January.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article for a weekly email series called Project Wednesday. The premise of this project is to motivate and inspire people across the world through an email sent out every Wednesday. People from all walks of life contribute to this project, which is run by a woman named Holly Pilcavage. Her TED talk can be found here. My article, published January 6, 2016, can be found here.

It’s important that you read that 2-minute article before moving forward; it serves as the foundation for what is next.

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Every new year, people make resolutions to eat better, lose weight, go to the gym, or begin a new habit. What I’ve found about resolutions is that they rarely last through January. By February 1, most people are worried about other things. Life gets in the way. Perspectives change. Resolutions take a back seat to work obligations or family matters. By April, most resolutions have gone disappeared from our lives altogether.

It’s not that I have a problem with resolutions. People who make resolutions are the best kinds of people; they want to be better and do more with their lives. I admire that.

It’s just that resolutions aren’t as effective — in theory and in practice — as people think.

For 2016, I’m not creating any resolutions. Instead I’m going to do a monthly word that guides me in everything that I do.

My goal with this is to find a word that resonates with my life on the 15th of each month. This word can change or it can stay the same. Most of all, whatever word I select to guide my life and work will be one that is designed to challenge me, to move me out of my comfort zone, to stretch me in ways I’ve not stretched before.

The goal is to embrace this life we all live. If we aren’t careful, it becomes elusive. It winds and shifts and turns in ways that we can’t keep up with. People change. You move out of the state. Loved ones pass. Relationships end. Your inbox fills up and you become overwhelmed. You forget your passwords. And so on.

I want to be intentional with living each day with a growth-mindset. I want to learn from myself and from the world around me. I want to make more of an impact on the lives of others. This comes from being mindful of the life that I live, and being present with the activities I fill my life with.

I will fail. Undoubtedly, I will make mistakes, choose a wrong path along the way, or make bonehead decisions. But with that, I’ll learn. I’ll adjust. I’ll become what I’m supposed to become, broken parts and all. I’ll carry heavy things that I never expected to carry. I’ll work harder than necessary. I’ll let people down. And I’ll embrace it.

January’s word: build.

Building things has always been in the back of my mind: lego structures, pieces of art, the people around me, my self-image, and so on.

There’s many miles to go before I get to where I want to be. But along the way, I plan to make the most of every day before they turn into weeks, months, and years.

Who know’s where I’ll end up? I suppose that’s the beautiful part of this journey I’m on, that we’re all on. There’s a whole lot that I don’t know. I won’t know until I get there.

Until then, I build.

On being.

This article was originally published in Project Wednesday’s weekly email on January 6th, 2016.

“It takes guts to tremble, it takes so much tremble to love.” –Andrea Gibson, Poet

Well, here we are. 2016. A new year. Fresh mind. Different perspective. And yet, it still feels like 2015. It doesn’t feel like a new year. Yesterday was summer and the day before that was February and the day before that was 2012. Isn’t it funny? Time keeps moving on and here we are — broken and beautiful — trying to convince ourselves that we’re still the humans we thought we were yesterday. But we’re not.

We’re different. Changed. Transformed on a daily basis by the things that surround us: people, ideas, the Earth spinning as it does, and ourselves. We don’t necessarily see it happening and then it happens. One day we look back and realize how far we’ve come.

Maybe 2015 held so much pain for you. Maybe you felt like you took up too much space. Maybe you thought that you weren’t enough. Maybe you felt like you were stuck in some kind of recycled nightmare or that you had too many flaws to ever be accepted by others in this world.

That’s what today is about. It’s about accepting who you are today: every victory lap, every broken bone, every bruised heart, every moment that we thought we weren’t going to be okay, every song that made us feel alive.

That’s what today is.

It’s a journey through mindfulness of being. Just being. It’s a constant reflection of who you used to be and who you want to be.

It’s an opportunity to take breaths deep into your lungs, to realize where you’re at, to center yourself. It’s an ongoing adventure of coming home to yourself.

This life is going to pass you by, day by day, week by week, until the months become years and you’re still stuck in 2011 and you realize that you’re not the you that you used to be.

But this is your moment. This is meant for you.

Let 2016 be the year that you commit to thinking a little deeper, to loving a little harder, and to growing a little closer to yourself in every moment. Allow yourself to outgrow the people and places and ideas that no longer serve the root of who you are. Allow yourself the safe space to be authentic and vulnerable and brave. You were not meant to fit so neatly into other people’s boxes.

Let 2016 be the building of a foundation with which you construct your life. Let it be the year that you forgive yourself for every mistake you made; every standard you never upheld; every expectation you never met. Buddy Wakefield once said, “Forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past.” He’s right.

Most of all, let 2016 just be. Everything that happens will happen just as it should, good or bad. And when 2017 comes, maybe letting the light in won’t hurt so much. Maybe you won’t feel like the problem or the solution.

Let 2016 be. Just be. And you, too.