Here we go again, TroubleMakers. Another December. January is right around the corner. Now’s when we tend to look back over everything we did; the incredible number of things we  saw, heard and felt in the past year. This is when we crunch the numbers; evaluate, compare, and recalibrate. Time to break it all down and see what we’ve learned. That’s no simple task. The amount of knowledge we accumulate in a year is an incredible volume of information to organize. In fact, according to a report by the University of California–San Diego, “the average American consumes about 34 gigabytes of data and information a day. That’s estimated to be the equivalent of 100,000 words heard or read every single day – or about how many words in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (95,356 words).” No wonder we feel overwhelmed sometimes.”

Maybe that’s why so many critics reduce things to a year-end list. They categorize and rate practically everything in popular culture across all media; movies, books, TV, podcasts, and music. There are lists of the most impactful political events, sports accomplishments, natural disasters, and violent crimes; the list of lists goes on and on. We see them all over social media. They’re published in newspapers and magazines, on TV and radio; even in your favorite blog. It’s as though the end of the year somehow compels us to chop everything up and spread it out on the table. There’s hope in that pile of puzzle pieces. Somehow, maybe we’ll all see the same big picture when it comes together.

As the curtain falls on another year we tend to analyze our personal performance, too. Tallying up our wins and losses, we make plans to up our game. We make resolutions to improve our behavior, relationships, jobs, or finances. Every December is an opportunity for self-reflection, evaluation, and adjustments to our plans for the year ahead. There’s always something to change; to DO better; ways we’ll fix ourselves and change our lives. If New Year resolutions are your thing; if you tell yourself every year that there are a bunch of things you should be doing that you haven’t been doing; if you swear you’re going to start doing them only to find yourself defeated and disappointed in your failure to follow through, we have a new and improved list for you!

If we may, Trouble would like to suggest that you might feel better if you do not make a TO-DO list; if you just don’t pressure yourself. We suggest that you may get more favorable results if you STOP doing some of the things you customarily do. Giving up some habits that may not be serving you well just might be a kinder, gentler approach to the actual changes you’re after. Whether in the interest of self-betterment or, of promoting gender equity, Trouble suggests NOT doing some things can advance us –  individually and together – toward equity and balance.

“Sometimes I find myself thinking that I need to do more, but that temptation is often wrong.  Being more intentional and doing less or deciding what I should NOT do would be more effective. “ – Chief TroubleMaker, Bari Harlam

Top 10 things to STOP doing in ’23:

1. STOP avoiding politics – you can’t. It’s too influential in your life and impactful on the future of your loved ones.

2. STOP spending without intention – buy only things that reflect your values. Think bottled water, fast fashion, and toxic cleaners. Buy things that support a cause you believe in. (hint, hint)

3. STOP scrolling and living inside your media bubble – it’s intellectually limiting, emotionally unhealthy, and submissive to corporate interests. (Please)

4. STOP doing HOUSEWORK/more than your share. On average, women spend 47 minutes more than men on housework every day. That adds up to around 5 ½ hours a week, not including childcare, grocery shopping, or errands. Women would have to stop doing housework for the rest of the year on Aug. 29 to equalize that load. 

5. STOP seeking approval from others “let go of believing our self-worth can only come from external sources. Using our energy to conform, adapt and even skew our own internal essence in the hope of gaining approval (or love) from other people leaves us in turmoil.”

6. STOP Feeling like an impostor when you accomplish something professionally. Women are more likely than men to feel like “impostors” at work, often doubting whether we deserve the successes we achieve. Start taking your accomplishments at face value. You got that new job or promotion or grade or public recognition because you were worthy of it.“‘

7. STOP NOT taking your vacation – You EARNED it.

8. STOP feeling competitive against, instead of cooperative with other women. “I ALWAYS speak up. I try NEVER to go along just to get along when it comes to equity.” – Chief Trouble Maker Meredith Curren

9. STOP saying yes when you want to say NO. You’re not a jerk or a pain in the ass because you don’t have time, don’t want to, or just can’t deal with someone’s expectations.

10. STOP ignoring your intuition. We all do it even though we know it’s usually right. If it doesn’t ‘feel’ right, listen to your instincts – and say “NO.”

Fellow TroubleMaker, give yourself a break. You’re great just as you are. Please remember: You can’t make history if you don’t make Trouble! Make yours a Happy New Year.

Please spread the word about Trouble and our mission. Buy some products so we can support the work. We’re gonna keep on shooting for the moon. Our ultimate goal is to achieve equity for girls and women, and put ourselves right out of business! (Oh, and to save the world, too!)

Stay tuned for more insights and inspiration.

Share what you learn here with the TroubleMakers you know and love.


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