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Julia Figliotti is a writer, musician, and crafter living in Western New York with her husband and their four pets. When she’s not writing Checklist actions to support aspiring Americans, Julia likes to spend her time knitting, gardening, writing and performing music, and watching football. Go Bills!

Last year around this time, I made a New Year’s resolution—probably my first one in about a decade. I committed myself to taking every action in every Checklist in 2023. 

Y’all, I failed. But I failed gloriously.

My year started out strong.

As a volunteer with AoCC’s Production team, I would write my actions and co-work with others to edit the Checklist draft every other Wednesday, take Thursday as a breather day, then open the Checklist on Friday and see what I could accomplish in one sitting.

I made phone calls after hours and left messages so I wouldn’t have to talk to a real person (pro tip: leave your full address in the voicemail, otherwise they might not count your opinion as coming from a represented constituent). I sent emails whenever I had a few minutes to spare. I set aside blocks of time to write letters and even bought myself a set of AoCC-inspired postcards that my sister designed to keep me on track.

And after several months of giving each time an action called for donations, I looped my husband in to contribute to the organizations we were amplifying. He felt good to be giving to causes he supported, and I felt proud for giving myself permission to share the load with someone who shares my values.

For six months, I was on top of it.

A few times I would put an action off a little too long and miss a deadline, but I was honoring my commitment and doing my best. I probably completed close to 95% of what I had set out to do. I felt driven. I felt more informed. I felt like I was actively contributing to the changes I wanted to see. And that all felt amazing.

Then July came.

AoCC began preparing for our annual August sabbatical. As a volunteer writer, editor, and co-leader for our Social Media team, my month was filled with building out two months’ worth of content to make sure the algorithm kept us visible in our followers’ feeds while we were away.

After long evenings writing and editing for those two Checklist Wednesdays in July (the combination of which can take anywhere from four to six hours), I either jumped right back into the social media game or just… rested.

And as we all know, rest is important.

That month, I easily admitted to myself that I wouldn’t complete my resolution as planned.

It echoed a perspective that I’ve been trying to internalize over the past several years:

Anything worth doing is worth doing half-assed.

So I centered self-compassion and grace. I shifted my priorities and set my resolution off to the side. I continued to work hard for AoCC, which in turn works hard to amplify groups and causes that align with our values and empower people all over the nation—and world—to take action.

I planned to start working toward my goal again once I stopped feeling, as Bilbo Baggins would say, “like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.” 

After the joyful sabbatical, it took a little while to get back into action.

This time, I started taking action in advance—after our team editorial sessions on Checklist Wednesdays. I settled back into a routine. I still didn’t complete every action through the end of the year, but every time I did complete an action, I felt good.

For the small amount of time it takes me to take action around causes that matter to me—seriously, I’m talking 5-10 minutes per action—the emotional gratification, value bolstering, and sense of community with other Americans of Conscience who are doing the same is extraordinary. 

I’m making the same resolution for 2024

I may not meet my goal, but every action I take to reach it will bring us that much closer to the kinder, thriving nation we all deserve.

Who’s ready to fail gloriously—or maybe even succeed spectacularly—with me in 2024? Comment below if you’re willing to join me.

Our purpose at Americans of Conscience Checklist is to encouragement engagement in American democracy. If you feel uplifted reading this message, consider supporting our work by learning more here!

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6 Comments

  1. Yes! Let’s “fail” together, gloriously, taking so many more actions than we would have had we not tried and “failed.”

  2. I was just thinking about how easy it is to feel powerless in the face of so many problems in the world. Then it occurred to me that it is exactly how those who want to dismantle our democracy want people to feel. And. darn it, why should we demoralize us?

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