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Ring in the New Year by Setting Creative Goals!

by Sassafras Lowrey

It’s the time that many of us are taking stock of what we did (or didn’t do) this year and our goals, hopes, dreams, aspirations for the year to come. As you’re setting your resolutions for 2021, think about adding some creative goals into the mix. Reading books, watching movies, making art, listening to music, doing crafts, making cosplays are all things to think about when you are setting goals. Regardless of if you are someone who considers yourself an artist, bringing creativity into your daily life — making and/or consuming. Art has been showing to have positive impacts on people’s physical and mental health. It doesn’t matter if you’re “good” at art (What does that mean anyway? Art is subjective and personal) but just the act of being creative is what’s good for you. Megan Carleton, a Harvard art therapist involved in research about the healing properties of art noted “it’s the process, not the product” that is beneficial. And most of all it’s a lot of fun and after 2020 I think we all can use a bit more fun!

Here are a few tips for setting your creative goals for the next year:

Personally meaningful

Setting goals any time of year and especially around the start of a new year can be fun, but it can also compulsive, like you must do it. Any goals you set — but especially goals or resolutions that are about adding creativity into your life — ought to be personally meaningful, not what you think other people are doing or what will look good on Instagram. If setting goals for the new year feels stressful, skip the resolution part and just consider giving yourself space to spend more time doing creative things you enjoy in the year to come.

Be realistic

One of the big problems with goal setting in general, and especially the (often) toxic culture of goals or resolution setting that happens around the first of the year is how unrealistic goals often are. If you didn’t read any books last year because your schedule is busy, and you are a slow reader, don’t decide that you are going to read 150 books in the new year. Quality matters over quantity here. You don’t have to have unending amounts of free time, or expensive supplies to bring creativity into your life. Even just five or ten minutes spent drawing on notebook paper, coloring in a coloring book from the dollar store, reading a book from the library, or writing in a journal can help to clear your mind and add some sparks of joy and inspiration into your day.

Don’t be afraid to explore!

When you are thinking about setting goals for the year, don’t worry about what you’re going to be good at — instead think about what sparks joy or excitement in you. Do you like reading comic books? Do more of that! Like coloring? Take a few minutes every day or week and color some pictures! Try not to worry about if the art forms you like are considered age-appropriate. If you aren’t sure what kind of art you like, make it a goal to explore more. Access books digitally or physically from your local library, stream music online, or check out some queer zines online!

You are enough

We are all inundated with messages from advertisers, celebrities, “influencers” online, etc. that tell us that who we are isn’t good enough, or that we should want to change ourselves. Goals aren’t or shouldn’t be about trying to change you. You are enough just the way you are. When you are thinking about increasing the creativity in your life for next year, it’s about setting intentions to increase time spent doing things that you like, that make you feel good, and that improve your life regardless of how technically “productive” that time was. Creative goals don’t have to be big or complicated to add value to your life. When setting creative goals think about what will add joy and relaxation into your life. There is no wrong way to be creative!

About the Author:

Sassafras Lowrey’s novels and nonfiction books have been honored by organizations ranging from the American Library Association to the Lambda Literary Foundation and the Dog Writers Association of America. Sassafras’ work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired and numerous other newspapers and magazines. Sassafras has taught queer writing courses and workshops at LitReactor, the NYC Center For Fiction and at colleges, conferences, and LGBTQ youth centers across the country. www.SassafrasLowrey.com

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