Resolution: Embrace Failure

In case you haven’t heard me say it before, I’m an ENFP. I love new beginnings and projects, and will take any opportunity to embrace them: A new year? A new age? A new city? A new apartment? A new stage in life? A new job? WOO HOO! The problem is that I’m terrible at practicing discipline and following these things through to completion. After the initial excitement has worn off, I am easily pulled down by the every day demands and stresses of life. I choose to give up rather than follow through. Once I start failing at a goal, I usually lack the courage to pick myself up and try again. I am too easily discouraged.

I both love and hate making resolutions. Every year I know I will love making them and hate myself when I break them. The reality is, I need to practice more discipline this year. This is where I thank God again for my plans and systems oriented ESTJ husband. One of the things that has really started to sink in is that in 2012, I am turning 27, and I don’t want to look back at the end of this year and see that I’ve only made inches of progress. For one thing, my obnoxious biological clock is in fact ticking. There are a lot of things I want to do before I enter that next huge stage of my life. And if I can’t live the life I want to live now, how am I ever going to be disciplined enough to do those things when I have kids to take care of? I don’t want to be that kind of example for my future kids either – that mom who is so busy just trying to get through each day that she ends up slowly losing herself along the way.

So this year’s resolutions will be a little more practical and detailed. They are baby steps (NO puns intended). So here we go…

1. Write more. While I would love to say I am going to write every day, I know that probably isn’t realistic given my blogging track record shows a whopping twelve posts in 2011. So I’m starting out with the simple goal to write four times a week, and blog two times a week. If what I write isn’t “blog-worthy,” every time, that’s ok, because practicing and the act of creating itself is important in getting where I want to be. I am a perfectionist by nature, and perfectionism is a vicious enemy of success. I was encouraged by other creatives, through a variety of mediums, to let myself fail this year. If you struggle with this too, I highly recommend Jon Acuff’s book Quitter and Ira Glass’s thoughts on the creative process. As corny as it sounds, keeping a collection of motivational typographic posters has been also been fantastic reminder for me to press on. I have bigger goals too, of pitching to magazines and getting published this year, but I know I need to start small first. Even if I can manage 2 posts a week, that will be 104 for the year, and 92 more than last year!

2. Become more active. This currently translates into: start working out again at least 2 times per week. I don’t know if it was the cupcakes, BC hormones, or marriage or a combination of all three, but somehow I managed to pack on about 15 lbs. since I first moved to NJ in July of 2010! I’m back up to my “freshman 15” weight and not fitting into my skinny jeans is annoying. While buying a new wardrobe sounds fantastic, it’s not as much fun two sizes too big, and would also have an adverse affect on my financial goals… which leads me to goal number three.

3. Reach our next financial goals. Specifically, save 3-6 months of expenses to start our emergency fund, and then put dedicated effort towards eliminating college debt. Nick and I spent all of 2011 choosing to be “broke” (aka sacrificing a lot of our former single life indulgences) and attacking the credit card debt we incurred during our wedding planning and unexpected significant expenses the first four months after marriage. It looks like by the end of this month we will have finally knocked it out.

4. See new cities. Nick and I spend many of our date nights talking about where we want to visit next. Charleston, SC keeps coming to the top of that list, so we hope to check that city off in 2012. If we rent a car, we can spend some quality time with my Daddy Will’s side of the family in Greenville and kill two birds with one stone! Nick also has a cousin getting married in the California wine country next summer, so we’re hoping to be able to extend that trip and turn it into a full-blown adventure.

5. Remain baby-free. We’ve almost gotten through a year of marriage, so I might finally be less anxious about this one, but it would still be preferable. This would also aid in achieving our financial goals much faster! I’m still a little worried that whatever they put in the Hoboken water might be contagious 😉

There are plenty more goals floating around in my head for 2012, but this is where I’m starting. Now this is where you, dear reader, come in. Especially when it comes to goal #1. I want you all to keep me accountable to these things I’ve mentioned. If I haven’t blogged in a while, call me on it. Let me know which posts inspired you and your honest feedback. What topic could you see becoming a magazine article? What was our last conversation topic that should be delved into deeper? I know this year will include failure – probably a lot of it. But that’s ok, the point is not to reach 2013 having done these things perfectly. I want to be stretched this year – better and stronger than when I began – and I’m grateful you’re coming along on with me on the journey.

