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500 days later, My Better Normal

A lot can happen in 500 days. On October 1, 2021, 500 days will have passed since Locomotive and Nova Film launched My Better Normal. Created at the start of our pandemic lockdown in the spring of 2020, this time capsule and short film project was offered to the world as a simple call to personal action, a chance for each individual to commit to one small, specific way they could improve, in hopes that making meaningful little changes could together, add up to a better world — a “better normal.”

If you made a personal resolution, your time capsule will hit your inbox October 1.

The online portal invited anyone and everyone to make one small promise to themselves, and secure this video or text resolution in a digital time capsule for their eyes only. If you took the challenge, your capsule will hit your inbox October 1. 

As the project’s creators explain, this “positive social experience” is about sharing goodwill. “We wanted to encourage people to focus the introspective energy that we were all feeling into small, positive actions,” says Frédéric Marchand, Locomotive’s co-founder and president. 

This could be anything under the sun, from delving into psychological work to finally organizing that sock drawer; improving family relationships, picking up the jogging pace, volunteering, composting, or just remembering to enjoy a good laugh. It’s all personal and subjective so anything goes! The point is that each person’s resolution is private; a small and simple commitment to themselves, and they could look in the mirror 500 days later and check in: Did you keep your promise?

François Lallier of Nova Film recalls the collaborators deliberated on the time frame before agreeing on 500 days, “which can seem like a really long time or a really short while,” he says, pointing out how the project subtly highlights the subjective nature of time. But ultimately, he says that above and beyond the statistics and numbers of video capsules received, “even if only a few people live up to their promises and change their lives, well, this project would be a success for all.”

(Of course back then, points out Jean-François Chainé, Locomotive’s co-founder, many of us presumed things would be totally back to normal in a few months, and our resolutions would later remind us of moments of clarity that crisis sometimes brings, when life forces us to reassess what’s important.) 

Winning a silver prize at the 2021 Idéa awards in the Produits et expériences numériques category, My Better Normal was also a way to support and inspire the agency’s team with meaningful and engaging work during a time of change and unknowns.

 “It started as a ‘light’ internal project to motivate our colleagues and teammates by creating something in the middle of uncertainty,” Jean-François adds. “We wanted to give some hope.”

A gracious intention, a secret promise for your better normal.

So how about focusing on just one small achievable thing that means something to you and only you? A gracious intention, a secret promise for your better normal. 

Here we are, 500 days later, at another phase of the pandemic, maybe more accustomed to uncertainty, maybe feeling more empowered personally or politically. But just 500 days later, have we changed? Have we learned anything? Do you remember what you were thinking or feeling when you made this little promise to yourself? Why you resolved to do better in this particular small way? And... Did you keep your resolution? Only you know.

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