Let’s Make Some New Year’s Resolutions: 20 Suggestions to Get You Started

Sure, you can go ahead and make those you always make, the ones about going to the gym 3-5 days a week and eating more fiber. Those are fine. Great, in fact. You can resolve to eat less sugar and spend more time outdoors, but what about those other resolutions, the ones that feed your creative soul and push you to put more value and focus on the things that really enhance your well-being? I’ve been thinking about those, and I’ve made up a list of possibilities from which you can pick and choose: not all of them would work for you, but there are bound to be some here that would make 2012 a better year for you and those who love you and want you to be happy. Add them to your list, and then tell us what others you come up with–we’d love to hear them!

1. Spend time every day doing something creative–sketching, baking, gardening, writing–even if it’s only 10 minutes. But at least 10 minutes.

2. Spend less time sitting in front of the television. If you must sit there, have something to do–stitching, whittling, beading, drawing.

3. Learn a new technique every month. You can start here, with free tutorials and downloads.

4. Learn something you’ve never tried, something like crochet or stained glass that you never thought you’d want to try but that might be just what you need to open up a whole world of possibilities. This is bigger than what you’d try in #3–think some big thing like maybe welding. Encaustic. Something that will require commitment and effort but that will feel really, really good once you learn.

5. Buy less; use more. Instead of shopping for supplies, try to make something using what you’ve acquired already. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as making something without having to buy anything new.

6. Be nicer online. Remember what your mother told you? “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? It applies more than ever in this online world, where it’s so easy to add a snippy little comment on someone’s blog post or join in the ridicule on those sites where they post photos of projects gone bad. Resist the urge to join in the snarkiness and let your online voice be one of encouragement.

7. Given the option, try low-tech. Gizmos often just get in the way.

8. Feed your brain the Good Stuff–inspiring podcasts, TED talks, creative videos. Avoid doom and gloom and bad news of all sorts. If you hyperventilate listening to the news in your studio, try another station. Pandora has a huge variety, or you can create your own.

9. De-stash, de-clutter, and minimize the shopping. Try to weed out the stuff you never use and avoid bringing home more.

10. Find someone who would be thrilled to receive the gift of the stuff you’re weeding out. Packing up a box of barely-used art supplies for a young artist on a tight budget? Priceless.

11. Teach what you know how to do. If you’ve just learned how to knit and want to practice your skills, show someone else how to do what you’ve learned. You don’t have to be an expert to teach your sister-in-law or next-door neighbor the skills you’re still mastering. Then you can convince them to go with you to sign up for a more advanced class you’ll both enjoy.

12. Change your route. If you always take the bus to the library, try walking or biking instead. If you always walk a certain route to work, try going a block out of the way. Changing the route you take through the world exposes you to new places, new people, new stuff lying on the sidewalk or floating in the gutter. Who knows what you might see?

13. Change your routine. If you always paint before dinner, try eating earlier and going into the studio after dinner. Or vice versa–change things up just a little bit and see if you feel energized. If not, you can always change back.

14. Walk more. You see more when you’re walking, plus it’s good for you.

15.  Minimize distractions in the studio. If you’re always listening to music or halfway watching a movie, you’re not fully engaged in the project you’re working on. Studio music is fine for when you’re cleaning up, but even if you’re just prepping canvases, your brain might benefit from complete, uninterrupted quiet in generating new ideas.

16. Change your color palette. If you always use mostly warm colors, try using just cool colors for a month and note how that changes everything else. If you hate yellow, try working a little bit in here and there. How does it feel?

17. Keep a studio notebook. Get a spiral notebook and leave it open on your work table to jot down ideas, measurements, notes. Use the pages to clean your brushes or stamps. Print out photos and tape them in–at the end of the year, you’ll have a record of the year’s creative process.

18. If you’re feeling isolated in the place where you live, join or start an online group of people who’re interested in the things that interest you: rocks, encaustic, art quilts, rusty stuff.

19. Share the love. Send notes–actual, physical, USPS notes–to the people whose work inspires you. It may take some digging to get an address, but you should be able to find a PO box or business address. Try their Facebook page.

20. Worry less, create more. When you’re stressed or worried or discouraged, pick up something–some clay, some stitching, your sketchbook–and re-direct your mind by doing what you love.


Now it’s your turn–what are some of your creative resolutions for 2012? We’d love to hear them!


Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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4 Responses to Let’s Make Some New Year’s Resolutions: 20 Suggestions to Get You Started

  1. CarolineA says:

    TV time at night is when I tend to do things like quick sketches, spinning, etc, so I want to extend my creative time this year to during the day as well. For once I have my year planned, and if I stick to it, I will have done well! If it doesn’t work out, there is always the year after – practice makes perfect! It won’t be boring; I fully expect to be thrown out of my comfort zone and challenged, so who could ask for more?
    Happy New Year to everyone and may yours be as full of promise as mine is!

  2. Hi, Rice. whenever I see your name under an article I know this will be a good one. 🙂

    I love your 2012 list above. Some things I have done/been doing already and it made me smile to read I’m on the right track. 🙂
    I think I might do with some more planning this year so I like the idea of learning something new every month. And I certainly need #1 – at least 10 minutes a day of creating – not getting discouraged by a blank page or my own doubts and fears.
    Thank you for helping me to get my thoughts and plans organized.
    Happy creating

    • Rice Freeman-Zachery says:

      Thank you, Eliza~~I hope you find even more than 10 minutes a day. Maybe the Extra Time Fairy will visit us all this year. Wouldn’t that be lovely?