Sharing the Stars

Sometimes, I think we try a little too hard to make light on New Year’s Eve.

One of the down sides of being in Sydney during the night was that there was so much ambient light from the street lamps, office blocks and party venues that when I looked up, all I could see was this flat orange black. Only the brightest stars were powerful enough to shine through.

Maybe we try and make up for that during New Year’s Eve, throwing huge constellations of dazzling colour into the air to celebrate a start to a new year of living. But that doesn’t necessarily work either. If you’re in the right position, all you need to do is look out.

We’re building ourselves reasons to not bother looking up, as though there’s nothing to see, nothing to hope for.

Could that be why we tangle ourselves up this time of year, looking over the last twelve months not for the great things that happened but for the fodder for the coming year’s batch of resolutions, the things we want to fix, to improve? It’s like we think we’re not really worth the good stuff that happens, at least not until we get (what we see as) the bad fixed.

Today, while you’re thinking about all the things you might, could, may, will resolve to do in 2012, I’d like to offer you a couple of stars of my own. It’s a weak pun, I know, but they’re a few of the articles that I’ve “starred” – marked as favourites – in Google Reader since I started using it in April of this year. It’s my hope that they help you continue the New Year the way you mean to start it.

A Compact Guide to Creating the Fitness Habit and Quashing the Self-Improvement Urge by Leo Babauta

These Posts: Are the perfect antidote to the stress of coming up with a bunch of arbitrary New Year’s Resolutions that you’re likely to end the year without achieving.

  • While the first starts off about fitness, it’s applicable to establishing any kind of new habit. Two habits I want to build next year are creating a fitness – okay, I’ll be honest here, muscle-building – routine and waking up at 5:30 to get some early writing done (after all, these books won’t write themselves).
  • The second, though, is a great piece for keeping some perspective in the midst of all this goal-setting and habit-forming; a little reminder that the best thing you can do right now and every moment that follows is be happy and let your next actions flow on from that state.

The Writer: I stumbled across Leo’s blog Zen Habits in April whilst looking for general productivity and specific writing tips and subscribed to it shortly after. When I got a bit tired of filling my own feed with too many writing / productivity blogs, Zen Habits’ relaxed, stress-free, expenditure-free approach to figuring out how to get the most out of life was an easy keeper. I strongly recommend you read Leo’s blog when modern life gets you down.

The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck, by Julien Smith

The Post: Is the first of Julien’s I read and got me hooked on his web log. One of the biggest challenges in changing the way you live is the idea in your head that other people may respect / like / appreciate the new / real you less. Julien slaps that viewpoint about the chops and suggests some ways you can overcome it and start doing what you really want to be doing.

The Writer: Julien’s an exception to… well, virtually every rule, but in a blogosphere which stresses that content must be both fresh and regular (as in, at least two posts a week), he keeps to his own goddamned schedule, thank you very much. Still, you’ll want to add him to your subscription list, because every post he makes will grab you by the lapels and shake you up (see: We Need Dungeon Masters For The Real WorldThe Complete Guide to Learning from Criminals and Everything has been done. Give up now).

Tonight, when you stand under that New Year’s Eve sky, I hope you’ll look at the stars we try to hard to outshine and decide – or remind yourself – that you’re good enough right now to shoot for them.

And I hope you share those stars with the ones you love!

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