This is not going to be an article about how new years resolutions are great. This is not going to be an article that will make you feel bad about yourself or guilt-trip you into promising so many new and exciting things for next year. This will be an article that will hopefully bring some encouragement to creative types (or anyone!) as we enter 2019.
At the end of each year, I tend to get what I call "creative guilt." It starts in October—Inktober. I love drawing and don't do it as much as I'd like, so Inktober seems like a good idea. However, drawing one picture in ink per day every day for a month is a lot harder to keep up with than it sounds (especially if you're a bit of a perfectionist like me).
Creative guilt continues into November—National Novel Writing Month. As a writer, NaNoWriMo seems like a good idea and even something that I feel obligated to participate in. However, writing 1,667 words per day for a grand total of 50,000 words in a month is a lot harder to keep up with than it sounds (especially if you get stuck on crazily detailed worldbuilding like me).
December becomes my catch-up month. But December is also busy, and I like to see my family as much as possible too.
Have you experienced this creative guilt?
If so, hear me say that it's okay. You may not have met every goal, finished every challenge, written every word or drawn every drawing, and that's okay. You made it through another year. You had good ideas. And you will get there eventually.
But yet, that creative guilt still sets in sometimes.
So what's a creative type to do?
Well, simply put, you do what you can.
In 2019, I'm giving myself realistic goals.
For me, realistic goals will be smaller daily word counts, like 200 words. A realistic goal will be to carry a small sketchbook around so that I have the chance to draw instead of scroll Instagram if I'm bored. A realistic goal will be to read every night before I go to bed.
Sure, these are small, simple things. These are things I used to do all the time. But then life happened, I got busy with work or other responsibilities (the joys of adulthood) and I got out of these habits. But this year, I'm being realistic instead of continually saying, "Ugh, I wish I still did all the creative things I used to love."
The creative guilt might still set in, but I'll know I'm working toward developing a habit. That's what every goal setting or get-your-life-together article that I read says—to form a habit. And I'm doing this by setting realistic goals.
What will a realistic goal look like for you?
Maybe your goals will be like mine: smaller daily word counts or designated reading time. Maybe your goals look completely different. Maybe you need to stop editing as you write. Maybe you need to edit more. Maybe you need to branch out and try watercolor painting. Maybe you need to read a different genre.
Maybe you need to repair that friendship. Maybe you need to make that resume. Maybe you need to clean your apartment.
Whatever you need to do, whatever your goal, be realistic. You know yourself. You know what you can handle and you know what needs to change.
Let's make 2019 a great one by being realistic.