A New Year, A New You
Traditionally, January is the one month in the year where we can look at ourselves, earnestly, and identify those resolutions we say each year at exactly the same time.
Through gritted teeth, we realise that another year has gone past, and there is a litany of phrases we come to associate with self-improvement:
We need to take stock. Get ready for a new you. Make 2017 your year!
Deep down in the darker recesses of the artist, the glossy magazine captions are quite likely to be despised.
Not just because of the seeming superficiality of such perennial sentiment, but perhaps the inevitable acknowledgement that we will eventually cave in to our basic habits once more, as we do every year.
We give up drinking. We eat less. We do more exercise.
But then there’s your birthday. Or a wedding. Or any such event which carves our discipline to shreds, and there’s a familiar, if short-lived joy in rediscovering that lifestyle.
It is short-lived, because, eventually, there is a quiet moment, where introspection taps gently on the door of our conscience.
Oh, dear. What have you done? You know how disappointing you are?
And for some, that voice is eventually silenced with a shrug, the habits back and brighter than ever, until the cold Christmas is over and the year has rolled to a stop.
Then in comes January, swaggering and winking at us with glorious possibility.
Perhaps this will be my year? I’ll do more running!
I’m not going to drink for…well, as long as possible!
I’m going to lose weight! I’m going to be the best ME I’ve ever been!
It’s the same old story.
It is POSSIBLE, though, that there COULD be a New You.
Whenever I set myself a goal, in life, or work, I aim to make it as realistic as possible, and within a timeframe that’s probable.
Being an actor means I have to step very quickly into the motivations of others.
How can it be so normal for me to regularly accept the goals of others, and yet, be so cautious with my own?
Perhaps it’s because we can discard those strange motivations as soon as the show’s over.
They are borrowed and dressed for a shiny moment, and will only be dimly recalled for similar fictional aspirations in the future.
But if 2016 has taught us anything, the cautious mind is not guaranteed to win anything.
Or to sustain itself.
This is 2017.
What may happen is anyone’s guess. All around, with family, friends and complete strangers, there is a feeling of uncertainty. Dread, even, for some. And who can blame us?
So many great artists passed away and so many strange events happened in 2016 to shake a collective expectancy to tatters.
What does this mean for us now, as actors?
Going to back to my original point, the question, is how do you feel about this year?
We can’t change some things which are on the horizon. But there is a great power in changing what you can control.
And that, is You.
Whatever you decide needs improving, or refining, or even introduced into your life so you can feel perceptibly IN CONTROL, or satisfied, or motivated. My advice is to do it.
It’s not even been a year for me when I started up this business of accent coaching.
In that time, I’ve met hundreds of people, and have been privileged to coach some of them, too.
All the goals I set in 2016 were laid in the bedrock of an intense effort to do well. To feel as though I was contributing to the self-improvement of others, on a weekly basis. And yes, to be paid for those services, as any professional must.
Certainly, there are challenges. But I am immensely satisfied with the progress and scope of this little venture, and look forward to over-achieving my wildest expectations for 2017.
Who knows? Maybe this WILL be our year…