How To: Make New Year’s Resolutions and Goals That Stick

When it comes to kicking off a new year of creative ambition, do you believe in New Year’s resolutions or goal-setting? That’s the question we asked Stacey Meacham and Raven Erebus, Minted artists who, as it turns out, advocate for setting attainable goals. Read their strategies here.

Stacey Meacham
Atlanta, Georgia
Stacey’s Minted Artist Store

I’m a list maker, so I am all about setting goals. I tend to set goals throughout the year, though, and am not a fan of one-time New Year’s resolutions. I feel like big, grand gestures can fall flat, so I like to set quarterly goals, which range in size. I like to set small, attainable goals and big-picture goals, and I try not to freak out if I don’t hit all of them. I just kind of add them to the top of a new list and start to chip away at that. Setting goals and thinking of new ways to generate business helps me focus. Making lists helps me prioritize which goals are most important at any given time. For example, I’ve had one goal on my list for some time now and haven’t even scratched the surface of making it a reality, but I’m fine with that. That day will come. For now I am happy to have other goals that were on my radar for some time ticked off. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment to cross off a list item. It shows that you are making progress—and I am all for progress.

I think it’s important to be realistic with your goals early on. That’s not to say don’t dream big, but if you need to take a workshop or class to hone your skills, be real with that expectation and make that one of your goals. I realize things take time. Overnight success is not the norm, so setting goals is a good way to work toward something bigger without setting yourself up for failure. Especially if you have mini-milestones along the way. Pat yourself on the back and recognize your little successes as well as your big ones.

Looking Sharp” save the date card by Stacey Meacham

One of my goals for this year is to increase my Instagram following. I admit I’ve been putting that on the back burner and it needs some attention. I’d love to get my following to a place where it opens up new opportunities for me with other creatives. It would be a dream to get noticed by a person or company I admire and do a collaboration with them. Cheers to 2016!

Simply Stated” foil-pressed holiday card by Stacey Meacham

Raven Erebus
Los Altos, California
Raven’s Minted Artist Store

Setting a clear goal and deadline helps me make sure I do something rather than just putting it off until that nebulous “tomorrow.”

This year, I plan to continue a project I started in June 2013. At the time, I had been making a few collages and posted a few on Twitter. Then I discovered the #collage365 group. I began following @DavidSmithArt, who started #collage365. With his encouragement, I decided to join. My goal was to create a collage every day and post to Twitter with the tag #collage365. It was the handful of people on Twitter who gave me the encouragement and inspiration to keep going.

That year of collage making really helped me. My collage and layout skills improved, and I developed an eye for what worked. The routine of making art every day helped me learn to work through creative blocks. I created a body of work that was taken by Themes + Projects (aka Modernbook Gallery) to many art fairs and sold around the world. I also have a solo exhibition, “The Magical Worlds of Raven” at NEMA Artway, which includes some of the pieces I made during #collage365.

An additional challenge is that I have a chronic illness, Ehlers-Danlos, a genetic disease that affects collagen, causing pain and fatigue. I also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Lyme disease. I’ve been unable to work for several years, and sometimes just getting out of bed can be a challenge. My art keeps me sane, makes me feel useful, and gives me something creative and productive to do. Art is what saves me.

Taking on a daily challenge is daunting even without a health issue, but it can be done. Work with a small standard size, prepare materials so you’re ready to work, and set a daily time limit will help keep it from being too daunting. It’s best to set a reasonable expectation as well—not every piece is going to be great. But as you go on, they’ll get better if you keep going.

Make Haste” collage by Raven Erebus

Please join me in making collages and share them on Twitter with the tag #collage365. Maybe you’ll want to do sketches, photos, watercolors—whatever works for you. I can’t wait to see what we make!

How about you—are you a fan of goal-setting or New Year’s resolutions? Share your answer in Comments below and on social media with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe.

Artist finds inspiration despite health challenges
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Published January 4, 2016 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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