Five New Year’s Resolutions that Fuel Creativity

Creative New Year's resolutions

Yesterday I shared last year’s creative new year’s resolutions, and I thought it would be fun (and maybe useful) to share some resolution ideas for making this a more creative year. Without further ado, I give you five resolutions, free for the taking, that will make 2012 a year full of creativity.

New Year’s Resolution Ideas that fuel Creativity

1. See Real Art

Do you enjoy visiting museums, but find that you rarely find time to go? Looking at real art not only elevates a mood, but it can boost cognitive growth as well! Here are a few ideas to choose from on how to make this a reality:

  • Make a resolution to visit a different museum each month.
  • Become a member at your local art museum, and milk it for all it’s worth. Go to all the openings (there’s usually music and free food — yay, date night is covered and you can share the experience with your loved one!), take the kids (many museums are kid-friendly and offer activities for little ones), and/or visit once a month, on your own, on a quiet weekend morning.
  • Find a listing of public art in your town or city, make or download a map to carry in your bag or car, and take a year-long art tour of your town. Reference the list often, spend a few moments investigating new parts of town, and look a little more closely at those places that you know well.
five new year's resolutions that fuel creativity

2. Keep a Sketchbook

Keeping a sketchbook can mean a lot of things, and you can tailor this to fit your personality and goals. On my artist friend Susie’s suggestion, I enrolled in one of the most inspiring classes of my life, Art as Process with Kata Hull at the SMFA (School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). One of my favorite exercises was creating a double-page spread (DPS) in a sketchbook every single day. All this means is that I would open the sketchbook and fill the two pages that were in front of me with anything that came to mind. No pressure to be amazing. By completely this task every day, I eventually become better at articulating my ideas, ideating, and I had tomes of inspiration to look back on at a later date. It’s been a while since I’ve maintained they rhythm of creating these DPS’s, but I still refer to those sketchbooks when I’m searching for a visual idea.

  • If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you could make one nature drawing every day.
  • If you like to collage, try filling a box with inspiring paper scraps that you keep in a space that you like to create in. Find some good paper glue and fill the sketchbook pages with paper creations.
  • Do you need a deadline-based project to motivate you to create? For a small fee, The Sketchbook Project will put your sketchbook in the Brooklyn Art Library, where anyone can read it.
  • You could also using a specialty journal like One Sketch a Day: A Visual Journal
five new year's resolutions that fuel creativity

3. Start a Blog

Did you know that blogging can boost your creativity? It helps me organize my thoughts, motivates me to show up almost daily with new ideas and inspiration, and allows me to reflect on my thinking (case in point!). If blogging speaks to you, why not start today (or January 1!)? After blogging for one year, I’ve met countless people who inspire me to think more creatively and tap into ideas I wouldn’t have otherwise conceived. A lot of growth can happen in one year, and it can all start with one post. The key here is to make every attempt to post often. If you want to become a better writer, a more creative parent, or a stronger blogger, you need to make a daily or weekly commitment to it. I love blogging, and would be happy to offer support and words of encouragement to anyone thinking about this as a resolution.

  • You can sign up for a free WordPress or Blogger account and have your first post up today. I’ve happily used both platforms, and currently write on a self-hosted WordPress platform (something to think about if you plan to get serious about blogging).
  • Make a commitment to at least one post per week, every week.
  • If you don’t already have one, invest in a good camera and learn how to use it. This is what I use.
five new year's resolutions that fuel creativity

4. Learn How to “x”

What do you want to get better at? Do you want to improve your drawing/painting/sculpting skills? Your resolution could be to:

  • Master one new art form by year’s end
  • Explore four art disciplines (try collage, sewing, glass blowing, or ceramics)
  • Invite friends over for monthly art-making parties. If this last idea speaks to you, you’ll want to read How to Throw Your Own Craft Night (Etsy). With one year to play and learn, you will be on your way to mastering that skill by next December.
five new year's resolutions that fuel creativity

5. Take Mystery Trips

This one is personal, makes my family life more creative, and I love it. My husband is one of the most creative people I know, and I credit his parents (and in turn, their good friend Joan) for bringing this golden nugget into our lives. Every month or so we plan mystery trips for each other in our family, which can turn the usual trip to the park into something more adventurous, or something adventurous into something completely over-the-top. On a recent date night I didn’t tell my husband where we were going, which built suspense and tons of anticipation. My plan wasn’t elaborate, and even included a trip to the diviest bar you can imagine, but the adventure made it one of the funnest nights out we’ve had in a while. Apparently Joan started this with her own children who lacked enthusiasm when it was time to go to the museum/zoo/park. But when she said, “we’re going on a mystery trip tomorrow,” her kids couldn’t wait to find out where they were heading.

