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Setting Artistic New Year’s Resolutions- and how to stick to them

Now that we are a week into the new year, most of us have probably given up on our new year’s resolutions, or maybe I’m just looking for some solidarity here! From taking up more exercise to waking up earlier, most new year’s resolutions fall short before the first hurdle. Instead of giving up until next January, I have decided to forgo the usual health and fitness-related goals and dedicate this year to more actively pursuing my love of art.

The calm before my resolution fails,

So here are some of the ways I am setting myself realistic artistic resolutions for the coming year, and hopefully, sticking to them!

  1. Finally, make a dent in my to be read pile

A visual representation of my To Be Read list, Yink Shonibare,

I have a stack of at least 5 books on my bedside table at any one time in the hope that I will finally stop buying books and actually read a book on my to be read list. Just one, not a big ask. I think the pressure of reading certain books because they are seen as classics or ‘trendy’ puts me off reading altogether and makes the whole pursuit feel like a school assignment. I normally end up loving the books I read, but it is like pulling teeth to get me past three pages!

I am in a complete reading slump.

In an effort to get over this reading rut, I’m going to aim to read one book a month. Not a big ask. No judgmental book snobbiness allowed.

If one month I read Jane Austen and the next I read Jilly Cooper, I’m going to be just as proud of the accomplishment. Hopefully, by being nicer to myself and focusing on what I actually want to read and not what I feel like I should be reading I can refind my love for books, and stop having to lie about all the books I haven’t actually read yet!

2. De-stressing with art

During the first lockdown I, like many, turned towards art as a way to de-stress, relax and try to find a semblance of grounding through all the madness of this new post-Covid world. Then school and life happened, and once again I have forgotten the joy and calm that writing brought me through those months.

Whether your art is painting, music, writing or you are yet to find what works for you, dedicating one day a week to relaxing and enjoying your art is a great way to de-stress and ground yourself.

I’m dedicating a Wednesday to this pursuit, as hump day is well and truly a drag in my opinion, and I find that I need a little boost of happiness and serenity mid-week more than any other time. I also think its vitally important to get away from the emotion that self-care and relaxing can only happen at the weekend or when you have a completely free schedule. If anything, mid-week and mid-chaos is the most important time to de-stress by creating art, and I’m going to make the effort to do so more.

Greta Gerwig in Mistress America,

3. Learn the classics

I know I said I wanted to abandon my snobbery when it came to reading, and I do, but I also think this is a great time to think about educating ourselves on the greats and oldies of the art we love. I personally love films and am somewhat ashamed of my constant rewatching of Clueless and Bring it On, so I am making an active effort to watch some classic films this year.

I know that I love thrillers, so I’m adding Hitchcock to my watch list on Netflix and I also want to start watching more independent film, starting with Greta Gerwig’s back-catalogue as I loved her in Mistress America. Consuming art should not be a punishment, so there is no need to watch stuffy old black and white films if you cannot stand them, but by pushing ourselves to try something new we may learn about a new interest and love.

Alfred Hitchcock directing 'Psycho',

So whilst I’m asking you to leave book snobbery behind, I do think its important to get to know the greats of whatever your ‘thing’ is. If you love music, read up on who influenced your favourite musicians and listen to them, if you love art, find out more about your favourite movement and use gallery websites to see them virtually whilst the world is shut up. As Oscar Wilde said, you can never be over-educated, and with the internet at our fingertips, we should try and find out as much as we can about what we love.

4. Help small and local artists out

The pandemic has been brutal to the arts and they are only going to survive with our help. It’s effortless with google to do your research and find local and small artists and art business to support and help out. Personally, I’m tired of giving my money to Jeff Bezos and large cooperations, so I am going to try buying all my gifts this year from local artists so that I can help support the arts whilst giving unique and special gifts to loved ones.

I am also making the effort to support local music venues and galleries by following and engaging with them on social media to help build their online presence, and going to as many events as possible when things are back to normal.

I may be the self-titled queen of new year’s resolution failures, but by scaling my artistic goals back and focusing on resolutions that will make me happy, I hope I might have some success with them this year!

Hopefully, this post has given you some inspiration to be more artistic and involved in the art community this year, or, at the very least, made you feel better for already failing on your resolutions!

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