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How To Do January

Time to thank Mark Zuckerberg.  His 2016 New Year’s resolution is to build – by himself, mind you – an artificial intelligence tool to screen his guests, control his home’s lights, temperature and music, and keep an eye on his new baby girl. Yes, he’s resolved, like Tony Stark, to build a J.A.R.V.I.S. of his own.

So we thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for announcing a resolution so ambitious, so superhuman, that it puts our own feeble lists to shame. Eat less sugar? Finally organize the photo albums? Assign the kids chores, and mean it this time?  Why even bother with such unexalted goals?

We say, don’t even bother. Instead, try January our way:

1. Be aimless. Be purposeful.

We’re willing to bet you don’t wander enough: choose a neighborhood that’s not your own, and go for a long walk. See which of Nashville’s jewels are thriving under the care and passion of a committed urban community. Historic Belmont-Hillsboro is a great place to start, with its early 20th century bungalows and foursquares, along side-walked streets.

(detail from poster, 2015 Belmont-Hillsboro Home Tour, by resident J. William (Bill) Myers)

Then head to Germantown, Nashville’s oldest residential subdivision.

Once you start looking, you’ll find neighborhoods to wander all over Nashville. Get out and meet your city.

Then be purposeful: inform yourself about what it will take to bring all Nashville’s neighborhoods along into its bright new future. Affordable housing? Public education? Traffic and transportation? You’ll need your own informed opinion. Get busy.

2. Love an easy book. Love a hard book.

   (Terrifying Haunted Hotel)                      (Particle Physics)

3. Dream big. Dream small.

January is perfect for making a comprehensive home-improvement list, a master dream list of every project you’ve imagined for your home and garden. Don’t hold back. Pretend money and time are no obstacles. Review all your magazine tear sheets and Pinterest boards, all those saved Instagram screen shots. Picture every project finished and perfect. Aaahhh.

Now, choose just one thing on your list – large or small – and simply do it. This month, ours might be building shelves for kitchen storage. Or adding bright pillows to offset winter’s gray days.

The trick is, just get going. Every success makes the next job easier.

4. Be romantic.

Don’t forget: February’s coming. Start now to plan a Valentine’s treat for your favorite January warrior. It’s not too early to reserve a table at one of Nashville’s new-legend restaurants, or to practice cooking that new recipe for an inspired movie night at home.

Now, that ambition? It’s just our speed.