We’ve all been there. It’s New Year’s Eve. The countdown begins 10, 9, 8 . . . you’re filled with hopes and dreams . . . 7, 6, 5 . . . you seek more discipline, you want to create more art . . . 4, 3, 2 . . . a new you is on the horizon . . . 1!
We express our hopes for the new year with grand resolutions, such as creating more art or to start using social media more often. We typically throw ourselves into life-changing goals with unbridled enthusiasm for about a week. Yet after a month or two, those big dreams seem impossible to carry out and we stop altogether. If you feel like this is you year-after-year and think: Why do I even try? Then definitely keep reading!
We all have our issues and obstacles stopping us from building a new and better self, whether it’s lacking self-confidence or finding the time to carry out the new resolutions. If we didn’t have our issues, then there’d be no need for resolutions in the first place. The key to these struggles, however, is how we channel this energy and alter our habits to form better, more productive behaviors.
Door Number Eight by Clifton Henri
New Year’s vows to change often bring more pain than actual gain. So how do you stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Here’s how to get real about your good intentions for 2019. I’ve highlighted six successful behaviors to make your New Year’s resolutions stick.
How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
A Year in Review
If your New Year’s resolution is to create more art, identify the ways you have struggled with this in the past year. Were you on your phone or device too much? Did you watch too much television? Did you just not set aside enough time to create daily? Once you identify the behaviors that get in your way, then you can begin to plan for more successful efforts and how to incorporate more productive behaviors.
Be Specific with Your Resolutions
One key method to incorporating more productivity into your life is to be specific when planning. It’s not enough to simply say, “I want to create more art” or “I want to get into one new gallery this year.” You need specificity when planning for your productivity goals. How much art would you like to create and in what amount of time will you do this is? Maybe you want to set aside 30 minutes a day to prepare your thoughts and materials, so you can have more successful studio time during the weekend. Maybe it’s a block of three hours to paint. Whatever your goal, being specific will set you up for more success.
Aurora Borealis by Caroline Pyle
Set Realistic Expectations
If you have another job and only have five hours after work on any given day, then you could be setting yourself up for failure if you schedule all five of those hours every day to creating art. Or if you haven’t painted in years, don’t plan on turning out 25 large paintings in one month – it’ll never happen. Instead, think of your goal as, “I’ll dedicate two days after work to creating art” or “To get back in the swing of things I’ll create a series of small studies and select one to re-create larger.”
Also, you need to think about the time it takes to do other things like eating and self-care that also help your efforts to be successful. Take a realistic look at your calendar and set aside creative time that you can make work for you and your New Year resolutions.
Red 1 by James McCormick
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Depending on the art, what’s productive for one artist can be different for another. A better, and more realistic, method is to challenge yourself to be better than yourself the previous day, week, month, etc.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
If someone wrongs us and apologizes, we tend to forgive them and move on. So we should do the same for ourselves. When we miss a goal, we shouldn’t give ourselves such a hard time that we then give up entirely. Missing one studio session or one Instagram post doesn’t mean your New Year’s resolutions are all for naught. Mistakes happen. Apologize to yourself with the idea in mind that you will be better. Forgive yourself, move on, and then get back on track.
Give Yourself High Fives
When you reach a goal, find a way to celebrate yourself. Maybe you put a gold star on a calendar date. Maybe you do a little dance. Maybe you celebrate a productive week with a nice dinner and a martini out somewhere. Whatever it is, celebrate the work you’ve put into achieving your goals.
Getting from point A to B and so on takes more than luck. It takes effort, specificity, and commitment, and I know you will do it. Happy New Year! In the comments below, tell me a couple of your New Year's resolutions!
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