Our Executive Director Susan Quilliam offers you the festive ‘gift’ of a different approach to achieving meaningful, lasting change in 2022 and beyond.

What with all the dekkies and the pressies and the festive cheer – and despite the looming COVID crisis – life at Damn Cheek is pretty good right now.

Because in 2021 we’ve not only survived, we’ve also thrived – and we have some rather scrumptious projects coming up in the new year. If you listen carefully, you can hear us humming ‘Tis the season to be jolly’ under our communal breath.

Only one thing slightly mars our mood. New Year Resolutions. As I write, there is a fast and rising tide of print, broadcast and online advice pieces on How to Stop Smoking, How to Start Exercising, How to Decrease Your Weight, How to Increase Your Efficiency and generally How to Become Better then You Already Are in 2022. Ten point lists… Tick box schedules… Guaranteed mega-results… It’s all hugely energising and motivating…

… or rather, it is until the second week in January when it all becomes boring and dispiriting.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m absolutely in favour of great goals, outstanding objectives and awesome accountability. In fact, here at Damn Cheek we’re just completing a 3-month audit of everything we do – creative, organisational, financial – to help us raise our game as we move into the next exciting growth phase. And that’s resulting in a whole flurry of excellent and essential aims and plans and checklists.

That said, I don’t think that the tick-list approach of the classic New Year Resolution is the only way to move forward – for a company or for an individual. That kind of detail-driven approach is often over-prescriptive, often under-flexible. And if you don’t fulfil it to the letter and on schedule, it can result in the kind of gut-wrenching guilt that makes you give up and get rid of all ‘resolution’ around about the same day as you heave the Christmas tree into the wheelie bin.

In short, I’m a great fan of side-stepping the itemised approach completely and approaching the new year in a broader, more generative way.

So here’s ‘one I made earlier’… or rather, one I discovered 10 years ago, and have ever since been spreading around to all and sundry.

Here’s how it goes. 

Rather than – or as well as – choosing a specific measurable goal as a New Year Resolution, you choose a word.

A word that represents what you want – or who you want to be – in the coming year. A word you have in mind throughout the whole 12 months to inform the way you go and what you do. A word that is a filter, a direction, a guideline, steering you steadily towards what you want, focussing you firmly away from what you don’t need. 

Words I’ve chosen in the past – and words that friends, colleagues and family have reported choosing – include ‘sparkle… advancement… peace… energy… authenticity’. But very likely your word won’t be any of these – and it certainly will be individual to you. 

You may only find it by pondering for ages. Or, it may find you by popping up out of nowhere. You’ll know it when you see it or hear it because it will simply feel right for you, right now.

During the year, remember your word. Perhaps keep it in the forefront of your mind or let it hover helpfully at the edge of your consciousness. Perhaps note down whatever you do each day that brings you towards the meaning your word carries. Perhaps mention your word to others so they can support you. Above all, let your word take root in your life.

Here at Damn Cheek, because we’re a company and not one person, we’re allowing ourselves more than one word.

Currently at the head of our website you’ll find ‘Provoke’ and ‘Entertain’ – and these will always be core to what we do. And as we approach the new year, we’re also being drawn to many other words – some we’ve always loved, some whose force is new to us:  Community… Equality… Collaboration… Diversity… Inclusivity… Accessibility… Challenge… Accountability… Care.

To us, all these words and the values that lie behind them are central to what Damn Cheek stands for, central to what we offer to you, our audience and our supporters. So for our New Year Resolution, we’ll be keeping those words right at the forefront of what we do, and we’ll be letting them take root deep in the foundations of our work – both our performances front of stage and our efforts behind the scenes.

That’s us. What about you? If you like the idea of a New Year Word then feel absolutely free to borrow our approach – a gift from us to you. 

And if you do borrow our approach, then why not share with us the word you’ve chosen – maybe even telling us about why you’ve made that choice. We’d love to hear from you on info@damncheek.co.uk

Finally, from us all at Damn Cheek, festive wishes. We hope your Christmas is peaceful and healthy and loving and that 2022 goes a long, long way to fulfilling your hopes and your dreams.