It’s that time of year. Not only do you have to worry about where to party and who to kiss at midnight, New Year’s resolutions are a holiday tradition that just won’t quit.
We all know that goals are important. They help keep us focused and driven, give us a road map and allow us to measure progress. But it can be a daunting (and self-destructive) thing to take on too much, or make unrealistic resolutions in life and work.
We asked four creatives about how they stay the course without psyching themselves out, and ways to make 2016 the most creative year yet.
I don’t think I’ve ever practiced New Years’ resolutions. I feel like that’s something people do and break within a month.
It should be an everyday thing. Every day you should be making resolutions. I was never good with Hallmark holidays. Like Mother’s Day. You’re supposed to be celebrating your mom, be extra nice and extra loving to your mother on this one day, but it should be like that every day. Every day should be Mother’s Day.
Don’t look at anyone else as competition, either. Look at yourself as the competition and always try to make your next picture better than your last. There will always be other people better than you, so if you’re only in competition with yourself, no one can beat you.
My answer is probably like so many’s: I hate the thought of it, but in this cliche way there is this idea we all get to “start fresh” and everything and anything is possible. There is something about a clean slate. Like, this is the year I’m going to get it together. And then, unfortunately, reality sets in and old habits die hard.
I fantasize about New Years’ resolutions; “This is the year I’m not going to be sloppy,” but how do you shake it? I’m like a frizzy mess from head to toe. It’s hard to break that cycle. You need a step-by-step plan. People think if they write it down in big, capital bold letters it will somehow happen. But it doesn’t work that way. You need a play-by-play… Unless you make feasible attempts and have some strategic plan, you will have a hard time with resolutions. I’ve read up on this a lot. I’m very knowledgeable about my own pitfalls.
I’m not a big fan of the “New Year’s resolution” thing. I feel like if you have a goal in mind, you should start working towards it as soon as possible. Why wait for an arbitrary time in the future? It just seems like an excuse to procrastinate a little bit longer to me. I can be a pretty bad procrastinator, so I get it, but I think any goal worth taking seriously is worth starting right now.
My biggest goal since my early twenties was to support myself 100 percent with revenue from creative projects. I had always sort of hedged my earnings with part time jobs, and that was actually an important time for me specifically as an artist because it allowed me to be more selective about the projects I was taking. I was able to say no to some things that would have brought in income but that didn’t fit with my creative objectives. That’s very important as a young artist because your creative vision can get compromised very quickly.
For me, in general a to-do list [is more effective].
Setting very strict and hard goals, like “Oh, I have to do this exercise every day, or get to this kind of goal by the end of the year, or lose this much weight, or save this much money…” is setting yourself up for failure, in my opinion. The purpose of a goal is to direct you in a sense, but not to allow yourself to be disappointed if you don’t get there exactly the way you thought you would.
For me, my New Year’s resolution is just to be more focused in my work and trust my intuition more—especially with new clients. If I’m not having the best vibe off of them, my goal is to allow myself to say, “I’m not the person for this job, and that’s okay.”