We are finally into the New Year and I think most persons would agree that 2016 was particularly trying, in one way or another. I couldn’t believe there could be so much buzz about the end of a year as there was for the big, bad Y2K but last year was proof once again that great tragedies can unite even the most divided among us. It was a long time since any of us witnessed the collective cries of people all over the world praying for the end of that chapter and the beginning of a new one. Murphy’s Law might have won last year but those of us who were spared have the opportunity to shape 2017 into our best year yet.
At this point I think we’re all tired of reading the “New year, new me” posts on our social media timelines. They are well intentioned but also so short-lived that most of us looking on are left shaking our head in disbelief. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Even the most undisciplined of us can take charge of this year and remain consistent in our effort to be productive. Creatives are especially prone to the dreaded “burn out” early in the year, so in an attempt to curb that here are a few tips to help manage your resolutions effectively.
Expand your vision. Whatever you imagine for yourself in this New Year, magnify it by one thousand. It might sound cliché and borderline ridiculous but there is something to be said for dreaming big. If you could envision greatness in your life then why would you only envision a limited amount? Think beyond your current situation, way past all boundaries geographic and otherwise. Ask yourself “How could I use the things I love to make a meaningful contribution to this world?” I don’t think there is anything more fulfilling than discovering what you were meant to give back to the world, particularly at this time when self-obsession seems to be the order of the day.
Write it down. I love writing things down, especially lists. I like to think myself a professional list maker. There’s a strange kind of satisfaction I get from crossing items off my many lists. But aside from that, there is power in writing down your goals and constantly seeing them in front of you. This is particularly useful for persons who identify as either slightly or severely scatter-brained. Sometimes we lose track of our vision in the every day craziness of life. Things will pop up; life will throw us our fair share of curve balls but in the midst of that it helps to stay grounded in the vision we have for our life by reaffirming our goals.
Organize. This is perhaps the single most important thing we can do to effectively manage our New Year resolutions. Often times our resolutions fall flat long before we even get to February simply because we failed to properly organize our schedule. Effective time management is something most persons struggle to achieve. Most artists find it especially difficult since they are usually trying to balance multiple careers and projects at the same time. It might take some time until you find the rhythm that suits you best but you should commit to organizing your schedule in a way that accommodates work and play. Both are crucial to maintaining a healthy mental space.
Build your network. The saying goes, “Your network determines your net worth” and this is especially true for creative practitioners. Spend time nurturing a network that understands and supports your endeavours. Learn to discern the good from the bad; the people who want to see you win from the ones rooting for your downfall. Get familiar with the curators, writers, musicians and artists who understand that there’s room for everyone to shine; the ones who willingly share knowledge and offer constructive feedback about the works coming out of your studio. More importantly, don’t forget to return the favour to your colleagues should they need your support. As the mature folks would say, “Hand wash hand mek hand come clean.”
Take a break. Finally, don’t forget to breathe. Life can be overwhelming at times. Responsibilities can cloud your vision and threaten your aspirations. It’s okay to stop every now and again to regroup (just as long as you don’t stop for months at a time). Sometimes taking a break is the perfect answer to any blockage you might be experiencing in any aspect of your life. It gives you an opportunity to step back and examine your situation through clearer lens. So don’t feel guilty if your body is telling you that you need to slow down or stop altogether. Instead, learn to take cues from your body and observe the positive transformations that unfold as a result.
This article was first published in the Pepperpot magazine of the Sunday Chronicle newspaper on January 1, 2017. Click on the link to be redirected to their website: