For the past few years, as I’ve read, watched and listened to writers and storytellers I admire, when talking about writing and storytelling, they often say that the only way to get better is to sit down; roll up our sleeves; and write and tell stories as much as we can as often as we can.
When it comes to writing and storytelling — as is the case with so many things in life — there are no shortcuts. In order to get better, you have to practice. You have to put in the time and do the work. No one else can do it for you.
I’ve definitely seen the truth of this in my own life.
Last year around this time, prompted by a Medium post by Chris Castiglione, I took a closer look at what I wanted to accomplish in my 26th year, my year as a 25-year-old. At the end of the year, what would I be proud of? What did I want to do more of? Less of? How did I want to learn and grow?
I swam competitively for 18 years and, as a result, am no stranger to setting goals — some quite lofty — and writing down what it’ll take to accomplish those goals. But I’d never thought through and written down goals for my life before. Why not give it a try?
I used Chris’ post as a guide for picturing my 26th year. It took me several weeks to nail down exactly what I wanted to focus on, but I honed in on some key areas, wrote everything down and printed a copy to keep on hand in my apartment, a road map of sorts for the year ahead.
The goal wasn’t to plan my life but rather to make sure it didn’t pass me by, to make sure I was actively engaged in making the most of my next 365 days.