New Year, New Goal of Perfecting my Lasagna (Laurie Faria Stolarz)
Happy New Year!
The theme for this month is a reflection on the new year. What will we do differently? How will we rethink? Are there new ventures we’d like to pursue?
This topic immediately calls to mind the notion of new year resolutions – all of the promises we make to ourselves to do more and better. Some of us put those promises out there, into the universe, telling others as a way of being accountable to ourselves. Others keep those promises to themselves, fearful of not being able to deliver.
The truth is, I don’t like to make new year resolutions, just because I think there can be a lot of pressure to carve out idealistic changes – those that may never come to fruition. I think the promises people tend to make for themselves can either be a bit too vague (I want to eat healthier) or a bit too ambitious (I want to write and publish a book). Resolutions can also create a sense of failure when goals aren’t met.
Instead, I like making smaller actionable goals. I find it productive to think about the new year with respect to where I am, so to speak. How did I get here? In my job, in my life, with my family/family, in my pursuits and skills…? Are there small, specific tweaks or adjustments I can make to get me closer to where I want to be?
I start thinking about the new year around Thanksgiving time, acknowledging what I’m grateful for in the present day. No, things are not perfect. Yes, there are changes to be made; things that could go better; other lifestyles, situations, or pursuits that may seem more ideal, etc., etc. But I can still practice gratitude for the here and now.
I then start to reflect on those specific actionable items that can help me reach a certain goal. The goal of “decluttering/streamlining/simplifying,” for example, might be better met by starting with the goal of cleaning out a specific closet by the end of the month. The goal of “pursuing a new book idea” might be more effective if I start with the goal of writing a 2-page synopsis by a certain date. Finishing a project by December might be better accomplished by setting a goal of writing 10 pages per week.
I create these actionable items throughout the year, as needed, reflecting on ways I can learn more and do better.
If anything, with the new year comes more time spent acknowledging and affirming what’s truly important in life. I definitely think that changes with time. My ideals today were not my ideals ten, twenty, or thirty years ago.
On my immediate list of goals for the new year: writing a synopsis of a story that’s been brewing in my mind (by the end of February). Perfecting my recipe for vegan lasagna. It's already pretty darn amazing, if I do say so myself, but I think I can do better. I've already perfected the blend of "cheeses," but the eggplant needs work - getting just the right bite/texture... So far, I've tried skin on/peeled skin, breaded, fried, broiled, mashed, cubed, and sliced into strips, but I just don't know... It's not quite right. I’d also like to take a trip this summer. I’ve been working on travel boards to get inspired and hope to have something booked by March.
What are your actionable items for the new year?