Mo Knows Resolution: Make 2014 the year of more
3...2...1...Happy self-improvement day. Once the New Years eve festivities hangover haze subsides, I find the media at every angle forcing me to reflect on my life choices of the year past, and what tools I can bring to my arsenal to shape 2014 into the year I want. How can I improve? What will make me the best possible person I can be? The most prevalent suggestions involve restrictions for this world-wide self-improvement day: quitting smoking, resisting caloric temptations, limiting access to social media and television time sucks, or cutting back on the intoxi-sauce, but what about those of us who want more, not less? Here are a few resolutions for 2014 devoted to doing and giving more to life, not to cutting back.
While the giant projects we consider our life’s work might be what gets us recognized, it feels intimidating to start a major creative endeavor if we fear too much of our identity is wrapped up in the end result. The solution? Stop making all creative work so precious and just create a little something every day. If you’re a musician, try submitting to SongFight regularly, a website that allows you to anonymously submit songs based on a new title every week. Art journaling, a journaling method geared towards artistic expression rather than day reflection, is a great way to put a creative stamp on the day. We’re cooking up our own low pressure creative juice generator at Threadless with a weekly initiative called Do52. Do52 invites everyone and anyone to partake in little artistic prompts weekly to regularly flex your make muscles (keep an eye out for it on our blog soon!) Eventually doing a bunch of little things can lead to big things, and constantly exercising your creati-ceps won’t make those big projects such an intimidating load to haul.
Being an explorer doesn’t mean you have to immediately book a trip kayaking in Cambodia, but to venture from your comfort zone and into unfamiliar territory. It can be as simple as walking a new way home from work, stopping at a different breakfast place on your morning commute, or trying a new cuisine that might frighten you. Go to a music venue when you don’t know the band on the bill, or visit a theater or gallery you’ve seen and never walked through the doors. I’m resolving to pick up a vegetable I’ve never cooked at the grocery store every week, forcing me to explore new recipes and foods that would otherwise remain foreign. If you want to get out in the world but don’t think you have the funds, seek out creative alternatives to traditional traveling like couch surfing. You don’t know where or what you love until you find it, so look everywhere.
Learning new skills keep the brain sharp, agile, and ready for the intellectual and creative battles we face each day. Want to learn to cook? Google f*cking exists. Thinking about picking up something like brewing beer or woodworking, but not sure you’re ready to fully commit to the demands of a new hobby? There’s a website for that as well. If you’re more of a formal education type, you can always sneak in time for free open courses from Yale or MIT. Find something new to work on this year, and allow yourself to trudge through the agonizing awkwardness of being a beginner again; your brain will thank you for it, and you’ll have something interesting to talk about at parties.
It’s easy to get caught up in yourself when pontificating on self-improvement, but focusing energy on others is a great way to give back to yourself. Take a few minutes every day to focus your attention on someone or something other than yourself. If the soup kitchen isn’t your thing, help a friend or coworker out with a project (yes, even if there’s no benefit to you). If volunteering is your thing, seek out opportunities to give to those less fortunate in your community. Giving your time to others ultimately makes your own life more worthwhile. At the very least, you can call your mother. Ask her about her day. She’d probably love to hear from you.
If you’re looking for a more passive way to give back while getting some great gear, TOMS recently launched an online marketplace devoted to businesses whose products give back. Threadless also supports a wide range of causes with some rad-ass designs.
DRINK More Water
This one doesn’t really have any profound implications, but it’s always a good one to keep in check.
Make 2014 the year of more, not less. These are just a few of the things I’ll be focusing on this year to add more zest de la vie, but I always want to hear what other awesome ways people strive to do more, be more, or live more, so feel free to share in the comments.
Happy New Year.