As we ring in the new year, the refrain in our offices here in New York City among women from all different backgrounds who range in age from 23 to 48 is: Now What? Inspired by an interview we did with Jennifer Pastiloff, a writer, yogi and self-empowerment guru we are asking ourselves what are the small steps we can take every day to get us closer to the goals that often feel overwhelming or out of reach? For those facing grown children and the disruption of so many industries we’d poured ourselves into over the course of a couple of decades, it’s an especially relevant question. A question that leads to others like What do I want the second half of my life to look like? No, really, what do I want? Or more broadly, What do I stand for? And then, How do I get there? The same line of questioning applies to those of us just out of college as we plot our career paths in an increasingly decentralized professional landscape where a bachelor’s degree guarantees almost nothing but a mountain of debt.
See, we are sort of done with the empty promises of dry January and 30-day cleanses or the KonMari method of purging our closets as the new year’s piece de resistance. Sure less drinking and a clean closet is something to aspire to, but if you have a startup that requires quick response to 300 communications a day or kids with weekend soccer games that take you to the outer reaches of the tri-state area —The Great Closet Reorg of 2019 is probably not going to happen.
We have fatigued of grand gesture New Year’s Resolutions because they’re just not that productive, and worse, they set you up for feelings of failure and paralysis. Instead, we are asking ourselves, what are the handful of things we can do once, or on a regular basis, that will bring us some combination of joy, satisfaction, and a reprieve from regret and guilt.
Like RBG and Mueller, we’ve decided we want to play the one-ruling-at-a-time long game. So instead of those lofty “lose 15 pounds” or “become a successful entrepreneur” goals that are bound to make us feel like shit about ourselves when we don’t hit them by February, we say this year go small. And while we aren’t big believers in overspending on gear you won’t end up using, we do believe that sometimes the well-designed tools of the trade can help you reach your goals. Take the donabe, for example, a handmade Japanese claypot that’s so pretty you’ll be inspired to make hearty yet clean Japanese soups and stews on a regular basis. Or instead of “Make it onto the Forbes women to watch” list, register that domain name for your great idea as your first checklist item. And while you are at it, make a tiny bit of room in your budget so you can hire someone for $20 an hour to file your mounting pile of insurance claims and focus on your business.
We also want to give you (and us) the permission to not always be chasing a goal. Even the tiniest of indulgences—say a new fragrance like the one we found from Maison Louis Marie that’s so evocative of some other sexier version of ourselves—have the power to bring disproportionate pleasure. And shouldn’t that be the goal sometimes?
On The Helm’s personal Now What? action plan for 2019 is a commitment to providing you with essential products and services from female founders, as well as the critical information you need to live your goals, whatever they may be.