Write on: In the habit

When I was a kid, I always viewed New Year’s as an ending instead of a beginning. Sometimes it felt like it was hard not to, with all those year-in-review specials on VH1 and retrospective Time covers.

In the weeks leading to Dec. 31, I’d load up on nostalgia, bingeing MTV roundups and AOL articles about the biggest moments of the year. I’d take a personal inventory, too, cataloguing my favorite moments and pictures into journals and photo albums.

So by time the ball would drop on New Year’s Eve, all I could think was: How can next year ever live up to this year?

Looking at my blank calendar on Jan. 1—full of 365 unplanned days—was intimidating. Anything could happen, and back then that seemed more scary than exciting.

Of course, by the time I became an adult, the conversation shifted to resolutions—and thinking about those 52 weeks proactively instead of reactively.

While I haven’t made a traditional resolution in a while, I do appreciate the new year’s push to reexamine certain things in your life.

Instead, I’ve focused on making small changes. Some new habits I actually managed to maintain in 2018 included cooking at home every week, obsessively researching and implementing a skin care routine (praise be!), and deleting the Facebook app from my phone (wow—who knew how much time would be saved by getting rid of a button on my phone?).

This year, there are a couple new habits I’d like to focus on.

The first is to donate or sell at least two things for every unnecessary item I purchase—ie., more boots that won’t fit on my already-crammed shoe rack, another throw pillow cluttering up my couch. It’s better for the environment, my small apartment, my wallet, my mental space … the list goes on. I’ve gotten into a pretty bad routine of making impulse purchases lately. (Seriously, does anyone else feel like looking at their phone just means getting inundated with a bunch of cleverly concealed ads?) Time for drastic measures. I will hold myself accountable, starting now.

The second is to organize my phone photos. I synced my photos to iCloud last year, which means plenty of space for all my what-I-ate-for-dinner pictures and shaky concert videos. But the iPhone’s photo folder system is not working for me, guys. I have 29,000 photos from the past two years on my phone and can’t find anything. I’m hoping to research a program or system to connect my photos to my computer and then organize them by year, month, category, etc. (If you know of one, holla!) Anything is better than the endless scroll to find that buried photo I need for work.

And lastly, the one you probably really want to know about: The 225 team is working on ways to better connect with our readers. Our ongoing goal has always been constantly improving the 225 print copies you pick up at newsstands.

But for 2019, you can expect to see an even greater push to upgrade our digital presence, too. We’ve already started working on upping our video game, as well as posting more Instagram Stories and Facebook Live videos. You should be seeing more of that in the future, so be sure to follow our social channels. We are also adding a second edition of our food e-newsletter, 225 Dine, in order to keep up with all the exciting new restaurant openings. Turn to page 13 for more about that, and be sure to subscribe at 225batonrouge.com.

Do you make use of the new year as an opportunity to improve your life, even if in smaller ways?

For me, these mini resolutions have been game-changing. And maybe it’s all these little shifts pieced together that have led me to stop dwelling on New Year’s endings and focus only on beginnings.

In fact, I already picked my new planner for this year: On the cover, it says in big, gold lettering: “This will be my year.”

In the past, I never would’ve purchased something like that. It seemed like too bold a proclamation—because, well, what if it wasn’t my year?

But now, my mentality is: I will make it my year—no matter what happens.

This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.