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Friday, February 23

Begin as you mean to go | Advice from Leigh Bardugo

Friday, February 23
I know I'm not alone when I complain that 2018 has been a rough year.

Around my house, we rang in the new year with a nasty case of flu, followed by sinus/respiratory infections and a cough that will not quit. Add to that some home issues that involved taking a jackhammer to a bathroom floor, and—you know—the general crap state of affairs in our country at the moment, and I'm ready to write the first two months of 2018 off completely.

Mind you, things really aren't bad. A cough is annoying, but not life-threatening. We get to tackle an unexpected bathroom mini-renovation that was on our to-do list (albeit much lower than other more pressing items, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). We have exciting plans for vacations later this year. We get to watch movies like Black Panther.

But it can be hard to focus on the positives when situations compound and make you feel like curling up in the fetal position in a dark room.

Just before Christmas, I got an email newsletter from one of my favorite authors, Leigh Bardugo. I've had the privilege of hearing Leigh speak at book festivals, and have talked with her personally. Every time, I'm reminded of just how cool she is. In the newsletter, she offered some advice that really resonated, and I've revisited it frequently over the past 55-ish days.

1. This is the time of year when people start to think about transforming themselves. Goals, resolutions, and grand ambition are all lovely things and I want to encourage you to think big. But I also want to encourage you to embrace all of the great things about yourself and all of your victories of the past year—no matter how quiet or small. You do not have to go on a diet in the New Year, or write 100,000 words, or eat only kale and horseradish, or hit the gym every day, or post something new on Instagram every week, or follow a 22-step skincare regimen. Your job is to take care of yourself. Period. Advertisers prey on our insecurities and anxieties at holiday time, so be gentle and generous with your heart and remember that you are effing spectacular.

2. Begin as you mean to go on! Every January 1st, I like to make sure I spend a little bit of time working on something I care about or want to pursue in the New Year. Maybe you want to cook at home or learn a new language or make progress on a novel or reach out to your friends more regularly. On New Year's Day, commit to devoting a small amount of time to that thing. Begin as you mean to go on—make that promise to yourself. (And if you do it, tag it #BAYMTGO so I can see!) I'll be doing some writing sprints on my IG stories and you're very welcome to join me whether you're cleaning your apartment or revising a new story or baking me a pie. Bonus points if you're baking me a pie.

After the mess that was January, I wanted to start 2018 over in February. But then this month wasn't much better, so I started thinking about starting over in March. There's always a possibility that March will continue the trend, however ... Before I know it, I could have spent all of 2018 trying to hit reset and looking for the "right" time to begin.

That's no way to live. And even though Leigh sent this advice as a new year's suggestion, I think it can be applied to any sort of restart. (Besides, the Gregorian calendar is a kind of arbitrary thing.)

I'm not quite sure where to start, but you can be darn sure that I'm going to begin as I mean to go once I figure it out.

On March 1.

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