Revolutionize resolutions, one #hashtag a month

Still holding true to your new year’s resolutions on day four? Cassie NielsenFor some inspiration, welcome to the first Spotlight Saturday of the year, which also happens to be my birthday. As my present to YOU, I’m excited to introduce goal-setting, social-savvy Cassie Nielsen with her fresh take on conquering 2014 goals. Cassie calls her brilliant, year-long movement #HashtagResolution. She shares her journey of monthly goals through social media, each dubbed with a hashtag, like #meatless January. Her drive to improve inspires me. Meet Cassie, and join the resolution revolution.

Q. Why the #hashtag?

#hashtagresolution is about accomplishing one resolution each month during 2014 (and hopefully beyond!). By using a hashtag for each month, we’ll create documentation of our journey and, more importantly, a community for support.

Q. By becoming socially accountable, you’re allowing others to witness your resolutions experience. How does that feel?

I have a long list of Instagram role models, and I have watched them put themselves out there on social media. I have watched their successes, their challenges, their failures and sadly, I have watched the criticism they have endured by haters. But I have also witnessed the uplifting and supportive communities created by their bravery, and know we are all better off for it. In so many ways, I am terrified by this project. I am afraid to let myself down. I am afraid of criticism. I am afraid to fail. But I have a mantra that pushes me forward: “feel the fear and do it anyway.” I have so much more to gain than I do to lose.

Q. Have you always been big on goal-setting? What prompted this year’s efforts?

hashtag resolution

Yes, goal setting has always been important to me; however, I have been more formal about my approach in the recent years. I’m still trying to identify methods that work best, and I have had plenty of failures. Like so many others, often my goals are focused on health and fitness. Sometimes I’ll try abstaining from sweets until a certain vacation, never missing a workout for a period of time, or following a strict training regimen to prep for a half marathon. But I had the idea that maybe I didn’t always find success with my goals because I was missing the component of fun. Shouldn’t goals be fun? This past year I embarked on a journey to video record one second of my life every day – a visual journal, if you will. The project helped me look for the good in each day, and (goal accomplished) it was fun! Feel free to check out my finished product at www.vimeo.com/cassienielsen.

For 2014, I wanted a way to improve my overall well-being in a fun, goal-focused way. I have never successfully completed a new year’s resolution and challenged myself to find a way to be one of the few (very few) who can make claim to accomplishing this clichéd goal. I chose the monthly format for two reasons: 1) I just couldn’t settle on one resolution, and 2) Let’s be real…I’d be setting myself up for failure trying to make everything in my life picture perfect. I also want to give credit to a very innovative author Gretchen Rubin who wrote The Happiness Project, among many other books. She pioneered the idea of focusing on one goal each month for an entire year, with the added difficulty of combining her goals month after month. Mad props to her!

Q. Which month will be hardest for you?

Actually, as funny as it might sound, I think I will struggle most during #sevenhoursanight in December. It’s not that I don’t love sleep. But my days can get so busy, my mind doesn’t want to turn off. December will be a reminder I do not always need to multi-task a million things at once. I believe I will actually accomplish more by cramming less into my day and rewarding my mind and body with rest. Truth be told, I also think it will be more difficult to maintain an interesting Instagram feed during this month but that’s also why I gave myself 11 months to brainstorm.

Q. How do you see hashtags changing the way society communicates? What’s your take on the future of the #hashtag?

I believe hashtags will monumentally change how we search and find information, much like Twitter has done for current events. In its current form, hashtags are an amazing way to categorize information and find like-minded communities. Social media, Instagram in particular, has allowed us to forge very real bonds with people who previously would have been strangers. I am most curious to see how companies will leverage hashtags for marketing. Traditional advertising no longer has the impact it used to. Instead, successful brands are directly engaging with consumers through social media. It is only a matter of time before we create sophisticated tools which will allow both individuals and companies to capitalize on the value of hashtags, and in some ways there are already pioneers who are testing the market. What new innovations will be created to optimize search and engage capabilities? How will the clever few find opportunities to monetize hashtags? How will “big data” extract new hypotheses about culture, trends, consumerism, and almost any other topic using the wealth of data created by hashtags? I am excited by the horizon of opportunity and thankful to play a very small role in its evolution.

Connect with Cassie

Instagram: @hashtagresolution
Twitter: @HTResolution
Email: hashtagresolution@gmail.com
Blog: http://hashtagresolution.tumblr.com
Video (Watch my One Second Everyday project): www.vimeo.com/cassienielsen

A housekeeping item:

Updated page! For more Saturday Spotlights, go hereIn 2014, I’ll be posting a new featured professional who has a way with words on the first Saturday of the month. #myownresolution


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