December 30, 2012

the week of in-between

There is no other time in the year that consistently defines "in-between" like this week between Christmas and New Years Day. All the intensity, festivity and community of Christmas begins to wind down, at different paces for every life, and this week is our countdown to the New Year's beginning. I love the chance to create new goals and aims for my life, and obviously this energy of possibility and fresh new starts is familiar for most people in the tradition of New Year's Resolutions. Do you feel energized by this transition week?
Our Christmas was amazing, filled with so many gifts both literal and figurative. Among my favorite figurative gifts: harmony, thoughtfulness, a mix of traditions new and old, and childlike wonder and joy. We savored every single minute we could with family and friends, cozy fires, Christmas records, Christmas movies and the dreamy glow of the Christmas tree as it decorated the walls with tiny, glittery sparkles. I hope you had an amazing Christmas, too!!

And then Christmas ends for everyone, perhaps trickling over a day or two or maybe this whole week of in-between. I don't mean to sound overdramatic, or overly melancholy. If Christmas happened all year long, it wouldn't hold the magic that it does for so many people. The better my Christmas, the more I feel at peace to let all its gifts of joy and love and cheer energize me going forward into the New Year. So in this week of in-between, I am unwinding gently from the jam-packed daily schedules and the endless post-it note t0-do lists that have decorated every surface of my life in recent months. I am uncovering my desk again, and getting back to the daily practices that nurture my creative soul. I am embracing silence again, and learning how to enjoy the gift of blank space, within and without. I am seeking a sort of detox in my days, to help prepare me for the gift of a brand new year.
I am considering the start of this New Year to come: what kinds of goals do I want to embrace and set for myself? I love this goal-setting process, but if I over think it or do not practice gentleness in my expectations, I can turn it into a punitive chore that rubs my nose in my failures from years past. As much as I want to be goal-driven all year long and not join the ranks of all the people who only set goals at the New Year, there is a reason this tradition of goal-setting has stood the test of time. There is something that just feels more significant about the official start of a brand new year, a year that is documented differently from any other even simply each time we have to write the date on something.

How do you create goals? Reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (read my thoughts here!) has given me some great new perspective on goals this year, and I have been saving the accompanying Happiness Project One-Sentense Journal and her new book, Happier At Home as fresh starts for my New Year. I am obviously really motivated by structured goals, checklists, and specificity, but sometimes that can limit me too, so I am trying to open my mind to consider the idea of "goals" from more varied perspectives! 

I am really lucky to have some amazing friends who inspire me with their own creative lives and accomplishments! I was really inspired by this post from our friend Elsie! Her "28 before 29" concept helped me to realize how important it is that goals always be growing and changing and developing. Her list challenged me to be more ambitious, and this is one of my favorite things about Elsie. Watching her achieve her dreams and reach for new ones inspires me a lot! Her post made me reflect on how limited my goals had been year to year, sort of a broken record that only made me feel worse about myself every time I replayed it. So last year, as I made my goals, I tried to be inventive, specific and ambitious, and one of my goals that I wrote down but didn't tell anyone for a long time was to begin this blog. Sometimes you have to write it down just to admit a goal to yourself, before you can see where it will lead you! 

If you're not an obsessive list-maker like I am, there are still SO many ways to consider your goals and find inspiration to make your New Year what you want it to be. Our friend Heidi, who is an ambitious, creative storyteller and artist, recently told us that  at the beginning of the New Year, she often chooses a word that she wants to define her year to come. Focusing on that word has helped her to clearly aim her choices and goals throughout the year in line with that theme. I haven't thought of a word yet for myself, but I really love this idea and what a great challenge, especially for someone as obsessed with words as I am! What would your word be?

I want this week of in-between, these last two days before the New Year officially begins, to build me up and make me feel excited for the year to come. I want to review the growth of the year that has just passed, and see the incredible potential in beginning again. How do you think about your goals and prepare to make new ones? Is your list already made or do you wait until the New Year starts? Are you a list maker or do you think more abstractly about your goals? I would love to hear how this works for you so I can consider my own goals from more perspectives! 

