Wednesday, January 2, 2013

GOALS. It's 2013, y'all

So, New Year's Resolutions... eep. 

When I was growing up, sometime in the beginning of each new year my parents sat us down in their room, one at a time, to talk about our "goals" and "areas for improvement" for the next year (that they had written for us). I totally hated every minute of it (no offense, Mom and Dad, xoxo love you!) because I am vain and don't like it when people point out my flaws. Really though, who does? 

All immaturity aside, I recently wrote down these words that stuck with me, spoken by a priest: "True repentance must cause change in some aspect of your life. You must change the way you spiritually handle the challenges God sends your way." 

I think this is what "New Year's Resolutions" could accomplish -- a change in mindset, spiritual growth, an increase in peacefulness and strength.

So this year, rather than a long list of specific things to check off (Do yoga! Take my vitamins! Call my mother more often! etc.), I am handling this year's goals with a simple "mindset" approach, striving to change some of my attitudes towards life and work and challenges. 

(There are only two goals, because I have got to keep this simple.)

Goal 1. BE JOYFUL!

I think that a lot of times over this past year I've gotten sad by things that happen at school, or I remember how totally broke I am, or I've felt overwhelmed by whatever, and then I just start feeling sorry for myself. This anxious state of being is so antithetical to who I want to be, and I've noticed that living alone makes it a lot easier to slip into that anxiety since I don't have a counter-balance person(s) on a daily basis to bounce ideas/moods/happenings off of. I think it's more productive and healthy to focus on the purpose that life's challenges serve, rather than the challenges themselves, or how they might make me feel in the moment. 

I also believe joyful people accomplish great things. They change the world. They spread love and happiness. 

"Joy is a sign of generosity. When you are full of joy, you move faster and you want to go about doing good to everyone. Joy is a sign of union with God -- of God's presence." - Mother Teresa

Goal 2. JUST DO IT.

I take work/everything more and more seriously as I get older.  If I'm going to do something, particularly with art, I want it to be a reflection of my best self/talents, so I over-analyze and second guess and take forever to finish anything. With the opening of my new Etsy shop TODAY!! AHH!! (stay tuned for formal announcement later), I am taking my first step towards JUST DOING IT. 

Though scary on the outside, mistakes = feedback and a window into how to improve and get better. So, this is me in 2013, if I were a gymnast. I'm just going to start doing flips around my yard, without worrying excessively about the tenths of a point, trip and fall a bunch of times (hopefully not too hard), and improve my form little by little. And I'm going to be SO JOYFUL about it. Wooo woo! 

Happy 2013! What are some other resolutions you intelligent, thoughtful, self-reflecting people have? 

[All photos and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2013]


  1. I really like your approach to's more holistic and, therefore, has the potential to be much more impactful. But I have a question. How will you measure your success? Do you have a joyfulness-meter? A white board or flip chart (with many pages, of course) to note things you spontaneously just 'do' throughout the year? Or is part of your resolution to not care about specific progress per say, and instead to relish the personal gratification of accomplishments along the way?

    1. @tina79 I do have to see evidence of "just doing it" in order to believe it's real; I think it's a permanent part of my teacher brain! I am literally crafting an enormous JUST DO IT documentation wall calendar this afternoon and I am ridiculously excited about it. Stay tuned for details and pictures. :) Love your feedback!