15 thoughts on “Resolution: Embrace Failure

  1. Hey Babe! Excellent path for 2011.Your Daddy Will and I honeymooned on Seabrook Island,SC. in August 1982. Beautiful! We played tennis and golf and swam, but we didn’t make reservations in time for horseback riding on the beach:( We had a condo right on the golf course with a king sized bed. It was great fun. We also visited Charleston,SC and I remember Will buying a used golf club from some second hand shop. We visited gorgeous old Savannah, GA in 1984 I’m guessing, when we went to visit the world’s fair in New Orleans. The Grand Ol’ Opra” is in Savannah, but we were too poor to go!Susan and Scott spend a week on a Savannah Beach every summer. Susan’s mom was there for years. Will and I also camped near Panama City, FL (which is in the “pan handle”) and spent a day on the white sands with crystal clear waters. Will’s feet got burnt to a crisp unfortunately:( PC, FL is very close to Tallahasse!!! Places to definitely visit! I have been to New Orleans twice. The first time was with the 1975 Mexico Caravan.Sweet memories. Thanks for lighting my fire!

  2. “To create is to involve oneself as fully, as consciously, and imaginatively as possible in the creation, to be immersed in the world.” – Wendell Berry

    “Progress, of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step.” – Samuel Smiles

    Ok, so these two quotes have been on my mind for a very long time, and I think they relate to what you’re getting at. The Wendell Berry quote because you are creating. You are exercising your creativity muscle, and like any exercise, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

    However, the Sam Smiles comment has more or less led to quite a bit of frustration. To be honestly, I’m not satisfied to walk step by step. I want progress to occur quickly and expeditiously. In any case, progress will come. It may be slow, but it will (as much as I hate saying that).

    In any case, how are the two of you? Ash and I have missed you both sorely. How are things up north? Ash and I may be headed your way in March via the Megabus.

    1. Thanks for sharing those, Aaron. In both my writing and physical exercise I have to push past the uncomfortable/painful stage to actually reach success and see results.

      We are doing pretty well up here. I miss you and Ashley on a regular basis. What is the latest and greatest in your lives? I see you’ve become an aunt and uncle – who had a kid?!

      It seems a Knox trip might be in my future this April, but its still kind of tentative. I can’t believe it’s been a year and half since I left. I’m sure so much has changed. Please do let me know if/when you are headed this way. We would love to see you guys!

  3. As an INFP I’m right there with you. I’ve become a big fan of listening to various podcasts, and a lot of the people I enjoy listening to the most I’ve become mildly envious of. Their success, their audience, their monetary situation… I finally decided that instead of being content to just wish for it, I’d start doing something. The one common thread that I found between all of these different successful people were that they were constantly proactive. They spent years writing and perfecting their craft so that when the time came, they had something to show for themselves. I think that’s where I’m trying to be at right now. Like your Ira Glass link said, I’m trying to generate a ridiculous amount of content in the hopes that when one of those pieces of content gets noticed, I’ll look like more than a one trick pony.

    On a slightly random note, you mentioned blogging twice a week. Back in August I started a Tuesday/Thursday schedule for HFG and I’ve been able to more or less stick with it… But it hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been a lot harder than I expected it would be. Initially, I had hoped to move to three times a week, but even at this point that feels like a pipe dream. Blogging is tricky (as I’m sure you’ve experienced) because it’s not just writing; it’s writing something that we want to be at worst, interesting. At our best, we keep our fingers crossed that maybe someone will even find it helpful. For me, the absolute toughest part is trying to come up with something new to say. I would strongly recommend making a giant list of topics you feel like you could write about, and add to it constantly as you encounter new ideas. Good luck with your resolutions!

    1. Keep creating, friend! I am rooting for you. I started keeping a notebook w/ a random list of topics but as I am looking to add more structure and discipline to my life, I am going to create an actual calendar with specific topics laid out throughout the month. It will be a bit daunting and flexible, but I know that will be a huge step from hoping I feel inspired to write on any given day.

  4. Erika, you are amazing! I love reading your blog posts, please keep them coming….doesnt even matter about what! Though I did really appreciate your last two — so honest and clearly expressed. I miss you and cant wait to catch up someday! You are an extraordinarily beautiful person!

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