It's that time of year again. We all do it, or at least most of us do it. We reflect on the last year and hope to make major changes over the new year. We get excited and inspired, and by January 15th we've completely forgotten that we even had goals in the first place.
I remember last year when I made my goal to begin working on 10,000 hours of art. I was super pumped and excited. I got going on my strategy. But eventually I would lose focus. However, last year, unlike many years previous, I would ultimately come back to focus. So, even though I didn't come any where close to my target goals. I have to say I am happy that I haven't completely forgotten that I even made a New Years resolution. How does the saying go, "aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star". Because in the past that was me. Every New Year I would make some sort of goal or even goals, and by February I would completely lose sight of it. And by the New Year I would make that goal again while feeling awful that I didn't even make a dent in accomplishing that goal for the previous year.
So after some reflection I have come up with my best tips succeeding with New Years resolutions. I have kept it fairly broad so that you can apply these tips to any resolutions you have. But I will use my goals as an artist for an example.
1. Choose One Thing
It's okay to have more than one resolution, but have one that will be your core focus. You'll find that you're more likely to succeed this way. And you will find that when you have one thing going well it will spill over into other areas of your life. For example, my main goal last year was to start working towards 10,000 hours of art. That was the one focus. Even though I had goals to complete 20 hours a week, create a body of work, display it and sell it. I tried to not get too overwhelmed with the details. Whenever I got off track from doing art and putting my hours in, I wouldn't think about all the sub goals. I would just think, you're only job is to put in the hours.
If you're having a hard time deciding on one thing, take some time to reflect on the last year of your life. Write and meditate. What areas would you like to see improvements on? What did you really hope to accomplish last year that you gave up by January 15th? Do you want to get better at a specific technique? Do you want to build a website? Have an art show? If you are having a hard time deciding, maybe just set a goal to have a regular art practice. That is the basis of my goal in doing 10,000 hours of art.
If you have a goal that you don't have much experience with, do some research. If you want to learn a new technique, what kind of resources are out there? Are there classes online that would help you stay on track. If you want to have a show, or display a few pieces, look into calls to artists. If you want to build a website, look into what your options are. You may want to use something like Squarespace so you can build it yourself. Or you might want to pay someone to build it for you. In my case, I want to work on my 10,000 hours of art again this year. So I will need time. How can I get more time to do art? Well, I had to do some research on finding quality childcare so I would have some time alone to do my work without my little one interrupting every few moments. This was a big obstacle for me in 2017. Childcare wasn't an option. I only had time to do art when Rose was napping. So this year I decided to ramp up my hours I would need some additional help. I also thought to sign up for a class at the University, which will provide multiple benefits. Such as learning new techniques, meeting other artists and, of course, more time toward my 10,000 hours of art. Between childcare and my class I will have 16 hours a week to work on my art. And that doesn't even include nap times or evenings after she goes down for bed.
What habits will you need to have in order to accomplish this goal? You will probably need to do some serious thinking about this. You want to create good habits around your goals so that you're moving toward your goals like clockwork. If you want to work on some aspect of your art skills, you will need to put in the time. Wether it be a skill, a website or having a gallery show, you're going to have to put in the time. What kind of time management habits do you have? Think about how the current habits you have may or may not be working for your new goal. And then be realistic about creating new habits. Like, don't try to get up at 5:30AM to work while the kids sleep when you normally don't even wake until noon. Ha, just kidding, what mom wakes at noon; unless she has been hospitalized? For example, one bad habit I have is that I procrastinate. As soon as I have free time, I find that I am not sure what to do next. As a mom and an aspiring artist, there is an unending to-do-list. There are a million things I could be doing other than art related work. Sometimes I feel like I have so much to do I will just sit there and not decide what to do. My mind just spins over all the things! Using the 5 second rule is key for me. If you don't know about the 5 second rule, watch the TED talk about it HERE. It helps me decide, and then counting down gets me up off my a%$ and gets me to work. And another important habit for me is planning. Which leads me to tip number 4.
This may seem obvious but you want to plan and even schedule for your goals. You'll need to be realistic about this. Don't take on too much at first. I like to do time blocking for my goals. Schedule your time blocks like you would a Dr. Appointment. If you miss it, you'll get a fine or something. Have all of your materials prepared, or allow time for preparing. And maybe even use the 5 second rule when it's time to get to work. If you want to have a show, you'll need to write a plan, or a to-do-list. Write each and every step necessary to make that show possible. For me, last year I wanted to work on 20 hours a week toward my 10,000 hours of art. Now after looking back and seeing how many hours I completed, I see where I could use improvement. And for me that was scheduling my art time. Which in my case was difficult because I needed someone to be with my baby for that to happen. Well, as I mentioned before, I have Rose in daycare for 10 hours a week. And then I have school for 6 hours a week, and I figured the other 4 hours I can squeeze in during her nap or in the evenings. And sometimes it's possible to work while she is awake. She has gotten much better at entertaining herself. I will block out the 4 hours each Sunday for the following week. I will also be sure to block out preparation time, so that my supplies can be ready when it's time to work. Planning is a big part of making good habits. And finally, one other classic example of planning goals is to use the SMART method. SMART stands for, Specific, Measure, Achievable, Realistic Timely. HERE is a website that walks you through how to create SMART goals.
Have reminders, EVERYWHERE! Maybe hang up photos of art of artists that inspire you. Hang up your own art. Get a flier for the gallery or shop you want to have your art show at. Put a reminder on your phone. I do this with google assistant. Shoot, put post it notes everywhere. I personally need visual inspiration. I have a vision or a dream board with some of my favorite artists in their art studios. My calendar has the art of Alphonse Mucha. I have my planner that I use regularly which has my blocked out times for art. And this year, I plan to put a few post it notes around. What do you think are some good ways to remember our goals?
And that's it folks! I hope you have found these tips useful in thinking about your New Years resolutions and that you have much success in your goals for 2018. Personally, 2017 was a year of many challenges and growth, so I am really looking forward to bringing all that growth and new knowledge to 2018. I am excited to see and show you all the art I'll be pumping out. I hope to bring you motivation and inspiration. What are your goals for 2018? What strategies do you use to stay on top of and succeed in accomplishing those goals? Share in the comments below! Maybe we can all support each other as we move through the year.