals that might take 10 years to accomplish, or ones that feel important now but I might abandon soon without guilt or shame.
The point of the exercise is the focus. We're all busy and trying to make sense of the chaos, so once a year just sitting down to recap the previous year and make intentions for the new one can feel enlightening. No, you can't fix every problem you've ever had over the next 12 months. But you can identify some things you want more of less of in life and break those goals down into steps you can take to get there.
My 2023 goals were a mixed bag, as they should be. I made some huge steps (like choosing to focus Little Grey Farmhouse primarily on furniture painting and opening the door to custom commissions). There were others that just didn't pan out (like the custom laser-cut family portraits I've been working on for years but never launched. They're so cute...but the amount of work makes the price point ridiculous and so it was time to abandon ship).
The things that didn't happen don't bother me because I have two good options. Either I decide it didn't happen for good reason and abandon it, or I move it into my goals for the next year. Just because you didn't do something THIS year doesn't mean you won't. If it still matters to you, put it on the new list. You make the rules, no one said your goals expire after one year.
For 2024, one word popped up quite a bit while I was jotting down ideas and it applies to both the business world and my personal world: fun. Don't get me wrong, I had some fun in 2023 but this year I want to leave room for play. For Little Grey Farmhouse I'm going to play with some new ideas and launch some new products outside my lane with no expectations as to how they will be received.
In the personal world, I think we could all use more fun. Take up a hobby that sparks some joy. Put your phone away when spending time with your friends or kids so you can engage more fully. Stop comparing yourself and lean into the things that feel right.
This year is unknown. Set your intentions, knowing that whatever this year ends up being you can ride the wave. My hope for you all is that it brings health, happiness and joy for its own sake.