Although it might not always be easy, change is good! Change helps us move forward as artists and as people. Change forces us to grow and adapt, often in ways that improve who we are and what we do.
The new year is a great time to create some change in your own life! It’s a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning. For a lot of people, the new year marks the time to create a set of resolutions to put you on the path to success in the coming year.
For artists, growth and change are necessary for success and good for your physical and mental wellbeing to boot. Here are some resolutions to help you start the new year right.
1. The 5-Second Rule When Developing New Ideas
If a good idea pops into your head, jump right in and do it within the next five seconds! This goes for any idea—going on a run, cooking a healthy meal, or starting a new project. However, not all ideas are good ideas.
What do we mean by a good idea? If you’re sitting in the middle of a work meeting and the idea of taking a nice long walk pops into your head, that’s not a good idea. If you can’t act on it immediately, this principle really doesn’t apply.
Yeah, it’s great to go on a long walk and stretch your legs, clear your head, and get ready for the rest of your day, but you can’t just drop what you’re doing in the next five seconds and go. So, out of context? Yeah, it’s a good idea. But in the context of doing it immediately, it falls short.
Now, if you have time to yourself and you’re just scrolling through Instagram on your phone and you think of taking a good long walk, that’s a good idea. Now, you have to count down from five and just do it.
You’ve already made a good decision, now you just have to act on it! The longer you wait, the more time you have to think of all the reasons you could put it off until later that day, or the next day, or the next week. Take advantage of your momentum and just go with it!
2. Notice Our Negative Thoughts
This one focuses more on our mental health, and how we can make a small change to our thinking in order to change our mood. Try to notice every time you think a negative thought. Sounds easy enough, right?
Now, this doesn’t mean to notice every time you say something negative, like how you’re not talented enough at something or how annoying you find someone. That’s pretty easy. Focusing on what you think is much harder.
Every time you notice yourself having a negative thought, switch it! You think you don’t look great in your outfit? Focus on how cool your shoes are. You think you can’t make it through a project? Look at how much you’ve already accomplished!
Think of your brain as a refrigerator. It’s full of thoughts, and you get to decide what you focus on. You can choose to focus on the negative thought, or the positive, reframed thought. Once you choose which thought you want to focus on, that thought changes your mood.
That’s why noticing our negative thoughts is so important. We have so many negative thoughts every day without even really realizing it, and the mood they put us in can influence how we feel for a long time. Noticing negative thoughts lets you take a step back and choose how you want to feel. It puts you in the driver’s seat.
3. Save The First 90 Minutes For Your Ultimate Artistic Goal
This one’s probably the hardest resolution on the list, simply because it requires consistency and a time commitment. It’s not something you do once in a while, it’s a habit to really get into by doing every day.
What’s your ultimate goal? What do you really care about? What do you feel driven to do? You’re not going to get there without some serious discipline, time, and attention. Maybe we’re not talking about Mozart’s rule of the 10,000-hour genius number, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
This can look like a lot of things, as long as you put it into your day. For example, if your workday usually starts at 9 AM, try to start working towards your ultimate goal at 7:30 AM. Remember, if your goal is important enough to you, it’ll all be worth it.
4. Commit To Something Healthy
This one sounds a lot like the traditional new year’s resolution list, but it’s actually pretty different. The goal here isn’t to lose weight or work out every day, it’s just to commit to starting the process of whatever healthy practice you choose.
For example, if your goal is to go to the gym every day, it’s okay to get to the gym, change your mind, and go home without ever touching a weight. Sounds pretty counterintuitive, right? The idea is just to get ready to do the healthy thing.
You just have to put on your workout clothes and get ready to go. That’s it! Chances are, once you lace up your running shoes or get on your yoga mat, you’re more likely to follow through and actually do whatever healthy practice you choose. After all, why would you go to all that trouble for nothing?
Lifestyle factors like frequent travel or an inconsistent work schedule can really make things rough if you want to be consistent with your new habit, but healthy practices can be really flexible. Things like the Wim Hof Method can be done anywhere and at any time.
Choosing a goal that works with your lifestyle is probably going to get you closer to consistent practice than something that requires a lot of stability, like getting to a specific training gym or preparing a complex meal every night.
5. Commit To Learning Something New
This is kind of like the last resolution—you just have to get started. What’s a skill you really want to put your time towards? What’s something you’ve always considered trying, but you’ve never really taken the first step?
Maybe you find an online art class to take. Maybe you find a YouTuber you really love who has a series of videos teaching a certain skill. Maybe you can do it on your own, you just need to practice. All you have to do is take the first step!
That can look like committing to turn on the online class, clicking on the video, or gathering your supplies. If you make it that far and really, truly just don’t want to do it, turn it off! Put your things away! Again, if you get far enough to be prepared to learn, chances are you’ll actually start learning.
As an artist, it’s important to expand your knowledge and skills so you can stay relevant and continue to create innovative and out-of-the-box art. Getting familiar with or even mastering different mediums is crucial to your success, as well as being good for your brain. Decide what you want to learn, and take the first step towards that goal.
6. Count Your Blessings Before Bed
Hey, another cliché resolution! Just kidding, there’s a little bit of a twist on this one too. Everyone’s heard at some point that they should count their blessings, and it’s good advice! We all hopefully have a few things in our lives that we recognize as blessings—maybe that’s a partner, a nice apartment, or your pet.
Recognizing our blessings helps us refocus our minds on what’s important to us and what makes us happy. The more we focus on these things, the better we’ll feel, and the more we’ll appreciate what’s around us.
However, there are innumerable blessings that you might not even recognize you have. If you have less money or success than a friend, you still have a measure of success—your talent—and that’s most definitely a blessing.
Maybe you have a following, large or small, where you discuss your art or your techniques. Have you considered counting the blessing of helping others along their artistic path? Regardless of sponsorships or any other perks that come along with a following, what about the chance to help others? That’s a blessing, too!
We Can Always Improve Ourselves
Every year we’re given a clean slate, and that’s something everyone should take advantage of. Everyone has areas of their lives where they can grow.
As artists, and as people, we can always do better, act better, and be better. We can devote our time to honing our craft, taking care of our bodies, and working on our mental health. And what better time to hop on the self-improvement wagon than at the beginning of a new year? Resolutions are just ways to improve ourselves and our lives—and it’s time to jump in.