Today is the last day of the year. Plus, the whole decade is coming to its end, so there’s so much to recap! We’ve all made many mistakes (and hopefully learned from them), and we’ve made a lot of good and bad decisions. A year’s end is always a good time for setting goals and guidelines that will help us grow and become better in the year ahead of us. And I’d like to share my thoughts and inspire you to set realistic goals without putting too much pressure on yourself.
I tend to make New Year’s resolutions every year. They’re not always clear and explicit goals, but rather “road signs” to guide me towards improving myself as a creative and as a human being. Interestingly enough, I wrote an article about my goals for 2018 as 2017 was coming to its end, and they were all focused on photography. But then, life happened. And as you can probably already guess, my New Year’s resolutions didn’t.
In 2018, I didn’t develop film, I wasn’t too active on photo-sharing websites, nor did I finish a photo challenge. The biggest challenge I started in 2018 was trying to keep my s*it together after my life turned upside down. Photography did help me survive, though. And quite honestly, that challenge is still ongoing and it will likely extend to 2020 and beyond, but I guess that’s life. And that’s why we love it.
I did buy that tripod though, along with other gear I really needed. After a few bad choices, I finally found the perfect wide-angle zoom I’d been looking for (Sigma Art 18-35mm f/1.8 in case anyone’s interested). But all of that only happened this year, not in 2018.
What I’m trying to say here is that you never know. Life can always throw a couple of unwanted bad surprises at you. In fact, it most likely will. These unplanned circumstances may stand in your way while chasing your goals. First of all, they could take up too much of your time. Or worse, they could drain you so bad that you don’t feel like going out of bed, not to mention doing anything else. Unwanted surprises can prevent you from reaching all your goals and your full potential, and you may feel additionally frustrated because you didn’t achieve what you’d planned.
So what can you do? Well, you can rephrase your goals. Set them a bit differently so you don’t put the additional pressure on yourself. Maybe even make them a bit vague, even though most people would tell you to set clear goals. To illustrate my point, here are, two years later, my New Year’s resolutions:
Do something for the first time
In my opinion, almost nothing beats the thrill of doing something for the first time. For you as a creative, this can mean trying a new technique for the first time, using new software for the first time, start (and complete) a challenge for the first time… You get the point.
For me, as a photographer, this means trying a new technique (I wanna try this, but I sure hope I’ll try more than just one). And for me personally – I would like to sing karaoke for the first time. But even if none of these things happen, I’m sure I’ll have a couple of other “first times” in 2020 anyway, and that sure makes me curious about what the New Year will bring.
Do “silly” things that make you happy
Are there any things you’ve always liked doing, but they seem “silly,” “childish” or whatever now that you’re an adult. Well, do them. Do them regardless of whether they’re related to photography or not.
As for me, it makes me happy and calm to make birthday/Christmas cards, ornaments and stuff like that. A few days ago I was sitting on my living room floor, cutting out paper snowflakes like a kindergarten kid, and I was having a time of my life. I just wish more moments like that for myself and anyone who reads this.
Take time for yourself
In 2020, take some time off. And this doesn’t mean use the “leftover time” after you’ve finished all the work and all the chores. What I mean is that you should choose to take some time off and consciously make some room in your busy schedule. Honestly, this is something I need to learn and I definitely plan to before I lose my mind.
Use this time off to just hang out with yourself and relax. Use it for introspection, for creativity, to do those “silly things” or to do something for the first time. After all, occasional retreats are as good for your creativity as they are for your wellbeing.
Be creative in other fields
Photography and filmmaking require us to be creative, and I believe that’s why many of us love them. But allow yourself to explore other creative areas and the scopes of your own creativity. In a way, this can be related to that “do something for the first time” bit. If you try a totally new creative field, you may be surprised just how much you’re talented for it and how much you like it.
In my case, I discovered that I’m pretty good at cooking (especially when it comes to desserts). In fact, I started enjoying it so much that I even started a blog about it this year. I’ve always been a creative person and enjoyed making jewelry, birthday cards, ornaments and the like. Making something creative and tangible makes me happy and helps me relax, and in 2020, I’d like to spend more time doing it during that free time I mentioned before.
As you can see, my New Year’s resolutions are a collection of goals that may seem a bit vague. What I also realized while writing this is that they all complement each other and they are intertwined.
Even though my goals are not perfectly clear and strict, they are all guidelines to one universal goal. And it’s not just the goal for 2020, but for the entire life: to become a better version of myself (no matter how cliche that sounds). I want to be happier, calmer, more creative, and more daring, and that’s what I also wish to all of you reading this. Happy New Year, everyone!
[lead image credits: Annie Spratt on Unsplash]