Intersections – 12 New Days
By Nicki Salcedo, contributor
You can’t wait for January when you need to make changes in your life. But we do wait and January always comes. Maybe you need to tidy your house, start an exercise program, or write a book. Things work better for me if I have a new year that starts any time of the year. Things work best if I’m realistic about my goals.
- Write your biography. Your life in a paragraph. This is your biography of all the good stuff from your life and career. Have you volunteered? Did you win an award? Love your job? Your biography is your progress to-date. If you write it down, you might feel less like you need to change your life in the New Year. What if you don’t need to change? What if you need to do more of the good stuff that you are already doing?
- Write your REAL biography. Nicki Salcedo has quit a job and been fired from a job. One of her novels was rejected 20 times and one of her novels has been revised 8 times. Nicki has had depression and a miscarriage. When things are looking up in her life, usually something bad happens. Her father died the day after she received the cover art for her first novel. She has cried in many public places including in the airport, the grocery store, and once after running in Piedmont Park. Nicki has several unfinished writing projects and several complete writing projects she is too scared to send out. She hates traveling without her family, but she does this for the sake of a paycheck. She sometimes spends her writing time playing Candy Crush. She is known for making her kids cry, obsessively worrying about things she cannot control, and avoiding doing housework.
- Think about your evolution not your success. Whenever I hear the word success, I substitute it for the word adventure. Success is finite, adventures continue. We can stop looking at each new year with misguided hope if we realize each month and each year is just a part of a long adventure.
- Make the first move. Introduce yourself to people. Say hello. Diversify your world. This is tough for me. I’m a natural introvert, but it makes a difference when I extend myself, even when I don’t want to. Best way to restore your faith in humanity is to meet lots of humans.
- Recognize bad advice. Other people love to say what job you should keep and what job you should quit and who to love and why. Bad advice often comes under the guise of good advice. Sometimes bad advice can be a good motivator.
- If it is really your passion, you should be doing it already. No one else can give you your passion. Find your passion.
- Know your strengths. We spend a lot of time critiquing ourselves. Spend some time recognizing what you do well naturally. I’m a practiced optimist.
- Keep people your life who challenge you to do your best, better, more. While you are at it, watch people you admire. Do what they do.
- Say YES. YES to yourself. YES to strange opportunities. I don’t know what your YES might look like. Last year, if my first reaction was to say NO I decided to say YES. I got on stage not once, but twice. That was a big deal for me. Yes, doesn’t have to be easy but it should be something that you are proud when it is over.
- Look at people and know that they have a REAL biography too. Know that everyone one is on an adventure. No one is without pain and disappointments. If you see others for their struggles and triumphs you’ll do a better job of recognizing the same in yourself.
- Accept happiness now. New Year’s resolutions are always like this. Be happy by December. Be fit by December. Have a clean house by December. Then December comes and we are mad at the entire year. Love December by loving January. Accept your happiness now and all year.
- Have a plan that can survive changes. If you’ve ever driven across the city you know the number one rule. Plan for traffic. This is how we live our lives every day. This is how you can make it successfully through the year. What happens if you are a little late? Usually, nothing. I don’t want you to have your baby on I-285 in rush hour, but for most of us a little late is OK. Don’t let the year limit you. Sometimes traffic is great and you get places early.
Not everything can be achieved in a single calendar year. Consider this: You don’t need to change who you are, but rather change your perspective. Happy New Year today and every day!
“Intersections,” the book, is a collection of columns from Decaturish.com and beyond. It is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom. Her column, Intersections, runs every Wednesday morning.