Wellbeing Online Editor, Flora Doble, looks at the small creative ways in which she adds meaning and purpose to her days.
With 2017 looming, it is likely that you have thought about making some New Year’s Resolutions. I, personally, have never been any good at New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because I don’t have the motivation to maintain them, nor, tragically, can I ever think of anything particularly urgent that I want to achieve.
Also, I find popular resolutions like ‘get fit’ or ‘eat healthy’ just disappear into the ether, becoming another thing I will ‘do one day’, and, eventually, a notion that is completely forgotten as I unashamedly reach for another Aldi Gourmet Confit Duck and Boozy Berry flavoured crisp at 23:43…
Sorry for that uncomfortable insight into my life, but I hope you get my point. Without a quantifiable resolution, my oath of self-improvement becomes nothing more than empty words.
Yet, I do value and crave what New Year’s Resolutions provide, that is, a purpose for the coming year, a goal to strive towards and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Last year, at the height of my depression, finding purpose to my days was a constant struggle as my brain was convinced that there was no reason to be or do because my life was inherently meaningless.
Finding your ‘life’s purpose’ is an age-old challenge and, weirdly enough, I don’t have the magical solution to finding it, if you even believe such a thing exists or can be found.
However, I have found a number of fun creative projects that have provided some purpose and structure to my days, even if relatively minor. I would encourage anyone to do them.
1 Second Everyday
On the 1 Second Everyday January 2015, I started using 1 Second Everyday, an app that lets you document your life in one second videos. Everyday, I take a one second video and upload it to an in-app calendar which combines all the videos together chronologically. This creates a surprisingly emotional video of your life or, in my case, a worrying documentation of how often I order Deliveroo.
Originally, I started the project to give myself something to do daily, and even forced myself to plan things to do for the sake of a good video. Now, healthier and happier, 1 Second Everyday is a happy by-product of my life, rather than the motivation for it, but I cannot deny how helpful it was initially in giving me a reason to get out and do things.
Doing 1 Second Everyday has made me do more than ever before and, at the same time, made me realise how much I get up to and that I'm not some loser who sits around all day twiddling my thumbs. Having a daily project like 1 Second Everyday gives me a daily purpose and I hope to continue it for many years.
I have always wanted to start a Happiness Jar and I’ve decided 2017 is the year to finally do it.
The idea is that everyday you write down something which made you happy that day and put it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year, you open the jar and get to relive all the lovely and joyous things that happened to you over the past year.
Like 1 Second Everyday, I find daily projects give my days structure and purpose and, especially in the case of the Happiness Jar, a positive event or moment to look out for. Also, the happy event may not necessarily be something that happened to you, but something nice you did for another person.
So, the Happiness Jar not only encourages you to look for happiness in your day but, also, encourages you to spread happiness to those around you. Spreading happiness sounds like a pretty good purpose to me.
Q&A a Day
Q&A a Day is a journal which, upon completion, shows you what was going through your head each day for five years of your life. Everyday there is a different question like “if you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?” or “on a scale of one to ten, how happy are you?” and, with the same day of each year on the same page, you can see easily how your answers change over time.
I must admit I’ve failed with my Q&A a Day journal. Early in January I went on holiday and forgot to bring the book so I messed up immediately, having to retrospectively add answers which defeated the point so I just stopped entirely.
However, I want to start it properly in 2017. Q&A a Day will be another daily project that provides a definite activity for the day, even if only a few seconds long.
Also,Q&A a Day is a representation of your growth, your character, and the big and trivial parts of your life. Daily questions encourage you to reflect on your life and to be conscious of your past and future self too.
Questions relating to your desires, your relationships and your environment highlight the different areas in your life in which you can find purpose and meaning. Seeing your answers change as you yourself change provides an important reminder that, maybe, having one big purpose isn’t really the be-all and end-all when you can have lots of smaller temporary purposes instead.
So, for me, I find purpose in my creative projects. Creating something and seeing it grow is an exciting prospect for me, and nurturing that project gives me a reason to live that day. Of course, this won’t work for everyone and I’m sure a lot of people find these ideas extremely gimmicky.
However, regardless, I think that these activities show that purposeful actions do not have to be big and exciting. As long as they give purpose and meaning to you, even if it’s only for one second of your day, that’s reason enough to live your life.
Or, alternatively, just listen to this song.
Featured Image: Unsplash