Goals, Resolves Or Words? A New Year Conundrum

6:28 AM

Stillman and Birn Zeta Journal
with beautiful, WHITE, unblemished pages
What To Do, What Not To Do

Set goals! No, don't set goals.

Make a resolution! No. Wait, don't do that.

You don't need resolutions, you need a word of the year!

Or better yet, you need a system! Forget all those other things, you need…blah, blah, blah.

If you've been surfing the internet in recent days, I'm sure you must have run across lots of posts about setting goals, setting resolutions, NOT setting resolutions and choosing a word or words for the year. Or not.

It's a bit of a conundrum.

My thoughts on the process—do what works for you.

That's what I'm gonna do.

I already set goals so that's not anything big.

I can't say as I set resolutions only because I don't get the big deal. I'm either gonna do it or I'm not. Fanfare won't make it happen.

Systems? Now, a system is something I can get my head around because that's something that sustains me and what I want to accomplish throughout the year, but I'm not so sure I need a system on January 1st.

Word of the year? I had the word "bold" choose me way back in '09.

It still hasn't turned me loose.

So I'm thinking maybe I don't need a new word but more time with the old one?

While I don't have much to say about the do's and don'ts, must do's and must nots, I can say this: without some kind of goals, resolutions, systems or words, I am very likely to wind up where I started.

And for me, that's simply not acceptable.

When I look back, I want to see progress of some sort. I want to see a better version of myself and if it takes setting goals, making resolutions, choosing words and creating a system, well then, that's what I'll do.

Looking back at last year…well, let's just say it was not a good year. I had a measly 29 posts on the blog for crying out loud. When I look at my sketchbooks, I still have a lot of white pages to fill.

I didn't take any trips or do any traveling at all.

Instead, it was a year of recovery, of healing deep wounds and figuring out what would be coming next.

Where To From Here?

Now, I could beat myself up over the last year's dismal output or I can congratulate myself for surviving and coming out stronger.

What do you think I'm going to do?

For me, 2014 is like a spanking, brand new journal with 365 days (pages) of pristine, beautiful, unblemished white pages…and regardless of whether it is intentional or not, I'll leave marks on each of those days.

Some days, I'll like the marks I make. If I'm lucky, I might even love them. Others days, not so much, but those marks will always be there. All I can shoot for is to do my best.

But the coolest thing, regardless of whether it's a good day or not, I get to (hopefully) turn the page and start anew!

I have a saying on the wall in my studio that says, "Make each day a masterpiece." That's a pretty tall order to achieve and it's beyond me to accomplish that. It brings unbearable pressure to even think that's possible.

What isn't beyond me is to bring my best to each day. I can start out each day with the intention of making the day masterpiece. And if it isn't, I can just turn the page and begin again.

Some days, it just ain't gonna happen! But for those days that it does—score!

A Fool Or An Optimist?

They say hope blooms eternal and I am a living, breathing example of the thought.

At times, I wonder if I'm a fool or an optimist, but it really doesn't matter because come this time of year, I'm like a little kid all excited about the possibilities of the new year! What might I make happen?! What opportunities are going to present themselves?! What fun people am I going to meet?! What new friends might I make?!

Doesn't that sound delicious?!

And really, I wouldn't have it any other way.

What do you do at this time of year? Goals, resolutions, systems, words or something else?

Whatever you may choose (goals, resolutions, words or something else), I wish you the very best wishes for a fantastically creative 2014!!

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19 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Thank you Laure. I felt like you wrote most of this post with my thoughts in mind. Ha.. Yep, I have a word that has followed me through last year. I think it still works for me. Focus is what I need. I will focus on my artistic side this year. I don't know what happened last year but my focus was elsewhere. I wish you the most creative year ever.

    1. I think a lot of folks had that kind of year last year, Lisa. I hope to read about your focus and how it helps you through out the year!

  2. I've never done resolutions, I've made many goals and fallen far short of them (because, apparently, after you set them you have to DO something) and I've had words of the year with somewhat mixed success. I love the idea of the fresh, unblemished pages waiting for us to make our marks. I'm really shooting for a year of growth myself, making progress instead of just talking about things. I'm working on my own system of getting things done and so far (just one week into the year) it seems to be helping. Now to keep it up for the other 53 weeks!

