The start of a new year brings so much hope, possibility, and reflection. As someone who is really interested in working on personal growth, I find this time of year to be a great opportunity to stop and take a look at how I'm doing and where I'm going. Though the idea of the New Year's resolution isn't always seen as a serious way of taking initiative, I've tried to find a way to personalize this holiday trope to learn a little more about myself.

A few years ago, I came across this image by the Internet-famous artist known as Chibird.

www.chibird.com

I really liked this idea, so I decided to create my own version of it. Using their prompts, I wrote my lists, ignoring the number specified and making it as long as I wanted. But with all the change that 2018 brought about in my life, I needed to expand upon it a little bit. "List 5 great people" became a list of all the new people I've met in college. "List 5 great things that happened" became a series of lists based on what's important to me- events that were crucial to my artistic growth, things I did outside of my comfort zone and ended up being grateful for, and "small beautiful things": moments that don't fit in the lists of bigger milestones but that are important to me all the same.

Something I recently discovered that I like doing is writing a letter to my past self- specifically myself on the previous New Year's Eve. While my goal in doing this is somewhat similar to all the lists, it integrates them much more. It's one thing to recognize the lessons you've been learning, but to contextualize them and see exactly how you've grown and what caused it gives those lessons a whole new level of value.

With all this in mind, resolutions start to come together pretty clearly. Seeing where the year's events have caused me to stand with myself and my values makes creating achievable next steps much easier. Tackling them in bits and pieces becomes less daunting because I have all these memories and lessons fresh in my mind- and having them written down makes them tangible and visible, which is a huge help to me. While this is (and may always be) a work in progress, all of this together is such a comforting way to see what I've been able to do and to build hope for what I'll be able to do next. If that isn't a great way to spend the transition from one chapter of life to the next, I don't know what is.