I have a confession to make: I really struggle to make my own New Year’s Resolutions.
Maybe it’s all the hype and stress that goes into the holidays but come January 1st, I find myself more exhausted than anything. All I want to do is to curl up in a ball under a heated blanket and eat a giant bowl of pasta. Slash not even that because I’m feeling bloated from holiday eating and UGHHHH.
So let’s just say the idea of sticking to- let alone creating- intentions that I set for myself are near fruitless.
Even if I do try to sit down and come up with resolutions, I get grumpy and pessimistic.
“Yeah right, like you’re really going to follow through on that.” “What other year have you actually stuck to resolutions?” “Don’t even bother.”
I’m like the Grinch, only without the Christmas cheer all around her because that ship sailed two weeks ago.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who this happens to?
But wallowing in my post-holiday blues is not productive. Nor is endlessly scrolling through Instagram hearing about everyone else’s fab-u-luss 2018 highlights and why this year was so #blessed.
The way I see it, resolutions are goal-oriented. And if you’re a Type-A person like me, when you don’t reach your goals, you feel like you’ve failed. It’s a crummy feeling.
But then I had a thought…
What if instead of focusing on resolutions, I focus on ways to stay inspired in the coming year? Finding inspiration is rooted in exploration and encouragement. It’s all about what drives your mind and what moves your soul. It’s about possibility and growth. And inspiration doesn’t leave room for failure, because there is no right or wrong path to take with feeling inspired.
Inspiration can come in many forms, such as exploring your own creativity, searching for things that move you, or embracing possibility. And according to this fascinating study, inspiration has been found to lead to increased creativity, which suggests that inspiration can help to break through barriers and walls in your current creative process.
So with that being said, here are a few places I have been looking to for inspiration recently:
1) In Admirable Artists’ Work
Artists like Ellie Baygulov, Monica Jiandani, and Regan Baroni are huge sources of inspiration for me. The way they see the world, the way they work with light, and the thoughtfulness with which they approach their compositions moves my soul. And a major key: I find that looking through inspirational work off of social media and on a platform purely devoted to imagery changes the way I take it in. It becomes less about sharing and more about the art itself.
2) Through Reading Books on Business
Sometimes when I find myself feeling down about my work, I like to read books on business and strategy. While it doesn’t directly relate to creativity, I find that it helps me to gain clarity in my own work and to focus on how I can best execute my ideas. Some of my favorite business-related books are The Originals (all about going against the grain and not conforming #stickittotheman) , Zero to One (a must for anyone who is looking to create a business that is truly meaningful and enduring), and Tools of Titans (great for learning about the habits and tactics some of the most successful people in the world).
3) By Connecting With a Community
You know that feeling of exhilaration when you’re at coffee with a friend and everything you say leads to five other things and you just feel like you could talk for hours? That’s the joy of connecting with your community. As in, the people who totally, like, get you. It’s something you just can’t do on your own, and something that- for me at least- leaves you feeling inspired AF. So when it comes to your creative goals, connecting with a community of like-minded individuals who share similar ideals, goals, and motivations as you can be one of the best sources of inspiration out there. We have made this a pillar of Foodtography School, which is why from now until Thursday 8pm ET, we’re doing a New Year New You flash sale, giving you $50 off Foodtography School plus all 5 of our paid presets (that’s $100 total savings!).
4) By Walking Away
Alright, hear me out. While it seems counter-productive, sometimes walking away from your work is crucial to increasing your ability to absorb inspiration. Just like our bodies need sleep to function properly, our minds need downtime to recharge. Taking a day (or heck! A week!) off to travel to a new place, visit with a friend, go to a museum, or plan a fun outing with your S.O. are all great ways to get out of work-mode and give yourself a brain break. They make it so that when you come back to your work, you are more likely to be able to fully take in inspiration as it comes to you.
So for 2019, I guess my goal is to feel inspired af and when I’m not (hello, January in Boston), to allow myself the proper amount of time to get re-inspired.
6 large egg whites, room temperature (so important!)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped finely
6 ounces lemon curd (Trader Joe’s has a fantastic one!)
1 cup kumquats, sliced in half
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 200°F.
Using a pencil, draw an outline of an 8-inch cake pan on parchment paper. Flip the paper over and place on a cookie tray. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, using a mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. In small additions, beat in the granulated sugar until completely combined, then add in cornstarch, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on high speed for 4-5 minutes. At this point the meringue should be very stiff and glossy.
Spoon the meringue onto the parchment paper and, using a cake scraper, form the meringue into a tall cylindrical disk within the 8 inch circle you previously outlined with the cake pan. Using the cake scraper, create a slight divot in the center of the meringue, like a volcano’s center. Last, use the cake scraper to create diagonal lines up the meringue.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes, then turn off heat, crack the door of the oven so it stays ajar, and allow meringue to sit for an additional hour in the oven. It is in this hour that the meringue will dry out completely. Then, remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
While the meringue is cooling, whip up the topping! In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over the meringue, then top with white chocolate shavings, lemon curd, kumquats, and sliced almonds!