I’ve been thinking about how we change and why we don’t a lot lately. Today marks the halfway point of the year and it seems apt to consider those yearly resolutions made under a bright belief in the possibility that we can change. What of those resolutions we made so resolutely during a dark and cold December night? Are you still going for those daily walks, artist’s dates, or writing to your pen pal? Are you conversing in Spanish, watching all the movie classics or practicing your calligraphy? Those wonderfully creative and healthly pursuits that seem to slip by, forgotten and wasted by mid-Spring were just another wish for change. I know many of the things I wanted to see happen feel from from reality.
I realize now that anything I haven’t accomplished yet is because I just didn’t want to change my habits. I said I did, but I didn’t mean it.
But I still can. Right this minute.
And so can you.
I don’t need a new calendar year, a Monday morning, a timetable, a program, a coach, a new outfit, or a vision board. You don’t need a tribe, a support group, a new routine, or a morning cup of coffee. We don’t need to wait until after finishing this chapter, until next week, or until the new moon. All of that crap is really just an excuse for waiting until never.
The change is ours now. Even if we haven’t begun the book, learned a new Spanish phrase, or taken a risk of any kind. We didn’t really want it when we made the resolution to begin. There was the idea, but no real desire to change. And that’s ok. But if you’ve decided that enough is enough and today’s the day, then read on for my five tips for making the best of this second half of the year. Making the most of right now.
1. Don’t ignore your Muse.
Your muse will arrive when she damn well pleases. Yes, sometimes her appearance is rather inconvenient. So what if you’re driving when a good idea strikes? You better pull into the slow lane and pray you can decipher your scribbles later. But don’t you dare think you can just ignore the impulse and “remember it later”. You won’t remember. Trust me, she’ll make sure the idea is completely erased from your mind as she moves on to someone more willing to listen–ahem, now.
2. Do shitty work
Seriously, write a terrible article. Speak an incoherent phrase. The faster you can fail, the sooner you’ll succeed. Simple and true. You can’t just come out with the next great American novel next month. As much as we swoon for those overnight success stories, they’re hardly real. What we never get to see in those glossy headlines is the sweat that went into all those shitty first drafts and other terrible first projects.
3. Show up
The Must needs to trust that you’ll take her inspiration seriously. And how can she tell who is ready to receive those great ideas? The person who shows up consistently, no matter what. So what if the only time you have to write is between 5:45 and 6:10 am? Write then. So what if you’re progressing at a snail’s pace through your French workbook? Say your s’il vows plaits and mercis anyway. Ever get that itch to learn another word? Paint another picture? That’s your Muse gently calling you forward. Show up to your practice and your Muse will meet you there, ideas aplenty.
4. Defeat your defeatist attitude
So you’re not going to be perfect at what you’re trying to accomplish. So what? Tell that inner bully to shut up already. You’ve got work to do and you don’t want to be late to meet your Muse. She’s so much more badass than your inner bully, you know. Think Xena, warrior princess vs. Biff Tannen. I know who’s side I want to be on. No contest.
5. Just start!
Read a few paragraphs, write a few lines. Do whatever it is that gets some momentum going. That’s really the key and the only advice worth anything. You can start now, if you would just start. From there? Keep going, you’re golden.