Happy 2009! (One Day Early)

December 31, 2008


Above: An "eraser" carving I made from one of my Daily Dot drawings, January 1, 2008, 4 x 6 inches on Folio paper.

I'm posting this on the last day of the 2008 because I want to share my New Year's Day Ritual with you, in the hope that you might be convinced to try it too.

A very wise artist friend told me years ago that she tried to do a little bit of everything she loved on New Year's Day. This set her intention for doing those things repeatedly throughout the year.

I immediately adopted this scheme and have been happily doing it ever since. It works much better for me than resolutions (there are no recriminations or regrets). The worst case scenario is that I go to bed on New Year's Day exhausted from being blissfully busy. How's that for setting a template for your days? And if you don't get to everything on your list there is still a sense of accomplishment and a sense of focus, as well as a little patience and humility learned.

Part of my ritual was always to draw my dog Dottie (an Alaskan Malamute Bitch). I was drawing her every day when I first started the New Year's Day scheme. You can see some of those drawings at the Daily Dots section of my visual journals on my website.

But I like to do a lot of other things too. I like to read, and write letters, and work on writing projects, paint, bead, and sketch, and I also like to make eraser carvings so I can send prints to friends. And so it goes. The list is quite long now and includes all those things (happily I still have a large selection of Dottie drawings to pull from so this year again I'll make a new carving). The list also includes baking bread, exercising, walking, sketching while out on the walk (even though it's cold!), and spending time with Dick.

That's a lot to get into one day. I could fret about it, but instead I saw the wisdom in my friend's plan and I only try to do each thing for a very short and manageable time.

It really works. I end up getting all the things I love doing into one great day (even when our neighbors burnt down our garage on New Year's Day 2000, but that's another story).

The beauty of this plan, even though you might not have a lot of finished items to show for it (well I'll have some bread, an eraser carving print, and a bracelet to list just a few things—think small manageable tasks and projects) is that I do end the day with a tremendous feeling of energy and accomplishment and satisfaction.

I also end up hopeful and focused for the future and that's probably the best gift I could give myself on any day.

I find that this approach to the new year makes me more productive everyday of that year. I have lived in one day the intention I might just have made resolutions about in past years! My mind and body know what it is to carry that intention into life.

So tomorrow, I encourage you to spend your time doing a little bit of all the things you love doing. Set your intention for a great new year.

  1. Reply

    Oh wow that’s a great idea! I love it and will try it tomorrow. 🙂

    My Grandma always said that whatever you are doing on New Years Eve is how your year would be. Tonight we plan on spending time with friends which is a great way to spend a year.

    • Velma
    • December 31, 2008

    Excellent, Roz, a wonderful idea. I often do things I like on New Year’s, but I’ve never been intentional about it. I may give it a try. Happy Day!

  2. Reply

    Great idea, Roz! And I like that you still keep up with Dottie, connecting your past with the future in a way. Happy New Year!

    • Roz
    • December 31, 2008

    Tsoniki, I’m glad you’re going to try it! Have a great day. (And a great evening tonight too.)
    Velma I hope you have a good go at this too.

    Marilyn, yep, for awhile at least there are some drawings to call on. It helps me focus a bit of gratitude while I do the cutting.

    • Becky
    • January 1, 2009

    I do the same thing. Read somewhere many years ago that what you do on New Years day is what you will do all year. My plans for today will include horseback riding, reading, knitting and sketching. I try to keep the list short and doable. Unfortunately I will also be cooking.
    Becky near Brainerd MN

  3. Reply

    Hi Roz,

    I love this idea and will put it into practice today. A little bit of everything really suits me anyway – I think it’s my unspoken motto!

    I’m also intrigued by your eraser carvings of the Dot drawings. I’ve been wanting to make a couple of stamps for myself, but could not think of an image I really wanted to use (in my mind stamps are always stylized decorative images), but you have opened up the idea of using more realistic drawings.

    All the best in the New Year!

    • Roz
    • January 1, 2009

    Becky, have a great day laying the groundwork for the year, and cook something fun so that can be fun all year long too!
    (I just baked 3 loaves of bread while doing my art projects and it took no time at all, I have new sponges in the fridge for tomorrow, I’m way along in my projects, and I can have a sandwich with fresh bread later— sadly I won’t be going for a horse ride which sounds like great fun.)

    • Roz
    • January 1, 2009

    Anna Maria, good luck with your new rituals today. And have fun with the stamps. They can be anything you want, from intense realism to total abstract patterns (I have some brayers I’ve carved so I can roll paint in patterns on my canvases). It just has to be something that YOU want to use over and over and over again. It’s going to be great fun coming up with stuff!


  4. Reply

    Great post, Roz, and a terrific blog…I just found you via Making a Mark. I’d love to hear the story about the burning down of the garage, and I’ll bet lots of other readers would, too 😉 I wish you a happy, healthy, creative, fun and properous New Year.

    • Roz
    • January 4, 2009

    Jandi, thanks for your note. Glad you found your way here. Someday I’m sure I’ll tell that garage story, but I sort of have to be in the mood if you can imagine. After it happened I was worried about leaving Dottie (who was still alive) alone in the house for worry that they would burn the house down. They had had two other fires before and in no instance did they alert us and in one instance they threw a burning mattress against our house while trying to save their belongings! Clearly living near college students is not always a good thing.

    But one day, when I am well rested and fortified with chocolate I’ll probably write about it. It is still painful; we lost a lot in the fire that is not replaceable.

    On a happier note, they only lived there another 8 months!


  5. Reply

    Hi Roz, I do this on my birthday (which is the winter solstice) so all and all around the same time. My New Year’s is the Tibetan Buddhist one usually around early March and I try to accomplish my most desired habits on that day too. I think it is fine to have lots of fresh starts! On this year’s birthday I sketched, I wrote, I walked and meditated. I talked to my friends and family who are far away. Oh and I started the day with what the fella and I call ‘the birthday bounce’ which I leave to your imagination. I think I also made candy and ate a great meal cooked by the fella.

  6. Reply

    Jan, I too like to to do a review on my b-day, even thought it’s in January so it comes shortly after my “public blog” one. I’m glad you had such a great start and continuation of our day!!!

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