Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolutions: Take Baby Steps (or Say NOPE!)

Happy 2014 everyone!

We hope you all had a safe and fun NYE, whether that meant sleeping through it, raging at some club, or playing board games or painting, we hope it was good for you.

This is the time of year when people often make resolutions about what to change.  We all want improvements in our lives (human nature, who doesn't?), but we think that often times we go about things the wrong way.

Two suggestions:

1) Scale back your resolutions into something absurdly simple.

2) Practice vulnerability and embrace who you are as enough.

Now, the explanations.

1.  Changing resolutions into something that fits who YOU are, and making them realistic.

Monkey keeps reading about how successful people wake up at 6am to get in some reading and crucial work done before the day starts.  Monkey is not a morning person.  Instead of fighting his nature and trying to do what others do, he has realized that he's much more likely to do work late into the night and then sleep in.  Instead of fighting who you are, embrace it and figure out how to mold advice into something that is possible (and easy) for YOU to do.

For artists, often we may say that we want to create more.  A typical resolution is to "draw everyday."  Well, if you're having trouble drawing once a week, maybe a new resolution you can make is "draw every week."  Make a resolution something that is REALISTIC.  If you work two jobs, are raising a kid, and have to check her homework every night, then it's probably not super realistic that you're going to be able to focus on your craft every single day.

Why not instead focus on doing something every week, or if you want to really prioritize the art making, maybe your new resolution could be "Pick up a pen and make a single mark in your sketchbook."  While this sounds incredibly easy, that's the whole point.

This is how habit formation works, and while making a masterpiece or a finished piece might be too intimidating, making a single mark seems almost stupid.  But that's the point.  As you keep making a single mark, or writing a single word of your novel, or painting a single brushstroke, you'll find that since you're already started, you'll probably want to keep going, just for a bit.  After a while, working on your craft, no matter how small, will be such a habit that you'll be creating more and more and you'll have integrated it into your daily life.

2.  Embracing yourself as "Enough."

Like we said earlier, it's in our nature to want happiness, and we often think that maybe we have to change to get it.  While often we can change (and need) to change our behaviors in order to change the results we get, we also need to recognize that we, as human beings, are good enough as we are.

In our hyper-media-saturated world, we often hear about other who are richer, happier, better looking, etc. etc. etc.  Since we're always being sold something, we often think that we aren't good enough or skilled enough or ____________ enough, and that we need more.  However, real happiness can't be bought.

Especially if the resolutions you were considering are thing that you think you need to do to be a better person, we highly suggest reevaluating them and seeing what it is that you're really after.  It's very easy to get caught up chasing the carrot, when really you've had some lettuce in your pocket the whole time.
Like we always stress, you should create art for you, not for anyone else.  It shouldn't be for the fame, or the recognition, or the love, or the chance to meet sexy people.  Creating art should always be about doing something that makes YOU happy.  Creating should always be about creating, not the end product.

Yes, fame and fortune are nice, but embrace the artist that you are RIGHT NOW, and you might find happiness is a lot closer than you think.

Best wishes for a happy 2014.  Keep your head up, and let's have some fun creating this year!

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