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I love New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
These 48 hours feel like a reset button, a way to freeze time and reflect on what’s happened in my life over the last 365 days and what I want to keep or let go of in the next 365 days.
But I don’t love resolutions.
I know I’m never going to give up eating cookies and donuts. I exercise because I like the way it makes me feel, but January is not some magic pill that’s going to turn me into one of those Instagram fitness models.
My financial debt will probably still exist (to some degree) in a year, and while I’m constantly aiming to cut down on how much I own, the first three months of the year are not going to turn me into a minimalist.
This doesn’t mean I don’t have goals or things I’d like to accomplish, but I’m certainly not going to attempt to power through them all at the beginning of the year when there’s so much pressure and expectation.
Holding myself to rigid standards that end up making me feel ashamed or guilty, especially when it’s just to keep up with what everyone else is doing, isn’t my M.O.
So when I saw the following quote from author Neil Gaiman, I decided to make it my version of a resolution for the new year:
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Because whether we accomplish our goals or not, whether we lose the weight or get the job or help the relationship grow or pay off the debt, we’re going to make mistakes along the way—that’s a given.
We’re going to binge eat while watching Netflix. We’re going to say something silly during the interview. We’re going to fight about the same issue with our partner. We’re going to spend too much on that vacation (or that trip to Target).
Some of our mistakes will be small and inconsequential. They won’t throw us off our path; they’ll just delay us a bit. Other mistakes will completely change the course of our lives, for better or worse. But regardless of the outcome, every mistake serves a purpose.
Screwing up, again and again, is how we learn. It’s how we grow and change and figure out what’s best for us. Mistakes are how we become who we’re supposed to be—even if that person looks different than what we expected.
Some of my greatest missteps have ended up leading me to my proudest accomplishments. And some of my worst screw ups have left me feeling so lost and frustrated that I’ve had no choice but to get my sh*t together and find a new path.
Either way, I win.
So this year, let’s jump on whatever path calls to us. Let’s make art and make love and make new friends. Let’s make goals and healthy choices and new memories.
But no matter what we hope to accomplish, let’s make mistakes. Let’s screw up and make wrong turns and do the things that scare us.
Let’s vow to make as many mistakes as we can, as long as we keep moving—as long as we keep “Doing Something.”