Just like that, the first month of 2023 has come and gone. We’ve also just celebrated the Lunar New Year! Time to reflect a little: What creative goals did you set for yourself this year? Are you still on track with your new year’s resolutions? If not, what’s holding you back from becoming your best self in 2023?
As an avid bullet journalist who also comes from Asian heritage, Chinese new year and the abundance it brings is pretty much ingrained into my yearly planning. I don’t know about you, but I like to think of January as a free trial month of the new year. In that way. the real promise of “new year new me” starts in February. Because of this mindset, I can proudly say that I consistently see my new year’s resolutions through to December.
So let me share with you something I’ve learned over the years about setting new year’s resolutions. Your goals won’t work unless you do. All it takes is a bit of planning, some mindset shifts, and, of course, a generous touch of creativity.
Need new ideas for new year’s resolutions? Looking for inspiration to achieve your goals? Here’s a helpful guide from one creative to another!
How to use a journal to set and stick to your New Year’s resolution
ZenART's Dotted Journal, comes in 5 beautiful colors.
Maybe you said you’d make more art this year but instead used up your free time binge-watching on Netflix. Maybe there was a different art medium you wanted to try out but all you did was unbox your new year’s art haul. Maybe you said you’d journal more but stopped after page three (guilty!).
By February, 80% of new year’s resolutions have already failed.
If you’re part of that 80%, don’t feel discouraged. As creatives, failure is an inevitable part of the process. It’s how we bounce back from it that matters.
To stick to any new year’s resolution, it’s important to have both a schedule and an accountability partner. And as creatives, what better way than to keep an artist journal? Let your journal set the stage for you to achieve your goals! Here are som new year’s resolution art ideas and prompts you can do in your journal.
Set a schedule and be realistic
You’ve got to make time to make art. They say a goal without a plan is just a wish. The most basic step in achieving your goals is setting a deadline or time blocking. What time of the day or day of the week do you have the most energy to work on your goals or focus on yourself? But make sure to be kind to yourself. Don’t get overworked over a resolution.
Find your why
Many new year’s resolutions fail because we’re not fully emotionally committed to them. You might also be putting too much pressure on yourself to achieve something in a short amount of time. Take a step back and ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal. Your why becomes your inspiration for the new year. Try to make a new year’s resolution drawing that reminds you of your motivation and place it somewhere you can see every day!
Have a word, quote, or affirmation of the year
Keep yourself inspired and grounded with a motivational phrase or word for 2023. Have fun with hand-lettering this word or quote in your journal! Use your favorite markers or even watercolors and embrace the art of affirmation!
Make a vision board
Another fun new year’s resolution art activity is creating mood boards and vision boards. If you could achieve your goals without fail, what would your life look like by next year? Cut stuff out of a magazine or print out photos that embody this vision. Then stick them in your journal. You can even integrate this with your quote of the year!
Break down this long-term goal into smaller, achievable monthly and weekly tasks
My personal secret to upholding my new year’s resolutions? Dream big, then take baby steps. Whatever your goal, word, or quote for the new year, make sure to break it down into smaller, actionable tasks. See how you can incorporate these new year’s resolution art activities into your monthly and weekly schedule.
Habit Tracking: Turn your resolution into daily micro-habits
Every resolution requires consistency. Say, making a small art piece every day or journaling a few lines. A habit tracker is what helps you stay accountable. Another good new year’s resolution for artists—especially if you’re going through burnout—is mood tracking. It helps you better understand and focus on your mental health.
New Year’s Resolution ideas for artists
Hopefully by now, we’ve given you some insight on how to better approach your new year goals. So let’s put these tips into action. Here are some new year’s resolution ideas for artists and aspiring creatives.
Do your morning pages
If you haven’t yet, go check out The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron’s best-seller and my personal bible for overcoming creative burnout. In it, Cameron offers a tool to unlock your inner creative spirit: the morning pages. These are three pages of stream of consciousness writing done first thing in the morning. It’s an exercise in turning off your inner critic or editor and just letting your thoughts flow. Trust the process. Over time, it leads to self-discovery and profound creative ideas.
Or just write or draw a few lines every day
“What if I’m not a writer, but I still want to get into journaling?” It’s okay! We all start somewhere and when we do, we’ve got to start small. Try writing just one or two lines a day. Or start your new year resolution drawing with just one brush stroke. It only takes five minutes. Over time, build up the pace and volume. Soon enough, you’ll have filled a whole notebook with your creativity!
Start a daily gratitude practice
Try this out for a daily art journal prompt: what made you smile today? Being more grateful every day doesn’t just benefit your mind and mood, but it also positively affects your body, similar to writing a few lines each day, take time at the end of the day or week to reflect on what you’re grateful for.
Take one art class every month
Here’s what we mean with scheduling. Instead of saying “make more art” or “take more art classes” as your resolution, add a time element. How much time can you commit each month to learn something new? You can start with something as simple as a 10-minute YouTube tutorial - check out ZenART's YouTube channel for a wide selection of real-time tutorials!
Find inspiration through a reading goal and schedule
As artists, we’re constantly tapping into our own reservoir of creative energy and ideas. But you probably know by now that it’s not an infinite resource. Every now and then, we feel blocked or uninspired—maybe even burnt out. That means it’s time to refill the well. That’s why books are a source of comfort and inspiration for so many artists. It exposes us to new perspectives. It truly pays to be completely engrossed and entertained by a book. So set a reading schedule, perhaps every other night or every weekend. Try to hit a target of, say, 10 pages or a chapter every time!
For health-conscious artists, try fitness journaling
If your goal this year is to be more fit or healthy, use your art journal as a fitness journal! You can draw or paint what you eat, or make art for the delicious food that you make. You can also set a fitness plan, tracking and taking note of your workouts or how many steps you take every day.
Overcome perfectionism and burnout one page at a time
Did you know that perfectionists have a higher chance of burning out? If there’s something perfectionism and creative burnout have in common, it’s that they stem from a fear of making mistakes. If you’re suffering from creative block or if you’re feeling burnt out, it’s time to hit pause. Take it one day at a time and one page at a time. Use the blank page to rest and recover. Or try a new medium just to change things up a little.
Here are 21 self-care journaling prompts to help you out!
Share your work with the world
Sometimes the hardest thing for artists to do is to show their creations to others. Especially if they’re the type to be critical of themselves or their work. I’m guilty as charged! But again, you’ve got to start somewhere and start small. Show a group of your most trusted friends. No need to ask for feedback just yet! Or start soft-launching your art on social media. Pro-tip: turn off the notifs. It’s less about the likes and comments, and more about authentically expressing yourself.
We’d love to hear back from you!
What are your new year’s resolutions? What sorts of new year’s resolution art pieces have you made—or are making? Let us know in the comments below! It’s never too late to make 2023 your year! We’re totally rooting for you and your artistic pursuits this year.
Looking for more inspiration or motivation? We’ve got a whole section just for you on the ZenART Supplies blog!
- MEET THE AUTHOR -
Belle O. Mapa is a writer and artist based in Manila, Philippines. She believes that everyone is born with an inner creative spirit—we just need to nurture and discover it on the blank page. Currently, she lives out her passion: writing stories, hosting journaling workshops, and advocating for mental health awareness.