Do you share my displeasure for resolutions? All they seem to do is arm us for failure or, at best, mediocrity. And yet, with the roll around of each January we find ourselves prompted to be doing more – to be thinner, fitter, better read, more engaged – superhumans ridden with guilt.
In recent years, I have embraced the idea of the anti-resolution: an acknowledgement of what we do well already and just sharpening it up for success, rather than a kind of hoop-jumping aspiration set up to fail.
Here are six anti-resolutions we encourage you to embrace. They are your simple right – so exercise them.
1. Don’t work on your days off
Should I just write it 100 times on the blackboard? We all fall into this dark abyss, so my advice is just to focus on how good it feels when you do it. And my guess is that the world didn’t collapse when you did take that day you were owed? To be brutally honest, probably no one noticed.
As Christine Long writes in her article, Why rest is good for you and your creativity: ‘In a work-dominated culture, where being busy is equated with worth, rest can become something we hope to get to one day when we have more time.’
The anti-resolution: This is not a resolution; it is your simple right. Don’t confuse it with a goal – just do it.
2. Defrag at the end of the day
I ignore my phone alarm every day, when at 5.45pm it reminds me to “sign off”. One of our top read articles remains, Why lying down is an artistic superpower. ArtsHub writer Jo Pickup discusses how the process of lying down on a hard, flat surface for up to 20 minutes is an effective way to shift the nervous system to a state where both body and mind can break free from what could be unhelpful repetitious cycles. It feels great … but for some, as a daily practice, that feels like a tough resolution to take on.
Rather, take an extra five minutes as part of your computer shutdown process – you do it anyway. Close files, light off, shutdown – and apply that to your body. Close the eyes, block everything out, relax the frown, the jaw, the shoulders and take a few deep breaths. Now walk out the door and leave work behind you.
The anti-resolution: Lying down isn’t just reserved for bed. Close the eyes and defrag at your desk.
3. Find time for my own creativity
Sometimes it is hard carving out time to nurture your own creative juices, but that doesn’t mean you need to enter the desert. One of the most common resolutions is “read more books” or “spend more time in the studio”. The reality is that life is busy.
You can boost your creativity on the hop – listen to a podcast and stay connected to a creative community. Earlier this year, Rochelle Siemienowicz took a look at 7 podcasts to boost your creativity. Do yourself a favour and don’t compromise on your own “studio time”, and just rethink how you do it. Lock a regular time in your diary and look forward to it, rather than cheating yourself with guilty reschedules.
The anti-resolution: You can still be part of a creative community, without entering the studio.
4. Say no to disrespect
Largely, humans don’t like confrontation. So when conflict or disrespect arises, the easy path is to just walk away. But today, there is no excuse for poor behaviour in the workplace – whether it be safe working conditions, gender equity, copyright acknowledgment or basic fair pay. As a creative you are a business too!
In February last year, ArtsHub took a look at how to deal with disrespect. This is not an endorsement for “tanties” or “biffo”. Rather, we encourage you to put the self-doubt in the back pocket in 2024 and stand up for yourself. It is about re-educating those around you to “walk the talk”. Human decency is not some pie in the sky goal – it’s the stuff of regular days and nights – and we all feel a bit better in a respectful world.
The anti-resolution: This is not a resolution – professional respect is a basic right.
5. Be kind to others … but also be kind to you
Kindness in the workplace is the sidecar to wellness. While they are both big topics and tap into the current zeitgeist, they need not be a big routine change. Like laughter, kindness is infectious. If you are kind to someone, it is usually reversed.
The anti-resolution: Be a little selfish to be kind, and hold back a little something for yourself.
6. It’s OK that you don’t do everything
Most professionals working in the arts are perfectionists in their work – whether it be delivering the best performance, a new body of artworks for an exhibition or scribing a new book. But we can’t be perfect all the time.
Embrace the fact that in 2024 things will go wrong, things will be cancelled and that you will feel the pressures on your team, that you are not as perky and gung-ho, that you can’t see all the exhibitions and shows, that you will miss many things … and just accept that you are human – not superhuman.
The anti-resolution: It’s OK to feel mediocre (hey, you’re not alone!).