A monthly pledge is a mini-series I’m starting for 2013. It will include 12 different pledges, one for each month of the year. I will pick an activity I want to include in my daily routine and pledge to do it everyday. There are no limits, and more importantly there are no expectations other than to create a pattern and experiment with different forms of creative expression.
This year was the first time I ever celebrated and took part in the rituals of New Years. Although I participate in most traditional holidays, New Years is one I’ve never been able to synchronize with. Depending on lifestyles, a new year can be marked in many ways other than the first day of the calendar year. Somewhere between late January and early February falls the Chinese New Year, on March 21st (first day of spring) is the Baha’i New Year, some consider their birthday the start of a new year, and others use anniversaries or special days to create new beginnings. For myself, a new year starts on the first Tuesday after Labour Day every September. Or at least it used to. For twenty consecutive years, this day marked a new beginning and a fresh start in my life, as it indicated the first day of classes for the following school year.
This past spring, I graduated from my fifth year of University. Last September was the first year in my life (other than my years before preschool) that I wasn’t registered as a student. It took until the end of 2012 for my brain to realize that I didn’t just get an extended summer this year, I’m actually not going back to school. I spent a few weeks at the end of 2012 digesting this concept and thinking about what I want the new year to look like. I dove into the whole goal setting and resolution making of January and came up with a few ideas. Two things I want back in my life that I miss from going to school monday to friday are: routine and learning. Living in a new city, being around new friends, and doing things I’ve never done before (blogging!) is really exciting, but I miss the comforting familiarity of having a routine. I’m not looking to do the same thing and eat the same meal every day, but to have something consistent throughout the change. My hope is that a monthly pledge will form new patterns in my day-to-day life and teach me new skills to expand my creative expression.
The reason I’m calling these monthly pledges and not 30-Day-Challenges is because challenges don’t work for me. The whole idea of having a challenge makes me too intense and I end up having these crazy ideas like: no sugar, dairy, or wheat for a month, a yoga class a day, a run every morning, cook a new meal every night, drink 2 litres of water before lunch, read 20 pages before bed, swallow fire, journal for an hour a day, etc etc. I can’t help but make everyday for the month a complete challenge. Taking on this much change only leaves me burnt out at the end and unable to maintain anything I had gained. In a monthly pledge I will take only a single activity that I’m interested in and practice it daily. Without putting any expectations on it or setting a daily quota to it, I will simply enjoy the activity as it develops into a familiar pattern without the intention of reaching a certain goal.
The word I chose for 2013 is collect. One way I’m going to use my word this year is by recording my experiences through these monthly pledges. At the end of the year I will have 12 different collections of activity and hopefully a few new creative skills and well established routines. I don’t expect to keep every routine I make, there would be no time left in the day if I turned 12 separate activities into daily routines. But I do hope to become more grounded by implementing a source of consistency into my schedule and discovering which activities can be enjoyed daily, and which activities simply cannot.
I am both nervous and excited to see what skills and experiences I collect this year. I am loving January’s pledge so far and look forward to posting about it at the end of the month!
Thanks for reading.
(Photo via We Heart It)