My Awkwardly Phrased (But Honest) New Year’s Intention: “Go Big Or Go Home”

Yesterday, Alexandra and I did an interview with a lovely journalist. When her article is done, we’ll share it, but in the meantime, I’ll share this: She remarked on Alexandra’s very brave and inspiring new year’s resolution post, which you should read and comment on if you have not already. Then she asked me what mine was. I actually shared some on, along with 19 other healthy-living types, just the other day. I’m sticking to those, but…

Over a glass of prosecco, I came up with some others.

I’ve just gotten back from a much-needed jaunt to Miami with our buddy Anna. On our first night, we wrote out our intentions for 2013 on a scrap of paper provided for us by the bartender. Our lists were long! Less filled with resolutions than intentions, I’d say. Mine were all over the map, but if I had to peg them all to a theme, I’d go with this: “Go big or go home.” Which is what tumbled out of my mouth when this woman asked me about my plans for 2013.

I was instantly embarrassed. Who, other than frat boys and rappers, uses that line unironically? And yet I stand by it. That’s because last year, while full of important lessons and countless blessings, kind of kicked my ass. After being sick for many years, my older brother passed away. It’s a loss I still don’t have words for, even as I take comfort in (and often laugh out loud about) his wily, clever spirit, his pranks, and how caring he was as a father and a husband and a friend. So even if the words don’t quite come, I can tell you this: When you lose a person you love deeply and you’re still standing, it emboldens you a little. You grow up. You change on the inside.

So this year, I’m feeling brave. For me, going big means that at 34, I will finally learn how to drive a car (I seriously don’t understand how you people do this, but I’m determined to find out). It also means I’ll work and love and live with more ferocity than ever. Ultimately, it probably also means I’ll change my life in ways that are uncomfortable for a moment—but uncomfortable in the way a hamstring stretch is uncomfortable. Which is to say very—for like five seconds. And then you’re more nimble and pliable and relaxed than you were before. Fact is, no matter what part of you is changing, the letting go can hurt a little at first. But if you think about it, and if you’ll allow me to be incredibly corny for a second, I think we can all agree that letting go is actually the bravest thing you can do in almost every situation.

So… That’s me. Say what you want about resolutions, but I think it helps to think of them, as I said, as intentions rather than rules. So what spirit and focus do you want to bring to your life this year? We’d love to know. Really.

Inspiring and pretty photo via

23 Responses to “My Awkwardly Phrased (But Honest) New Year’s Intention: “Go Big Or Go Home””
  1. Victoria says:

    “Go Big Or Go Home” is such a bold phrase and works well for those planning to live conducive lives so it’s no surprise you use it as a lead way Siobhan. Loss has a way of enlightening a person. So glad you are making these challenges your goals.

    This is going to be my year because on New Year’s Eve I wore yellow underwear for good luck (as is the custom in the country where I was celebrating) and made a commitment to make things happen and not apologize for having more vision than sense. There has never been anything wrong with creative spirits except when they allow others to squash their creativity. This year if someone tells me no I will think “no for now, yes later” and move on. I feel very confident and bold and like a force of nature I’m bursting through one way or another!

  2. Siobhan says:

    @Victoria I love love love this! Go you. Love a creative who doesn’t hold back.

  3. Naomi says:

    My firm resolution, the only I have written down as a measurable goal, is to read more: I’ve got a list of more than 100 books to get through and while I’m a fast reader, I’m not exactly sure if I will get through them all as the list includes Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment (daunting prospects, but I decided I had to read a number of the “classics” as well as a whole load of others). The others, the real meat of what I want to change in 2013, span a number of areas in my life including health & fitness; intellectual pursuits; Me Time; social life; and romance. And they all fit nicely together, as odd as that may seem. (I’ve had some great planning sessions with a couple of girlfriends who plan to hold me accountable to the declarations I made, which is great because that’s exactly what I need to keep me focussed and on track.)

    I really like the “go hard or go home” and I think I will use that to egg me on any time I find myself dithering about my resolutions. I know that at times it will mean really pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone (I won’t even attempt to be as eloquent as you, Siobhan) so a little chant or mantra will help me focus and also, probably, help me giggle and feel less stressed about any daunting prospects.

    I’m glad 2012 is over, and I’m looking forward to letting 2013 unfold!

  4. Alexandra says:

    I LOVE this resolution. For the same reasons that I don’t want to waste my time obsessing about food anymore, I don’t want to waste my time obsessing over ANYTHING that doesn’t feel meaningful to me. Sweat for what matters, and don’t sweat the rest. :)

  5. Christine says:

    Worry less, be kinder to myself and enjoy the beautiful life I actually do have. ! Worrying robs me of all happiness & fear just gets in the way of what you aspire to-peace is the highest happiness so I’m going for it. Be happier!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Love this so much! Go Siobhan! My husband was diagnosed with cancer early in 2012 and (thank God) is not showing any more disease at this time. We are incredibly thankful that he is cancer-free but also feel blessed to have experienced cancer so early in life and marriage (he is 25 and we’d only been married 6 months at the time of his diagnosis). We just made the bold move to leave our careers in Boston to start a new chapter in Maine, where job prospects are few and far between. It’s scary but exciting to take risks and be uncomfortable. I stand with you in taking risks and going BIG this year. I hope we’ll get to hear about some of your big pursuits in 2013 :) Bon chance!

  7. therese says:

    These are inspiring intentions. Love the sharing on this site. I started the New Year with a great yoga class and our Yogi said instead of resolutions to think of our intentions as new beginnings. I love this idea of starting anew. I hope to instill my intentions with this idea.
    Perfect to stop obsessing and be brave and bold. Change always brings the good even if it takes a while.

