How to Make Your Artistic Goals More Positive, Manageable, and Realistic
By Kaitlin Ruby
We’ve all been there--New Year’s “Resolutions” that we never quite get around to….well….. “resoluting”. Maybe you tried to eat healthier, or exercise more, or take more time to pursue your artistic goals. Regardless of what your resolutions for years prior have been, we’ve all been guilty of setting goals and just... not following through with them.
That’s why we are here to help you break down your goals for the year into small, manageable, positive, and realistic endeavors. This guide will give you tips on the best way to stay focused on achieving your goals, without being too hard on yourself. You are only human, after all.
Without further ado, here is The Artist’s Guide to Crushing Your New Year’s Resolutions!
1. Take stock of your successes and accomplishments.
As artists, we are often our own worst critics. Before beginning to write your resolutions on everything you want to accomplish in the new year, take a moment to reflect and practice gratitude for everything you have achieved so far. It’s up to you whether you would like to focus on just this year or everything up until this point, but it’s crucial to recognize how far we have come, instead of solely focusing on where we want to go. It’s important to dream about the future, but make sure that it’s a healthy balance of appreciating where you are now, as well as areas in which you can improve. Being mindful of both is essential to creating a healthy way of moving forward into this new year.
Accomplishments can be anything from “I did my first art show” to “I didn’t give up even in the face of adversity, and I am proud of that.” Additionally, try to avoid comparing your journey to others. It’s way too easy to fall into the trap of diminishing our own personal successes and self-worth by comparing our artistic journey to our colleagues.
2. Make an effort to look on the bright side of setbacks and discouragements.
It’s really easy to dig ourselves deeper into a hole when going through hard times. The feelings of hopelessness can be incredibly overwhelming and frustrating. To combat this, practice looking at everything as a lesson. Practice gratitude that you are going through this now, because it will make you that much more equipped for success in the future. Everything is temporary, and sometimes we do need to hit rock bottom in order to prepare and strengthen ourselves for all of the endless possibilities in the future. A great resolution for artists and creators is to remain positive even in the face of adversity. This is your journey--take pride in every single accomplishment and setback. Both your accomplishments and downfalls make you who you are and makes your journey uniquely your own. The things that are meant for you will come. Take comfort in the fact that no matter what, you are one step closer to achieving what you were meant to achieve.
3. Make a list of easy, affordable, and healthy habits for the year to create more balance in your life. Improve your craft by improving yourself.
Before you begin writing out your goals, get yourself into the headspace of what you need to accomplish, instead of trying to accomplish more than others. Really listen to yourself and what you need for your journey. How can you best improve your life and craft in a way that suits your current lifestyle? What are the most practical steps you can take in order to get closer to your goals?
Big dreams are all fine and good, and you definitely should not give up on achieving the monumental in your life, but be as precise and realistic as you can on what steps it will take for you to get there. It probably won’t happen overnight, but in order to start building the life you have always dreamed of, you have to also be willing to take the more mundane steps. For example, if you really want to grow your client base this year, you have to start networking. To start networking, you should probably be frequently putting yourself out there and start doing more shows. RAW events are great in that you are expanding your potential customer and fan base by nearly 900+ for every single time you participate. That's ...a lot of people, and a lot of potential business.
You have probably heard the phrase, “Hustle Smarter, Not Harder”. Find ways in which you can create more balance in your life, and how you can work hard while still maintaining your sanity. Create boundaries for yourself and adhere to them so you don’t pay the price later. Make it a priority to find ways to improve your craft by improving yourself. For example, if you frequently suffer from burnout, maybe focus on creating a good work-life balance this year. What do you need to do in order to give yourself the time to rest before your body inherently forces you to by making you sick? Maybe that shows up in the form of not taking on literally every single opportunity in fear of saying no or missing out. Maybe instead, practice some soul-searching and only say “yes” to the things that truly align with your goals as an artist.
4. When setting your realistic goals, make sure your goals err on the side of positivity instead of negativity.
Now that you are ready to write down your goals, make sure that they have a more positive approach than a negative approach.
For instance, instead of writing:
Do not make mistakes while performing on stage!
When a mistake is made, continue the performance as you would if you hadn’t.
Not only is the first sentence almost entirely unattainable, but it is very negative. When you are saying to yourself, “do not ____”, you are automatically creating a negative space, as well as ignoring the reality of human nature and human error in the process of building up new, healthy habits. By creating limits for yourself, you are subconsciously making it that much easier to break your resolutions.
It’s kind of like when we are told to do something by someone. Sometimes, we just want to turn around and do the complete opposite of what they said. Practice what it would be like to just give yourself space to be mindful of your goals, instead of making them the “end all be all” by the way you phrase it. Leave room for mindfulness and human error, and you’ll find that not only will you have a more positive outlook on healthy habits and goals, but that you will dread change less and not be as harsh on yourself in case you accidentally slip up.
To summarize, go into the new year with a positive attitude and the dedication to be more mindful, regardless of anything that you may face. 2020 is a new year, and the beginning of a new decade. Where will you be by 2030?
That, my talented friends, is up to you.
We here at RAW are wishing you so much success, joy, and abundance in 2020. Happy resolution-making and Happy New Year!