Resolutions 2013

Like most people that I know, I make New Year’s Resolutions every year. And, like most people that I know, I fail to keep them. Every year.

What bothers me about this is that these “resolutions” are usually things that I *want* to do. I mean, sometimes my resolutions are about what I think I *should* do, but usually they are about what I want personally, yet I still fail.

I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve decided, for myself anyway, that I fail because I’ve turned my desires and ambitions into burdens, tests that I must pass in order to feel good about myself. I think, in some way, my body and mind know that my value as person is not based on whether or not I achieve my goals and *I* do not let *myself* achieve them.

So, for 2013, I’m changing things up. Instead of making “resolutions,” I’ve decided to “give myself permission” to do wonderful things! I want to do wonderful, awesome, creative things, and the only one stopping me is me, so I’m giving myself a break and setting myself free to be, well, me.

I’ve structured my goals and ambitions, because that is who I am, but I don’t have to feel like I’ve failed if I don’t meet them, yet I can still celebrate when I succeed (and I have criteria to judge whether or not I’ve succeeded).

My two big goals for 2013 are 1) to unleash my creativity and 2) to finish projects.

2013: The Year of Living Creatively

My desire is to create something every day: write a song, a short story or scene, take a photograph, create a poster, draw a picture, make a video, etc.

There are so many creative outlets that call to me, yet I rarely allow myself the time to pursue them fully. Yes,I am a good musician and a decent writer, but I want to be so much more. I believe that “so much more” can be accomplished if I practice and “do”. (More on that later).

I dug out one of my old journals and I intend to use it as a scrapbook and log book for all of the things I create every day. It’s only a hundred pages or so, so it won’t be enough if I actually do create something every day, but how great would it be if I filled it up and had to buy another one because I was making so much art?! “Pretty great” is the answer to that question. I would also accept “Freaking Awesome” or even “Nice!” as correct.

Ironically (or poetically), I did not “create” anything yesterday, January 1st. You would think that I would want to start this “Year of Living Creatively” off with an early success. You’d be right to think that, except I spent yesterday hanging out and playing with my favorite people and dogs, even going to the park for a while. I don’t get to do this all the time and if I could, I would. I will always give myself permission to experience tremendous joy and pleasure with the people I love, even at the expense of my art.

Lucky break for me: I’ve talked to myself and decided that it counts if create something “for” every day. For example, this blog entry counts as a “creation” and I’ve deemed it to be for yesterday (which is when I intended to write and post it, anyway). I plan to create something else today, so I’ll still be on track to bring 365 new things to the world this year. Which leads me to:

2013: The Year of Finishing Things

I’m not a great finisher, I can admit that. I work very hard and smart on projects, at work and at home, and I have a lot of energy and motivation at the beginning, but tend to abandon them in the middle, or more often than not, right before they are finished. I get distracted or lose interest. I don’t know why. Again, the obstacle is me. I’ve given myself permission to finish the things that I start.

I’m inspired by the Bre Pettis’s “Cult of Done Manifesto”. I, too, want to “make things”. I really like the part “If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it”. During this year, I plan to accomplish and create more than just small ideas that I can create in a day, I want to make big things, too! I’ll be making notes and getting inspiration for bigger, longer projects, and working on them. Yet, I will keep this rule in mind, if it takes more than a week to get started on a project, I’ll abandon it. There are lots of other ideas than can be realized and if an abandoned project pops back up and the energy and motivation is there, it can still be realized.

Where this is all heading

I have a day job and (try) to create things at night and on the weekends, but what I want to do is create things all day long. Or, at least, create things during the day and spend time with friends and family in the evenings and weekends. The problem is that I do not have the skills to make it in any professional creative field. I’m decent to pretty good in a great many things, but not at level that would allow me to support myself financially, let alone a family. My intent with this year is to change that. Before I am forty years old, I want to have the option to pursue a creative career, or several creative careers all working together to allow me to be both fulfilled and secure. I believe that my creative skills will only get better the more I use them and that if I explore many different forms of expression, I will find one or some that fit me and talents the best.

This will, of course, entail a great deal of sacrifice. I’ve already sacrificed a lot in pursuit of art and music, but not enough. I’ve already cancelled my cable TV, and will, if I want to succeed, be spending less time on Facebook and playing video games. My hope is that, even the entertainment that I allow myself will give me inspiration and ideas for my own development and expression. Also, books books books. I will be reading everything I can get my hands on, because that is how I learn and it makes my brain happy. I will dive into my Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator books. I will be hanging out with Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, and Stephen King (and stealing as much as I can from them). I’m saving up for a higher-quality digital camera and a better digitizer for my computer. I’ve registered some more domain names, so that when I’m ready to strike out on my own, business-wise, I will have them in place.

2013 is going to be a great year. We survived the Mayan Apocalypse, things can only go up from here. For my part, I am going to work hard to be who I am. I think that’s the best thing I can do for myself and the world.

Author: Jonathan David Ward