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I first published this piece in January 2016, but after reading it again, I've realized that it still holds up for January 2017. It was really meant as a list of personal things that I wanted to follow for myself in the new year.  However, I realized that other creatives might benefit from this as well.  And so, I broadened my scope and changed the title from “Michael’s New Year Resolutions” to “10 New Years Resolutions for Creatives.”  If you wish, take this and make it your own.  Happy New Year!

1.  GIVE THANKS EVERY DAY.  While it’s still hard work, there’s no denying that your talent is a gift from God and shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Be gracious and grateful.

2.  REMIND YOURSELF EACH DAY THAT YOU'RE GOOD ENOUGH.  Feeling good now opens your spirit and makes you more receptive to new ideas, lessons and personal growth.

3.  HONOR YOUR VISION.  You are here to express your own individual creativity, not mimic the work and ideas of others.  Stealing other people's ideas makes you nothing but a liar and a thief.  That's not you.  Is it?

4.  BANISH THE NAYSAYERS.  Constructive criticism is great, but naysayers are nothing more than negative forces that need to be shown the door.  Do NOT allow them to get you emotionally involved.  Say goodbye to them for good.

5.  CREATE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.  Is anything better than being in that zone when you KNOW you’re kicking ass?  Bring your “A” game to your work and life and feel the inspiration and miracles flow.

6.  PROMOTE LIKE CRAZY.  Too many artists and creatives like you spend weeks, months and years working on great things only to let the ball drop when it comes to letting people and the world know what you’ve done.  Put yourself and your work out there!  Make those phone calls.  Use social media to the hilt.  Send out those marketing email!  This is BIGGER than YOU.  When you promote your work, you are promoting contemporary art in general and you’re telling and showing people that ART is IMPORTANT.

7.  KEEP A JOURNALBelieve me.  I’m a writer.  Keeping a journal will help you get clear about your work and your process.  I want more artists to be able to eloquently express themselves about why they do what they do.  Creating is important, but documenting your creation is also important.  Art historians, curators and critics are very important, but not more important than the voice of the artist.

8.  STOP WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED.  Assume that wealthy art collectors, prestigious galleries and great art patrons don’t exist.  Now what are you going to do?  You’re going to rise to the occasion, that’s what!  You create every day.  Apply that same creativity in your daily life.  Think and act like a pioneer.  Imagine that everything depends on you ... within reason, of course.

9.  PUT YOURSELF FIRST.  This sounds selfish, but it's absolutely not.  Nothing is more important than your physical, mental, spiritual and financial health.  You have to put your own well-being first … before you can create or doing anything to help anyone else.  If you are drowning or going down in flames, how are you going to help someone else?  Get your own self together first.

10.  STOP COMPARING.  We live in a competitive world and we must know how to compete.  That’s the reality.  However, we must keep competition in proper perspective.  Stop comparing yourself to other people.  Stop measuring your success or failure by whatever you see others doing.  You have GOT to let this GO.  It is NOT serving you.  This makes no sense and only serves to take you down the wrong road.  It only breeds anger, depression and resentment. 

When you compare yourself to others, you’re telling God that he wasted his time in creating you.  You are not a mistake.  You are here to be YOU and to live YOUR unique life.  Besides, when you compare yourself to others, you still have no idea what they truly have, how they actually got it OR what they’re doing – good or bad - to keep it.  The grass always SEEMS greener on the other side.  Much of the time, it's not. 

Here’s wishing you a new year full of productivity, personal growth, conquered challenges and overwhelming blessings.

Michael, ArtBookGuy


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