I don't have New Year's resolutions, really. I pick a few things I'd like to learn in a year, and sometimes I actually learn those things. Sometimes I end up on weird tangents, and sometimes those pay off.
What I do have, more by accident than intention, is something of an annual mantra, a little phrase that keeps coming back into my life and work.
Last year's mantra: Resist the urge to be clever.
I had that written on the whiteboard next to my desk at NPR. I can't remember which project inspired it, but it was a good reminder that my job wasn't to come up with the most clever way to accomplish a task, it was to get stuff done.
This year, for no reason I can think of, I've been repeating a different phrase to myself: Everything takes practice.
It's a reminder to myself that few skills are magically acquired, even banal ones, and that if I want to be good at something, I need to put in the time and the work. Or as an old sensei once told me, "The secret is, there is no secret."