Every second Thursday, I send out my thoughts on intentionality and fulfillment in life. I share exclusive updates, intriguing ideas, and meaningful content recommendations.
Today: The year of discovery and how to be alone
Happy New Year! I hope you started 2022 on a high note. If not, it's no big deal. You know, a different digit on the calendar can be a great catalyst for a fresh start, but it's nothing more than an arbitrary, human-made concept.
It sounds simple but we forget it all too often: Not every year but every day is great to start anew.
Updates: What's your theme for 2022?
"What resolutions do you have for the new year?" a friend asked me as we approached the waterline to watch the fireworks and ring in 2022.
"None," I told her. "You?"
"Yeah, me neither. I always get disappointed. I make these big resolutions and a few weeks later I break them. They've never worked for me."
I certainly feel the same. And chances are, you do, too. Depending on the statistic you look at, 82% to 91% of New Year's resolutions fail. That's why I already described in a recent post, you shouldn't set goals and define your fears instead.
And I stumbled upon another remedy that I found in a terrific article by Niklas Göke.
His take on New Year's resolutions: Define a theme for the new year.
This is so powerful because the theme becomes a compass for every situation. You also don't put yourself under the pressure of any vanity metrics. The focus shifts from your achievements to your behavior. You concentrate on the process instead of the results.
Here's how to set your theme, according to Nik:
- Ask yourself, "What theme do I need right now -- based on what happened in 2021?"
- Think about a single yet powerful word that's easy remember. Ideally, this is a word that can be a verb and a noun. For example: "Work," "Love," "Joy."
- Got a word in mind? Open a thesaurus and look for the word that sparks the most accurate emotion for your theme or stay with your initial guess.
- Set your theme as your new wallpaper to make it omnipresent (see my wallpaper above).
My theme for 2022 is "Discover."
I want to discover who I am, what kind of writer I want to be, and if I want to be a writer at all.
I want to discover my surroundings, where I want to live, and the people I want to spend my time with.
I want to discover what makes life worth living and how I can make the most of it.
What's your theme for 2022?
Idea: How to Be Alone
Something else I want to discover this year is how to fight loneliness -- and, more importantly, how to be alone.
It's funny because being alone is easy. Lock yourself in the bathroom, you're alone. Run away from your friends, you're alone. Drive into the desert, you're alone.
But the skill of being alone? Ah, that's a different story. What we're really asking is how to be alone without being lonely. Because solitude can happen to anyone. No amount of followers on Instagram can protect you. I don't want to sound dramatic, but there will come a day when your friends and family are not there for you and you're all alone.
The good news: Solitude is a skill that can be learned. At least that's what Sara Maitland argues in How to Be Alone -- one of my favorite books on this topic. "The best treatment for a non-clinical fear of being alone," she writes, "is learning more about it and exposing yourself to solitude, initially in very low ‘doses.’"
Here are some of my favorite strategies:
- Reflect: Dump your thoughts into a journal. Sit down to meditate and see what comes to the surface of your mind. You'd be surprised how entertaining your very own thoughts can be.
- Take a long walk: Get out into nature and walk yourself into a meditative state. There is a special quality about long walks in nature that'll make you see the bigger picture and feel "one" with the universe.
- Read fiction: A good novel does to loneliness what aspirin does to an annoying headache. It's the perfect remedy. Dive into different worlds, characters, and twisting plots. (One of my recent favorites was Frank Herbert's Dune. I put on the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, cuddled into my blanket with my e-reader, and escaped to Arrakis.)
Content: Why we're fated to be lonely
Here's one of my favorite videos on loneliness. It'll help you see loneliness and solitude in a different light.
Something to think about
When was the last time you wanted to be alone? And I don't mean that out of desperation to recharge your social battery. But instead, out of pure joy to be with your own thoughts, feelings, dreams, and aspirations.
Try to be alone this year, just a little bit.
Until next time,
Bonus: friend links to newest blog posts
- 4 simple ideas to reinvent yourself in 2022
- 3 life-changing books I re-read every year
- 5 minimalistic purchases that bought me a little bit of happiness