  • Because anything can be a mystery trip, it doesn’t require any extra work or preparation.
  • Commit to plan one mystery trip each month, 6 per year, etc.
  • Responsibility for planning these trips can fall on various family members, or take this on as your own personal mission for the year

five new year's resolutions that fuel creativity

What do you think? How do you plan on making 2012 a Creative Year?

More New Year Resolutions

Family Friendly Creative New Year’s Resolutions

Four Goals for the New Year

A New Year’s Resolution to Purge and be Entrepreneurial

The Year’s Best Art and Creativity Books for Kids


  1. Oh cool, I do so many of those already! I do want to get better with the sketchbook habit though. Good luck with all your plans in 2012!

    • You’re such a creative mama, Amy, and I’m not surprised!!! I’ve gone through cycles of keeping a sketchbook religiously to not at all, and I never regret having one. Happy 2012 to you!

  2. What a great list!  Thank you for sharing. I do several of these already but I might add a few more.

    • Thanks, Mommy Cameron. That’s awesome that your life is already full of so much creativity. Wishing you lots of creative success in the new year!

  3. Great resolutions!  I think I will incorporate some of these ideas – like the sketchbook and public art!  BTW, love the tree image!  Thanks!!!

    • Hi Ann, I’m so happy to hear that a couple of these ideas might work for you. And isn’t that tree amazing? It’s at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Sausalito. Wishing you a creative 2012.

  4. Thanks for the wonderful plug for local art museums. In fact, all of the resolutions are so valuable — and fun! — even for those of us who don’t have kids. I think I can get my husband excited about Mystery Trips: dive bar, here we come…

    • Suzette, your husband would love that, I’m sure! As much as this blog focusses on raising creative kids, I can’t help but think about how important it is to foster our own creativity first (with or without kids!). See you at the museum in 2012!

  5. These are such great resolutions.  I love the idea of mystery trips!

    • Mystery trips are the best! Happy new year!

  6. This is a wonderful list Rachelle! Have a wonderful and creative start to this new year! (and I hope those elf toes were happy ones.)

    • Thanks, Maya! The elf shoes came out SO cute. Unfortunately for the shoes, my 3 year old discovered and “became” Princess Leah (Star Wars) over the 3 days it took for me to stitch them up and decided that we should pack them away for next year. But a 2-year old friend found them and happily wore them for an hour. Children!! Thanks again for the perfect pattern and happy 2012.

  7. I love this list. I’m going to reread it tomorrow when I’m not tired because I really think it may inspire me to try a few things. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for the comment, Chelsey. I’d love to hear what resonates with you and what kind of creative journey you have in mind for the new year. Happy 2012!

  8. One thing for a more creative year for me would be to limit my work day to 8 hours and not to 10+. I will try to stick to this plan!

    • That sounds awesome, Natalie. Just think of what a difference 2+ hours/day would make!! Good luck, and happy new year!

  9. I totally agree with you about your 5 resolutions, including keeping a daily sketchbook (thanks for looking at my discussion of the class! http://www.meikowei.com). I had a wonderful experience in the Art as Process SMFA class and often reflect on John Cage’s 10 rules for students and teachers on the process of creation, including Rule 4: Consider everything an experiment; Rule 6: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make…
    I’m always continually inspired by the art that I see and that there is always more to learn and create.

    Cheers to a creative 2012!

    • I loved that class, Mei, and was so happy to find your post because it took me back to a happy time that was full of so much creativity. Thanks for sharing John Cage’s 10 rules — it’s been ages since I’ve thought of them and it would be great to revisit them in light of all of this creative thinking. Happy creative 2012 to you too!!

