This year I am making New Year’s no-resolutions. ¬†And here’s why.

New Year’s resolutions are always about doing something you really don’t want to do, in order to achieve something you know you ‘should’ do. (Even writing that made me feel exhausted and demotivated. ūüėĀ)

And then, even worse, there’s the judgement when you don’t achieve the goal. When the resolution fails within the first week, you don’t need anyone else to make you feel like a failure. We’re all very good at doing that to ourselves.

At the beginning of November I stayed out of the studio to do some work on my web shop. But, there was a constant little voice in my head that kept telling me that I should be in the studio painting. I was actually feeling guilty about not painting. What was that all about?

We are driven by the expectation of others. ¬†More accurately, we are driven by what we think others expect. ¬†But, in fact, these perceptions are almost always exaggerated. And self-imposed. And that’s what was happening in my head.

So, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I’m choosing to set no goals at all. I’m stepping back from pushing myself, and doing what feels right every day. It may be family time, or taking a long walk with a friend. There are plans for trips away with my husband. There will also be time painting in the studio – when I feel the creative urge.

How often do you find yourself saying, “I should….”?

It’s something I realise I do too often. I’ve started paying attention every time I think those two words. It’s often a sign that I’m feeling pushed into doing something that I’m reluctant to do. It’s an opportunity to stop and ask whether I really ¬†will benefit from taking the action. And if so, does the benefit outweigh the mental and emotional cost? ¬†Can you relate to this?

Getting to the point – What are my New Year’s no-resolutions?

I’ve learned that you have to say no to some things in order to be able to say yes to others. ¬†This year I’m saying no all of these:

  • 30 days of anything!
  • 100 day challenges
  • Commissions I don’t really feel passionate about.
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Anything that starts with ‘I should…’
  • Feeling obliged to post regularly on social media (My Instagram feed has had very few posts in the past 2 months)
  • Worrying about having a niche or a style in my artwork

In the extra time this will release I am looking forward to doing more of these things that bring me pleasure:

  • Learning things just because I am curious about them
  • Eating slow meals with good friends
  • Time with my family
  • Nurturing and growing in a gentle way (my art, my garden, my home)
  • Taking short breaks away to visit museums and galleries on my wish list
  • Painting just for fun, with no concern about whether anyone else will like the end result.
  • Clearing out things I have held on to that no longer bring me joy

Overall, this year I will be kind to myself and everyone around me.¬† If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s to embrace every moment you have to create joyful memories.

May 2024 be a year of more kindness – starting with ourselves. Happy New Year to all you lovely readers.

Do join me in making as many New Year’s no-resolutions as you can manage.

(Image: The higher we go, the more we unfurl)