Five days into the new year should be enough for most people to recognise that their resolutions aren’t working, and more often than not it’s because they’re about giving something up. By aiming to achieve something by the end of the year instead, we’re less likely to fail and, well, frankly, more likely to remember what it was we wanted to do beyond January too.
Each year I write two lists: one with a few aims for the year, and one of the things I’m proud of over the last twelve months. The two don’t need to particularly add up, but they can keep you on track a lot longer than resolutions and let you reflect on what you want to work on next. For me, it’s about keeping a bit of creativity in my life. Freelance writing sounds creative enough to most people, but in reality when you’re working from home and slogging through your accounts, emails and other admin tasks, it can leave you wondering where the imagination behind it has gone.
Here are five suggestions of creative tasks to keep in mind for the year ahead:
64 Million Artists
64 Million Artists is a national campaign supported by BBC Get Creative. Its mission is to see people unlock their creativity in bite size chunks. Whether you want to sign up to receive suggestions of a new daily task this month, every Friday, or just browse the website for suggestions, 64MA is about putting 20 minutes aside now and again to use your artistic side and share with others what you’ve done. Participants so far have written to their 8 year old selves, tried their hands at looming, and even just danced around their living room for a few minutes!
Keeping a diary is a great creative and psychological exercise, but it can be time consuming and frustrating if, like me, you can’t write at the same speed at which you think. Bullet journalling is about getting down a single thought or summary of your day, then having fun with it and decorating the page to become its own miniature artwork. This Bloglovin’ post has a suggestion for a different topic for each week of the year.
Go for a walk
I work from home most of the time, and it can be far too easy to let the kitchen be the furthest place I walk to by the end of the day. Getting out for a quick stroll around the block means you breathe some air other than what’s cycled around the room you’re in, and allows your mind the space to think freely. I often find that by the time I’m home I’ll have a new couple of ideas to help me through whatever I’m working on that day.
Adult colouring books filled the stockings of everyone I know this year, and with good reason. I used to work with vulnerable children and I’d often use colouring as a chill out activity and find myself grabbing a sheet and joining in too. There’s no amount of rage or frustration that can’t be ebbed away with half an hour in a quiet room and a box of crayons. Sure, it’s a bit silly, but as long as this trend stays within the walls of our homes and doesn’t become the next coffee shop activity I think it’s a great use of time.
Adult education courses
If you’ve got a bit more time to play with, and a spare £50 or so, have a look at the evening courses offered by your local council. These are often packaged as courses to upskill under qualified adults, but there are usually plenty of creative courses on offer too. I’ve attended a dress making course a few times now and have some great homemade clothes as a result. This year I’m thinking of trying acrylic painting or clay sculpting for something different.
Whatever you do, and for however little time you do it, being creative is about using a different part of your brain. In turn, you’ll rest other parts, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to work again after a quick break. Think of it as mental yoga if you like.
Leave your own creative suggestions in the comments and let me know what you plan to get up to.