  10. Excellent suggestions! One of mine is not to over plan and just go do something! I tend to want every excursion to be fantastic, so I stress and over plan. But more often the last minute spontaneous trips turn out to be amazing. And I have to accept that there will be some clunkers, but what is more fun family bonding than reliving a disaster and telling the story over and over?

    • Isn’t that true that the clunkers always turn into some of the most memorable experiences, with the best related stories?! I liken these mystery trips to the sorts of experiences we have when we’re on vacation. Discovering a street faire on the way to dinner, making a meal out of olives and cheese on a train ride between towns, wandering into a town’s annual corn festival (where you end up dancing the polka with the “king” of the corn palace…true story!). Wishing you a year full of unexpected wonders!!

  11. I love these ideas. Thank you! I’m not very good at sketching, and trying just frustrates me (there’s the perfectionist in me), but a friend offered a suggestion that I love and have made good use of, which is to use my smartphone camera to snap random and favorite images that catch my eye. She sometimes shares hers on facebook or twitter, and sometimes there are themes, like “red” or “nature finds” or “things that made me smile today.” 
    The other thing I love to do is to use a journal to  record one sentence or string of words that sums up the experiences and feelings of a day, and I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping a journal of sorts for each of the children I care for, again recording just one detail about them on each day, something they said or did, or a picture I took, that particularly stands out or sums up the day. 
    I like using sketchbooks to create collage or do abstract watercolors- just playing with the colors- because then I don’t get all caught up in judging what a bad artist I am. 
    I think anything that helps us to slow down and really pay attention, or capture the “ordinary moments” in new ways can help us get creative juices flowing! 

    • These are fabulous suggestions, Lisa. Being creative isn’t about being able to draw or sketch, and snapping photos or writing a string of words are wonderful ways to tap into the same sort of exploratory outside-the-box thinking. When our various ideas bounce off one another (through sketchbooks, photography, writing, etc.), there’s a greater chance of coming up with entirely new ideas, and that’s when the exciting work begins to happen. Thanks for the wonderful comment! Wishing you a creative 2012!

  12. I love the way you’re thinking.  I might steal the lot!

    • It’s for the stealing, Kirsty 🙂 I’d love to hear what works for you. Happy 2012!

  13. Oh, I do need to go to some museums!  And I love your mystery tour idea!  My husband and I finally have a babysitter (after 5 years) and I have no idea what to do for date night.  Clearly I should take him to a museum!

    • Congratulations on finding a babysitter, Katherine! A museum date is a lovely first date idea — a lot of big museums will have opening events on Thursday or Friday nights. Wait…you could make it a museum-mystery trip! Enjoy the time together and happy new year.

  14. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m planning a creative year in 2012!

  15. Just love the mystery trip idea. Yesterday I heard of a group of 4 women who do mystery dinners once a month. one of them decides where they’re going and no complaining – they all carpool and go together!

  16. Can you tell me where the hollow log in the bottom photo is located? Is that near San Francisco? There used to be a giant hollow log near the Golden Gate bridge, but no one seems to remember it now.
    I’m going back to SF next year and would love to find this hollow log again!

    • Hi Manda!
      It’s at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, very close to the bridge — I wonder if it’s the same log you remember. Have a fun trip!

    • This is such a popular idea in our house and amongst our family and friends. Everyone loves a mystery trip. It can make the most ho-hum outing a true adventure.

  17. great ideas for a creative years. I can use some of these. I’m trying to get my head around what I want to make of 2013.

    • Hi Rowena! I’m so happy to hear that this helps. There are so many ways to make the new year a creative one. My best advice is to pick something that you think can stick with. Will you let me know what you land on? Happy 2013!

  18. Rachelle,
    I love your blogging idea and have been wanting to do it for the last six months. I have made it as far as the WordPress site but am just unsure on how to jump in. Any advice?
    I love your site! Thank you. maria

    • Hi Maria!
      Congratulations on setting up a site — that’s the hardest step and now it’s done. There are so many things that you’ll probably want to tackle from figuring out your point of view, blogging style, niche, social media presence, blog design, etc. But this all depends on your goals. What do you want to get out of blogging? I’ll shoot you an email and we can chat some more!
      Happy New Year, Rachelle

  19. Looking forward to the mystery trips ahead

Comments are closed.