The great thing about the new year is it’s a chance to get some perspective and stop and think for a moment. Look back on the year that went by too quickly and evaluate. What worked and what would you like to change for the new year?
Rather than making some grand resolution like “draw 2 pages every day”, try setting small, achievable goals that build a habit. As my friend Kody Chamberlain put it:
I’ve found that small ongoing adjustments are more effective than attempting a major and sudden change. Try that if you need a resolution.
I’ve made a habit of doing resolutions, not because december 31st is the only day you can make changes and take action – you can do that every day – but because people tend to ask me. And having to answer a question is a good excuse to think.
Maybe you’ve already made a plan for 2015 but in case you’re not sure, here are 5 ideas for New Year resolutions for artists and other creatives:
1: Spend an hour every week cleaning up the clutter around your drawing board and/or office. It’s really easy to get behind on simple things like these, and eventually it can bog down your workflow, having to look for tools or references or just having to work in a mess. Clearing physical clutter cleans out mental clutter as well.
2: Take at least one coffee meeting every month with someone you admire. This could be another artist, a writer or someone completely outside your industry. Someone you have a gut feeling there’s something to learn from. Prepare a few questions but try to be open and curious. Ask about their struggles, their strategies and their workflow.
3: Take a walk every day. Clear your head and get some movement into your joints. As artists and writers, we spend a lot of time sitting down and that hurts our bodies. You don’t have to go to the gym, just walking or doing 15 minutes of exercises and back stretching can really make a diffference.
4: Get in the habit of asking yourself: Is this helpful? Whenever you’re asked to do something, evaluate if it’s helpful for your overall goal, whatever that is. And every time you get angsty, depressed or start to worry about your story, your craft or if people will like you, stop and think for a moment: Is this helpful? If the mood or your worrying is not helping you produce better art, stop it. Do something helpful instead, like sitting down and getting the work done.
5: Quit one of your social media platforms. I know this one hurts. But think of the many hours a week you’re spending clicking links from Facebook, scrolling your Twitter feed or liking pictures of art (or cats!) on Instagram. You don’t have to shut down your account, just consider removing the app from your phone or simply don’t go in. We see it as a deserved break in our routine but more often than not, it’s a huge time suck. You’re better off looking out the window for 5 minutes and clearing your head.
This year my personal resolution is to spend the first hour of my work day, EVERY work day, on my own business. Whether that’s this site, my own comics or that novel I’m working on. Every day I come in to work, I don’t answer the phone or check my email or put out that brush fire. It can wait an hour, surely.
I also believe in the power of commitment, of accountability. So now that I have told you, I guess I have to keep my promise to myself, right?
What’s your resolution? Please share! Maybe there’s an idea someone else can stael to make their 2015 the most productive and epic creative year ever.