I Love Resolutions … but I Don’t Love Writing about Them

A New Year’s resolution literally changed my life: My decision to buy only from local stores from one year and to blog about it grew into my publishing a book, opening a bookstore, going on a bookstore tour, and ultimately meeting my husband (kind of). I love resolutions, and I love the fact that, once a year, we all evaluate our lives and think hard about how to make them better. I think resolutions are beautiful, and I think they’re fun.

Of course, not all resolutions work out. Sometimes we take on too much. Sometimes we just don’t have the discipline necessary to finish. Often, it’s just not the right time. I tend to be a cross-the-finish-line-no-matter-the-cost kind of girl, and in the past few years, I’ve been trying to get better at giving up when my resolutions just don’t make sense.

Regardless, I’ve made a lot of positive changes in my life based on resolutions and challenges, many of them starting on New Year’s Day. This month, I thought I’d try to share a few on the blog in the hopes that sharing my struggles and successes might help other people who are making commitments this year to get tips, inspiration or even just commiseration from my story.

This is sort of tough for me. One way I try to maintain balance between sharing life on social media and in blogs (and in a book) is to have some parts of my life that don’t show up on the internet. I didn’t write much about being a vegetarian, for example, or about why I chose to start eating meat after 13 years. I didn’t blog about losing 40 pounds. I don’t blog much about exercise, even though it’s a regular part of my life.

Part of the reason for this is those things don’t seem to fit my “brand,” which is mostly about localism, books and writing. Personal brands can be good because they provide some structure, and they help provide readers with what they’re looking for so that someone who’s following me to get book reviews, for example, isn’t continually spammed with my thoughts about skin care or traffic or whatever. But personal brands can be limiting, too, because whatever we’re branded by doesn’t really define us as people. I’m still a localist, but I buy from both local shops and big box stores now. I still love books, but I don’t own a bookstore anymore, and I rarely even review books lately. I guess my life is more well-rounded now, which is great for me personally, but a little more difficult to translate on the internet.

Another reason I haven’t shared some of these things is because they’re so personal. I loved sharing my buy-local journey through my blog, but when it came to trying to lose weight a few years ago, I just wasn’t ready to be so open about something I was embarrassed by. When I started Konmari (an organizational method), I was so skeptical about whether or not it would work that I didn’t want to write about it. (I did end up blogging about it, but not until I was finished.) Some things are difficult enough to navigate through without trying to open up your journey to the whole world.

But now that I have navigated through those things (at least through the first couple of years), I think it’s time to share them. So in January, I’m planning on writing about a few of the goals and resolutions I’ve made in the past that really have changed my life for the better. My blogs and social media this month might be a little different this month. Maybe that’s off-brand. Maybe it will hurt my follower counts and comments and all that. But maybe it’ll help someone who’s struggling though some of the same things to find some common ground and some ideas on making it through the toughest part of their resolutions (i.e. January). And maybe it’ll help me, too — to be a little less regimented about what I’m posting about a little less scared of breaking out of my brand.

Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist, a book about buying from locally owned stores and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she works as Communications Director at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find her as @crollwagen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and most other social media platforms.

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