Feel like you start the new year ready to reinvent your life, only to find that, a month later, those aspirational resolutions have gone by the wayside?
Maybe the problem isn’t you. Maybe you’re just tired of making and breaking the same resolutions over and over again. You know the drill: lose weight; eat better; work less; exercise more. It’s no wonder you’re uninspired to keep them going past January.
So why not break the rut this year? Try a new resolution. Do something fun, creative, interesting.
1. SEE REAL ART
Looking at art not only elevates your mood, but it can boost cognitive growth as well. Make a habit out of getting up close and personal with art (not just on the screen).
- Make a resolution to visit a different gallery or museum each month.
- Find a listing of public art and galleries near you and take a year-long art tour. Reference the list often, spend a few moments investigating new parts of your community and look a little more closely at those places that you know well.
- Go to gallery openings (there’s often music and free food — yay, date night is covered and you can share the experience with your loved one!)
- Make it a family affair. Museums and many galleries are kid-friendly and offer activities and Family Art Days for the littlest creatives.
2. CONNECT WITH OTHER ASPIRING ARTISTS & CREATIVES
There’s a trap that a lot of creatives fall into, and it’s that you have to succeed and do things on your own. While that’s possible, a great resolution for those who want to branch out is to meet and network with other creatives. Connecting with other artists allows you to learn through others – this could be technical skills, or simply learning about a material, or piece of equipment that improves your creative process. It can also provide critical feedback on your own work, helping to move your work in new directions or get you “unstuck.”
With technology and the growth of maker spaces and shared studios in many communities, there are lots of places to network and make connections, including:
- Online communities, such as DeviantArt or Doodle Addicts
- Local “maker” nights, “meet ups” and Open Studios
- Critique groups, like Peninsula School of Art’s Critique Group
Make it a goal this year to meet or connect with other creatives once a month.
3. LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Learning fuels our creativity. Ideas can come from making connections between seemingly unrelated things, so learning something new in one area of our lives can trigger ideas in another. Curiosity and creative thinking go hand-in-hand.
Maybe you have always had an interest in printmaking, handmade pasta, pottery, or history. Why not take your interest further by learning more about it? Your resolution could be to:
- Take a class or workshop
- Participate in an online course, like those on CreativeLive.com or SkillShare.com
- Find books to read up on topics yourself
- Invite friends over for monthly art-making or film-watching parties
4. KEEP AN ART JOURNAL OR SKETCHBOOK
It was artist Paul Klee who said, “a drawing is simply a line going for a walk.” His quote aptly captures the simplicity of sketching — an art form so beautifully uncomplicated it requires only a piece of paper and a writing utensil. You don’t have to be a successful early 20th century painter to excel at the technique.
A sketchbook is a great place to keep track of creative ideas and get in the habit of regular drawing. Not every drawing you do needs to be a finished work of art. You can use a sketchbook for rough notes, thumbnails and “lightbulb moments.”
So much of our lives are spent rushing from one thing to the next, plugged into some sort of technology. In the new year, disconnect and reconnect with the world around you. Put a sketchbook in your pocket instead of your phone on the next walk you take, and instead of taking snapshots to post on social media, take out that pencil and paper and draw what you see.
If you like to collage, try filling a box with inspiring paper scraps that you keep in a space that you like to create in. Find some good paper glue and fill the sketchbook pages with paper creations.
Do you need a deadline-based project to motivate you to create? For a small fee, The Sketchbook Project will put your sketchbook in the Brooklyn Art Library, where anyone can read it.
5. BE OPEN TO THE UNFAMILIAR OR UNCOMFORTABLE
Being receptive to different ways of doing things can open your mind to new possibilities. If you normally believe that your way is the right way, then you may never realize that there is a better option.
Once you become more accepting of new ideas, you’ll find yourself exploring other ways to solve problems. The phrase “think outside the box” may just become a part of your life. You might try to come up with different methods rather than what you are used to doing.
Open-mindedness adds to your creativity and allows you to discover something out of your ordinary. Make a resolution to:
- Talk to a stranger every week
- Say yes to everything for a day, week or even a month
- Throw a dart at the map and take an impromptu road trip
- Host a dinner party once a month and cook or share a new cuisine
While New Year’ resolutions may not be a magic bullet, consider creativity is a journey. It's a way of seeing, a way of approaching the world around you with curiosity, and looking for the connections between seemingly disparate ideas. Here’s to a creative 2019!