January gets a bad rep. Not only does it offer the come-down after Christmas and NYE excitement, it’s also characterised by bleak days, terrible weather and a never-ending stretch until payday. Ugh…
But equally, it’s the perfect time to make a fresh start. Whether it’s instigating an idea you’ve had been playing around with, or something as simple as rearranging your working space, it’s the ideal time to make a change and get doing, rather than just thinking. So with that in mind, here are 10 simple resolutions that every creatively-inclined soul might want to consider this year.
#1 Set yourself targets
Know what you want to achieve this year, and be realistic about it. Decide what’s most important for 2015 and get cracking: work out what you want to do, and how you can reach that goal. Break it down into small, manageable steps and it will seem 100% less daunting.
#2 Define your brand. Then re-define
Who are you, and what are you offering that no one else does? Know your USP and run with it. Look at what you currently offer in terms of website/blog/Twitter page/etc and ask yourself what it says about your brand, whether you’re a journalist or an artist.
#3 Know that value of what you do
Make 2015 the year you know, and respect, your own worth. Don’t do things for free unless you stand to gain something that you’re happy to receive in exchange, whether it be experience, recognition or, even better, cold, hard ££.
#4 Find a mentor
Google ‘mentor’ and the definition is: ‘an experienced and trusted adviser’. Having a mentor who you can take for coffee once a month and ask all the big questions is a valuable asset; if no one springs to mind amongst your contacts, have a look on LinkedIn or via the various mentoring websites. You’ve got nothing to lose by asking: be honest, be sincere and explain why you’d love to learn from them.
#5 Network more
You never know where an opportunity may present itself – and sometimes it’s in the unlikeliest places that you can find the opportunity to make a new contact. Keep an open mind and a stash of business cards in your pocket.
#6 Make more of an effort with social media
Get yourself out there! Find the medium that suits you best – whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc – and make a concentrated effort to consistently deliver with it.
#7 You know that to-do list of projects? Make at least one of them happen
It might be the book you’ve been thinking about writing, or the portfolio website you’ve wanted to set up forever: whatever it is, make it happen. Be realistic with your goals and they’ll be a lot more achievable.
#8 Keep learning
Something, anything… Keep those old grey cells ticking over. It could be reading a biography of your favourite author, signing up for a short course (Future Learn has a lot of free mini courses), enrolling for an MA… Whatever your budget, or your interest level, there are always ways to keep yourself learning. As long as you’re learning, you’re growing.
#9 Work out what your creative fears and limits are
It’s good to know. You might be terrified about going on stage or lack the patience to learn how to use a sewing machine – fine! As long as you know what your boundaries are, and where you are – or aren’t – willing to push yourself. Saying ‘no’ to something is a lot more satisfying than you might think, and it saves you the tedium of deliberating over and over about whether you’ve made the right (or wrong…) decision.
#10 Set yourself a weekly challenge
Ideas include: watching a foreign film (subtitles optional); smile at a stranger every day; go 24 hours without the Internet once a week; cook all your meals from scratch every day; go to an open-mic night; sign-up for volunteer work… The possibilities are endless. And so are you!