(Loved the way these display windows at Anderson's Bookshop in Downtown Naperville mixed Christmas decor with one of my favorite things: books!)


  1. Wow, what a gem. You remind me a lot of myself and what I do before the new year and how it feels to me. It seems like the day after Christmas that week before new years either comes really fast or really slow.. but each day builds up with excitement. You become in a mood where you want to sit and think about how the year has been and looking back. I love how you used the word goal instead of resolution.. I prefer goal too. I love going through pictures and my journal on New Years Eve and it is such a big motivator to keep going because if I want to see more of this life and the simple pleasures that I love so much then I will continue to find my joy that comes from these. I adore my middle class life, couldn't ask for a better one because I do not want to forget about those people that inspire me and motivate me every single day, those people that make life so amazing, more than you know.. and those people who are the reason why you smile so much. That is my motivation for my goals for 2013.

    Every year my church has a word they go by, they share it with everyone and encourage people to pray it over them for the new year. This years is hope..


    Humble was the first to get my attention because I don't want to be in a hurry to accomplish my goals as soon as the new year starts. I want to take it easy, I'm in no hurry. The problem is not really accomplishing those goals at the new years it keeping that motivation to do them. I think true motivation comes when our whole heart is into it and we vow and determine that nothing will get in the way or distract us from accomplishing that goal.. motivation should be a goal to because we want joy in our live and you get unbelievable and extraordinary joy when you have such a burning motivation.

    1. Thank you for sharing this! It is so neat to hear what words others are choosing this year. :) Best of luck with your lists and goals this year!! xo

  2. I can absolutely relate to the list-making thing.. I do it to. I love to journal so I'm always making lists to sometimes for everything. =) Including a list of goals.. I pray over them and take them with me to my hometown's New Years celebration and right before midnight I just declare that it is in God's hands and I'm trusting those goals to Him.

    The new year always feel different to me, as soon as the clock strikes midnight.. it feels so different to me. I love that feeling, its one the greatest feelings in the world. First of all because when the clock does strike midnight I'm surrounded by the community people in my hometown, about 8 to 10,00 people, there's fireworks, confetti flying everywhere.. couples kissing... oh of my biggest simple pleasures EVER. <3 Then the local band that plays has a tradition of playing Don't Stop Believing by Journey.. and everyone sing a-long.. that right there is a a motivation. I dont know what it is with being in my hometown for New Years but I do it because its one of the biggest motivators ever. I cherish my hometown so very much, I love everything about it and the fact that, that many people show up to celebrate a new beginning is just so heartfelt to me, it touches me so much to see our community come together.That inspiration stays with me all year, its like it fills my inspiration tank back up to last for the whole new year.

    I encourage people to open themselves up to the simple pleasures in life and the people they have in their life that keeps them smiling and inspires them. I encourage people to really open up to that, it gives you feelings unlike any other, it gives you a motivation to do anything and everything. Your heart has to be in it though, don't hold back, let it be an inspiration to accomplish those new goals. I hope and pray that money, worry or fear be a wall for people to prevent them for accomplishing that goal they want to do. Because in the end, its priceless.. completely priceless, more worth it than you can imagine, that money, that fear, that worry you had prior to it.. didn't even matter at all in that moment. I want to very much keep that in mind for 2013..

    This was amazing, I absolutely loved it. Thank you so much, something I needed before the new year. God bless you Catherine.

  3. What a cool and interesting post! I just read Elsie's 4 Simple Goals post, so I'm definitely in a goal-making mood right now. :)


    1. Thanks, Lindsey!! Elsie's goal posts are SO great, she always inspires me so much! I hope that you are off to a great start with your goals this year and feeling really motivated and inspired! xo