  8. Dena says:

    I’m saying to hell with chronic illness and going back to school anyway!

  9. Amy says:

    @Rebecca, I moved from Massachusetts to Maine and found a job immediately! Less jobs up here, but also less competition for jobs than in Boston. Best of luck. I love it here, but also miss MA terribly.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Great post, @Siobhan. And the phrasing is just fine : ) As I mentioned in response to Alexandra’s post, what I’m after this year is enjoying life more, doing more of the the things that I love – reading, seeing friends, etc. – that I want to do but haven’t made enough time for.

  11. jessica says:

    I love these! I also love that I’m not the only worry-wort around. Sometimes I worry that I’m the only one. ;) If anybody can share ideas about how to let worries go, I’m all ears. We all know that logically trying to reason with ourselves when worries come up just doesn’t work.

    I decided to not really do resolutions this year, but to simply try to be the best version of myself, at any given moment. I guess that’s a little like Siobhan’s “go big or go home” personal motto for 2013… I sort of feel that I don’t have room to half-do things or to be wishy-washy. Follow-through, intention and patience are all really important to me now. I guess, in other words, this can be seen as integrity, which has been something my guy and I have been really into lately. How can we live life with as much integrity as possible?

    Last year I started Stark Skincare (hi!) and with that came many changes in my life (not huge ones…I still take public transportation everywhere and thrift shop and can’t afford to eat out very often! I’m not exactly living in the lap of luxury, but I am happy, and I am satisfied.) One of the biggest changes is that I was forced to truly believe in myself, because if I couldn’t, nobody else would either. Because of this shift, I gained confidence, and because of this confidence I feel I can have more follow-through, intention and patience with everything I do.

    In 2013 (in fact, in a matter of months!), I will have 2 new roles: wife and mother. By trying to be my best, even just trying, I will be a better person than if self-doubt and feeling perpetually stuck were my default modes. I want to be the best partner I can be, and a kick ass mom and role model for the rest of my life, not just this year. :)

  12. christina says:

    you go girl! love this and love you!

  13. Rebecca says:

    @Amy – I’m glad to hear you found a job right away! My husband found one easily so I’m hoping it will work out for me soon. It’s been hard to look over the holidays! Maine is a wonderful place :)

  14. Lola says:

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved brother. It is difficult and sometimes a perverse relief to leave behind a year like that.
    My intent is to Just Do it. I tend to shy away from difficult or tedious tasks, or even just to let helpful husbands and fathers take care of things. I’m going to be not giving up on finding something myself, carrying my own suitcase, volunteering to change the stinky diaper, and taking pleasure in taking charge of my own tasks.
    Health and happiness to you all!

  15. Sydney says:

    Love love love! “Go Big Or Go Home” is a great motto Siobhan, so don’t be embarrassed!

    For me 2012 also majorly KICKED MY ASS…I struggled through depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and a quite horrifying intervention. Needless to say I am SO ready to leave all of that behind and start a new fresh take on my life. For this new year I am intending to finally do something that I have struggled with for the past 4-5 years….to truly relax…..I need to chill the freak out and focus my control and energy on way more important things like my music and God. So this year for me will be about nurturing my faith, releasing my white knuckled grasp, and to progress in writing and recording my music. And also to have more fun! I’m 15 years old for goodness sakes I should probably be getting out more…ugh socialization… but anyway I want to say to everyone that you all have great resolutions and I pray that you will be showered with blessings this year to help you heal, grow, and be happy (:

  16. katharine says:

    Hi Siobhan,
    I love this. My “intention” is to learn Arabic this year, but I’ve been admittedly a little lazy so far. I’m with you on throwing yourself into a thing. Let’s make 2013 count. I’ll be thinking about hamstrings during my lesson today.

  17. Jan says:

    Siobhan, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. Losing a loved one is very, very hard, and does change you. When I lost my mother several years ago, it was very difficult to work through the grief, but I did so (grief counseling helped me). And then I thought of new ways to remember her and honor her, and eventually, new and wonderful things came out of the loss. Not immediately, but eventually. I learned to paint (self-taught) because I wanted to paint her portrait. I did so, and although the paintings weren’t very good technically, they were very healing and wonderful to do and they still hang on my walls. So, for you, out of losing your brother, and having a very hard 2012, I hope you go forward into some wonderful, brave, new areas of your life!! Good for you!! All your friends here love and support you!

  18. Siobhan says:

    @Rebecca in Maine — congratulations on your bold move and sending health and love your guys’ way. You’ll end up in a good place, I’m sure of it. Bravery is always rewarded.

  19. Siobhan says:

    @Jan Thanks so much for sharing. What a good idea. I love making collages, so I might get back into that.

  20. Siobhan says:

    OK I love all these comments and want to write replies to all of them but that would be spammy. So let me just say this: I love this community! I love how brave all these are, and as for 2012: Basta! Onwards.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I know I’m a little late on this one, but: Is it possible to “love” Sydney’s post?! That was quite beautiful. Sydney, I offer you my best wishes to heal, grow and be happy throughout this new year. It sounds like you deserve it all :o)

  22. JJ says:

    My brother died of cancer last year and I miss him every day. I adopted his orphaned cat and resolved to be a better person because he always told my I could when. No one else did. He bought me a flower in grad prom when I had no date. Thank you for this message. He told me that even though I’m sarcastic and frumpy that I can be special and have a nice evening too.

  23. Siobhan says:

    Oh, JJ. Thanks for sharing, and for reading. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Your brother sounds very special, and it’s amazing that he was able to make you feel as he did. My brother was the same person in my life. Made me feel believed-in. I miss him every day, too.

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