    1. It's that pesky "DO" part that keeps tripping us, I bet!! 53 weeks? Wow, you got a bonus! I've gone back to some old systems that kinda worked, but I've yet to find one that works for any length of time. However, I'll take what I can get at this point!

  3. Laure, great post . couldn't have said it better. It is good to know I am on the same page as someone else. Thanks for sharing.

    1. As I mentioned above, Diane, I think many of us were a little…lost…in 2013. I certainly was! Here's to a fabulous 2014!

  4. Laure. Thanks for the inspiring post! My "goal" has been survive and do as much art as possible while working full time teaching third grade. Your imaginary trips made it possible for happiness because I wanted to travel and paint. It was at least possible for me to paint ABOUT traveling with your classes. I am still hoping to travel. Next hurdle is to make it with our new business so I can pay for healthcare or until true retirement age, THEN I can travel! You helped me get through last year. Thank you a thousand times!

    1. Ah, Jan, I'm familiar with that goal of survive. It's a sucky place to be until you consider the alternative. I'm so glad to know I had a positive impact on you and your art last year. I wish you the very best with your new business. Keep sane!! (And you're more than welcome!!)

  5. "What do I do this time of year...?" Well.... I also roll various words around in my mind looking for the 'right fit' for the new year. I was on a roll for several years with a word (or phrase) that sparked my life each year. Last year I didn't come up with any new word and decided I wasn't done with "Sparkle". However, in all honesty I guess I just lost interest early in 2014 with the recycled word. I think I was ready for something this year.

    2014 will be different. An odd thing happened mid 2013 when I started thinking about "re" (outside the context of 'word of the year') and words beginning with 're...' started popping in my mind - rediscover, reconnect, release, rebuild, reunite, renew, redefine, redesign, reinvigorate, ....... the words just kept popping up for me. Along came the holidays and I forgot about my fascination with 're'. Then I started seeing references online for 'word of the year' and I got thinking ..... hmmm.... I must decide what I'm going to do for 2014. I tried on a couple of words to see how they fit, but 're' popped up again rather than a specific word. I think I'm going to go with 're'. It will be interesting to see all the 're' words that come up for me and travel with me through 2014. I'm sort of excited to meet them along the way ... maybe come up with some graphical piece for myself where I add the words as they emerge. So.... a little different slant for me this year. Happy 2014 to you!

    P.S. I LOVE your seasonal blog header! ;-)

    1. P.S. You sure provided a great summary of these different practices. I've found that it is helpful to pick something to travel with me through the year.

    2. Yes, I too think 2014 will be different. I'm different. I am in a much different place than I was last year. Re-connect has been a word following me around lately as well. Perhaps the two of us can reconnect this year.

    3. "re-connect" - great idea! ;-)

      P.S. Another ''re" word jumped into my mind today that might serve as my overall umbrella word for the year: "reset". Being at the midpoint of my life it is appropriate to "reset" different aspects of it.

    4. I know a number of folks that could use a "reset," me included! Good one, Claire!

  6. Laure, thank you for this post! It is refreshing and I too hope to have a better, more intentional year, doing what I love and feel led to do, and art is a big part of that. Maybe I'll get in another of your virtual trips. Hugs!

    1. An intentional year! Love it, Katie. I do think that was a piece, a big piece missing from last year. There was nothing intentional except getting through it. Well said and I would love to travel with you again!

    2. :) Just read your next entry after this one (love your thinking!), and I'm so happy that my mention of needing to be more intentional to follow my heart, especially in art, rang a bell for you. I agree with your newest post that intentionality could become a slave driving perfectionist nightmare if taken to an extreme. I could never live intentionally every minute or hour either, guaranteed failure. Which would probably put me right back into a rut. ;) I need to give myself 'intentional free, no expectation' time too. Balance is sure tricky. Ha ha!

  7. I have never done resolutions or even really set goals exactly. I did a word one year and never really did anything with it. This year I've thought a few times about the word create so I may select that and try again. I've really just thought of New Years as a fairly arbitrary division, but I can see where it would be useful to review your progress and that is as good a time as any.

    1. I've tried the solstices and they work, but the first of the year really seems to work best for me.


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