New year equals new resolutions right?
I often wonder why it is that we all put so much pressure on ourselves at the beginning of each year? We tell ourselves to relax over the holidays, to enjoy the simpler things in life, and prioritize family and home life, but then BOOM, the new year comes and it’s all about planning your life to the smallest detail in order to achieve all the goals you set for yourself for the next year. We go from zero to 1000 overnight and begin the cycle again of judging our value based on our productivity and our ability to check off which new year’s resolutions have been achieved. Well this year, what if we tried to think about our goals and resolutions differently? Is there a way in which we can work without ridiculous amounts of social or personal pressure to achieve our goals?
Personally my mind is as chaotic as my home, it’s a disaster. A mess of unfinished projects and ideas scattered about. I’m the queen of trying new things at the drop of a hat, and most often I find that my follow through falls apart about 80% of the way through the project. It’s not that I admit defeat, or that the challenge is too much, I just get bored. This is the #1 reason I don’t meet my goals. Am I busy all the time? Absolutely! Am I passionate about what I do? Without question! It is focus that I lack, and I struggle with the idea that I need to be fabulous at everything I do, so if there’s potential I’ll only be mediocre then I sometimes don’t finish because then it’s always open to the possibility of being fabulous, right? Got to lose that fear of mediocrity.
So this year I’m going to make some loose resolutions about what I want to achieve, but more importantly I’m going to set some time aside to do some real work; that is work on myself to better understand how exactly it is that I work.
So how does one come up with resolutions or creative goals? Sometimes the best thing to do is to sit quietly, go for a walk, perhaps drink a bit too much and dance around the kitchen; and pay attention in those moments to what it is that your mind always wanders back to. Perhaps it’s an idea for some paintings that you keep putting off because you feel like as a potter you should be more focused on the clay material. FYI limiting yourself creatively is never a good thing. Perhaps it’s a place in the world that calls to you with an opportunity, or even simply a desire to be in a community studio surrounded by creative passionate people, or the opposite – to find more quiet and alone time. Sometimes the way that we work is a default way of working based on what is the easiest or most obvious path. And sometimes it’s exactly the opposite of what we actually crave or need.
Recently in the Ceramic School MBA course the group was asked; “if you could do anything without risk of failing what would you do?” Seems easy right? I’d say I’d be in my studio everyday, making art. But then the second I said that out loud I thought, wait, but I love being around people, so how do i incorporate that? I want to be with my family, where do I find the time? I want what I do to have a meaningful impact on others. How do I even know what others need if I’m cooped up in my studio, nose down working? The complexity of every situation means that there are no simple questions and most definitely never simple answers.
I really wanted this blog article to have some lists; perhaps a map drawn out of how to achieve goals and motivational quotes about getting past failure. But that would feel pretty phoney, because I don’t have the answers. What do I know? I know that every year I use part of the January section of a calendar to try to organize my life and then stop using it for months. I know that I feel like every year I need to have a significant amount of resume worthy achievements in order to feel like I had some success (but really? I think this might be bullshit), and I know deep down but have to constantly remind myself that my value as an artist or human is not linked to how many followers I have and how much my work gets reshared.
I think I’m going to reframe the conversation about resolutions – “I will do this” – which seem so unwavering, so rigid, and instead talk about goals. Goals such as “I intend to, or desire to”, seem far more hopeful, and about ambition and purpose.
So here’s my goals for this year…
I’m going to work hard at maximizing my impact on social media by following the examples of leaders in the field, but I will also focus on separating my work life and my home life more so that work isn’t the priority. I’ll make sure there are at least a few hours in each day where my phone is in a drawer in another room far from me.
I’m going to seek out new opportunities and experiences. But I’m also going to analyze each potential opportunity for it’s real value in my practice, and I’m going to say no to things that don’t feed my passion, that I feel guilt about, or that simply are too much for my schedule to handle. And I’ll say no knowing that there are always more opportunities out there. Plus if the opportunities don’t present themselves then there is zero reason why i can’t manifest my own opportunities, right?
I’m going to work hard to get better at what I do, practice and learn all the time. I’ll make this fun and I won’t bore myself with repetition to the point of not loving my work anymore. Art is work, hard work, but when it stops being fun then time to move on.
I’m going to leave notes for my future self. A little weird yup, but a lot happens in a year and I have a bad memory, lol. So spending some time setting reminder notes in my online calendar now will hopefully help me to refocus on my goals later in the year. When those notes pop up months from now it will be the cue to sit down and spend time really looking at how things are going. Am I overwhelmed in that moment because I said yes to too many things? Am I working in an environment that is supportive and inspiring or is it a pain to haul myself to work everyday? Have I lined up any new opportunities yet, or should I stop and take some time to look for those?
I’m curious of course about how you all keep yourselves accountable? How do you feel about setting resolutions and if you have tips for follow through on those? Please share in the comments! I’d love to read about your resolutions for this year and how you’re doing now that we’re in week two of the year.
One of my go to tips lately has been to stop overthinking everything. Is it perfect? Likely not. Is it good enough? Probably. Hit send, submit to that exhibition, etc. I can’t keep waiting for things to be perfect before I try because I’ll never make that sublime piece, have the dream studio, the flawless website or the proper know-how to do many things. So I’ll instead put aside fear and just do. I resolve to do things that scare me. Oh wait I said I wasn’t going to make any resolutions and there I just made one. I guess I’ll also be open to change of plans, to change of mindset. I guess I’ll just resolve to be here open and ready to learn and listen, try and fail, succeed and share.
If one of your resolutions is to focus on your business this year make sure to check out The Ceramic School MBA Course.
At the end of the 12-Week Workshop…
You’ll have your own personal brand, website and online shop setup.
You’ll know how to price your work, and create sales funnels and processes that get people to purchase more from you.
You’ll know how to use social media for business, and create marketing funnels that turn strangers into super fans, and bring potential customers into your online shop.
You will know how to use Email Marketing and Paid Advertising effectively to boost your pottery business and drive more sales.
You will finally be ready to get your ceramics out in front of the right people, who will be eager to buy your work.