P HAS BEEN teasing me about writing my New Year’s Resolutions in mid-February, but that was before I told him about all the messages received from you asking after them. In my defence, the concept of time hasn’t been the same after all this, and it will be a while before I can rewire my mind to keep the same schedule as I did before the world fell into infectious peril. It’s wonderful how much you love these yearly lists, and to be honest, wasn’t sure was even going to do one this year as⏤so far⏤this new year has been particularly difficult to define. All the lockdowns have not made it easy to be creative, despite all the candle- and lip balm-making and other such whimsical endeavours embarked upon during these last weeks and months in an attempt to de-stress and pass the time. I do hope though, that in some small way these musings, despite their lateness, will help you with your own ideas and goals this year, whatever they may be, or at the very least, give you some thoughtful inspiration as we all move forward into this brand new year. And as always, wishing you a wonderful 2022, and hope that it’s already off to a beautiful start…
To free up mental space
One of P’s resolutions this year is to cut out internet news―that is, online papers and websites that create divisive content with headlines that are more clickbait than real news. It’s good to be informed, but being exposed to a constant barrage of spins and non-news to provoke feelings of anger in order to promote engagement can be unhealthy. Research has shown that fake news travels six times faster than legitimate information on social media—in large part because of its ability to trigger a strong emotional response (Wired). Having to navigate content that deliberately aims to sustain fear and dissent adds to our cognitive and emotional burden, and the 24/7 news (and fake news) cycle can take a heavy toll on our collective psyche. So for my third resolution, I am severely reducing the amount of internet news I consume to free up mental space for better, more important things, like coming up brilliant new business and creative ideas; or finally starting that novel or screenplay; or coming up with new things to do and new places to visit; or, just to daydream.
To develop a new hobby or interest
While I enjoy photography and I love to read, it’s been a long time since I’ve taken the time to develop a new hobby or interest. P started creating digital music two years ago, during lockdown, and recently began an online sketching course using markers and pens, and plans to do one drawing every day to see how his work improves. Remember last year, when I told you that I was planning on taking up chess? Well I got as far as buying the chess board and a few books and that’s about it. My past hobbies included knitting (I made mostly chunky cream-coloured scarves and a crimson cushion cover once) and I took a pottery course one winter, but never kept either of those things up. So this year might be a good time to start something new, something that I’ve never tried before, and perhaps this time, stick with it…
Mistakes are valuable
I will be the first to admit that I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. After all, I am capricious, spontaneous, and impatient⏤all qualities that, while making me fun to be around, often lead to poor decision-making. Sometimes, however, I don’t always learn from a mistake the first time around, and that may be due to unrealistically high standards, or so I’m told. Striving for unattainable perfection can make us unequipped to learn from our mistakes, as the quest for perfection often hinders the learning process. Fearing we’ll fall short of perfection, we become paralyzed by mistakes instead of learning from them. This year will be one of focusing on viewing mistakes as valuable rather than as personal failures, and to see challenges⏤including mistakes⏤as opportunities for growth rather than as threats. Through this shift in mindset, I hope to foster a positive attitude toward learning and continuous development.
Work on my mental fitness
I have my physical fitness routine down: 5 hours of cardio and 1.5 hours of strength training per week. That kind of regimen was once a New Year’s resolution, about three or four years ago. Now regular exercise is a habit. While I may work out every day now, I don’t always remember to take care of my mental fitness. You’ve probably heard it said that health involves more than not being sick. Similarly, mental fitness involves more than the absence of mental illness. It takes time and care to build mental strength, just as you would with physical fitness. Taking care of your well-being is equally (if not more) important, and activities such as reading and learning something new can help. This year, I want to spend more time looking after my mental fitness by being proactive about managing burnout and giving my mind more time to rest, as well as incorporating more mindfulness into everyday life to help foster emotional resilience and inner calm when inevitable challenges arise. With dedication, I hope to exercise my mind as much as my body.
A culture of kindness
We make a great effort here at TIG to foster a culture of kindness with the thoughts and ideas that we share with our audience. We strive to create an environment where compassion, empathy, and consideration for others is valued and actively promoted, with the aim to establish a collective mindset that prioritises the well-being and positive interactions among people. Here, we recognise and appreciate differences, hoping to ensure that everyone feels welcomed, accepted, and included. This year, however, I would also like to focus on bringing this energy offline as well, and direct good energy to consciously performing random acts of generosity and spreading positivity wherever possible, especially now that we are slowly emerging from our isolation and getting together IRL again.