December 31, 2014

The Monthly Challenge: A New Year's Resolution Alternative

Sweatshirt, Love Nail Tree ($50)

What does my newly-cropped hair have to do with new year's resolutions?

Quite a bit, actually.

Last December, I promised myself four things for 2014. I said I would:
  1. go to whichever college with a smile and my intense drive, regardless of whether it was where I had originally hoped
  2. finish high school with nothing below an A-
  3. complete an official half marathon in under two hours
  4. chop my hair off and donate it after graduation (length and charity TBD)
I checked off #2 and #3 before June, and think I did a decent job of #1. I hardly regret going to Amherst--I'm grateful that I chose liberal arts.

Number 4, however, was a real struggle.

Halfway through the year, I even dedicated a post to a progress check of my goals, where I attempted to justify my lack of attention to my fourth promise. I decided that my wording allowed a loophole--"after graduation" could mean one day, one week, one month, years. I even decided that donating blood to the Red Cross was an acceptable substitute for donating my hair to Locks of Love.

I failed to address the real issue:

I was scared.

Scared of looking like a man, scared of letting go of my hair, scared of being stereotyped. Scared of change. 

I'm not scared anymore. 

After my first semester of college, I was tired--tired of feeling inadequate, but doing nothing about it. Ir's one thing to daydream about improving, branching out. It's another thing to actually do it. 

Then, I stumbled upon my old diaries, where I realized that I had debated getting a pixie for 3.5 years.

It was beyond time. 

So, as of December 30th, I have officially completed my original 2014 goals. 

I'm not expecting a haircut to change my life. I am hoping, however, that tackling the uncomfortable, the scary, will become a habit of mine.

Enter the monthly challenge, inspired by my running buddy.

Last year, in lieu of creating new year's resolutions, she dedicated herself to achieving a new goal each month. For example, she gave up social media with me when I went on my fast for Lent, and then I joined her in going vegan for a couple weeks in July.

This year, I plan to follow suit, because that way, I can't put things off for the entire year--I only have one month. While one month doesn't lend itself to anything grandiose, like running a marathon, it does encourage small change over time more effectively than a yearly resolution does. And who says I can't throw in a couple larger goals on the side?

I don't have the entire year mapped out because my plans will inevitably change, but here's what I will strive to accomplish the first few months:

January: spend 20 minutes a day on internship and scholarship applications
February: memorize my violin piece, Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, first movement
March: blog once a week
April: meet someone new every day
Other ideas: give up social media again, go vegan for an entire month, go to bed every day by 11:30pm, ask for something I don't think I'll get every day, try a new activity like debate or community engagement

Here's to conquering the intimidating and always striving to maximize our potential.

As for fashion, I found this sweatshirt appropriate for this post because "bon courage" is French for best wishes. It's not your typical "good luck," though. "Bon courage" denotes a struggle where inner strength will determine the outcome (French Stack Exchange).

So bon courage to you as we enter the new year. May you tackle your challenges, strive to improve, and discover empowerment.

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Join the conversation!

  1. Go you, Lily! I think your hair looks beautiful too. You can achieve anything you set your heart on. X

  2. You are always so inspiring and hardworking...what a wonderful idea!
    I'm so impressed by your bravery in getting a pixie - I've always felt like only certain faces could pull off the bold and daring haircut. And yours is one of them! :)

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  3. wow, girl, you did it! respect! my hair is definitely not short when compared to yours but my (outrageous) hair type would look pretty bad when that short anyway :P yours looks pretty though!
    by the way, reaching and compliting all your goals is something not everyone can do so you go girl! you're definitely a fighter and a winner and it's great to read your thoughts!
    now, before I go - happy new year, Lily! and thank you so much for the comment you previously left me. your notes are always so sweet and thorough, a pleasure to read.

    Part of me

  4. LILY. Girl. I am so proud of your for cutting your hair. There is nothing wrong with short hair on a girl--heck, I know a many dude who thinks short hair on a girl is the cutest thing ever. Not that the opinion of dudes matter. I'm just trying to help argue against that "looking like a man thing." Psh. You are a lady no matter what you look like!

    That blogging once a week sounds like a rad resolution. I haven't really made any resolutions yet. I have some in my head that aren't really set in stone.

    Have a wonderful rest of your break, Lily! I'm rotting for you! I meant rooting. But rotting is hilarious.

  5. Hey girl! Thank you for your sweet comments and encouragement on my blog :) Made me grin!

    Holy cow, you sure can rock that pixie. I do this thing where I cut off my hair, then let it grow, then get sick of it and chop it off again. I loathe feeling attached to my hair...sometimes I have to remind myself, "Jana it's just hair!" haha

    I think I might need to steal your idea-making 1 new goal a month seems so much more manageable.

    Hope you are having a lovely New year so far!



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