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  • Writer's picturekathybeekman

Apply the Lessons of Last Year to the New Year

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

Consider how many mistakes you make in your art world each year. Now, imagine if you could learn from them and avoid repeating them. It's not just your mistakes. It's also all the things you tried that didn't work, and the things you saw other people try that didn't work.

You also did things that worked out wonderfully. Why not apply all of this knowledge you gained to this coming year. While you're at it, try committing to making this year different by creating new habits in order to change less desirable behaviors.

1. Take some time to review last year. What did you learn, both positive and negative? What mistakes did you make? What were your biggest wins?

  • Do you see a pattern to any of your mistakes? Can you see that many of your challenges are caused by committing the same mistakes year after year?

  • Now, consider other artists. What challenges did they face? What were their successes? What can you learn from them?

2. Identify those behaviors that support your success. Perhaps you networked your tail off or completed a new series of artwork. You most certainly want to repeat these behaviors that helped you accomplish these wins .

3. Create new habits. Choose habits that will counteract your less-effective behaviors and ensure your positive behaviors occur more frequently. Here are some examples:

  • Procrastination: You need to first understand the reasons why you are procrastinating before you can begin to tackle it. Ask yourself why you are procrastination. Once you have this answer, ie. I'm not organized, feel overwhelmed, or am afraid of failing, you can move forward to adopting anti-procrastination strategies. One strategy is to create the habit of rewarding yourself once you complete a difficult task on time. You can reward yourself with a treat, such as a a coffee from a favorite coffee shop or a virtual call with a friend. Make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things!

  • Late to lunch dates and meetings: Place an alarm on your phone, choose your clothes the night before, commit to leaving the house and arriving 10 minutes early.

4. Monitor yourself. If you're not careful, you'll quickly slip back into your old patterns of behavior. Change is challenging, and you can expect to face a lot of internal resistance. You can't expect to change everything at once. Choose one thing to tackle at a time and take little steps to reach your goal. Avoid being hard on yourself when you slip. It's going to happen. Tell yourself that this was expected to happen and simply keep moving forward. Re-do's are allowed.

You've faced some tough times in the past. We all have and we all need to remember to take advantage of these challenges. They help us to grow. You've had some great times too! Repeat them in the future. You can have the best year of your life, but not if you fail to learn from your past experiences. Your results have lessons to teach. Your past is the key to your future.

What behavior do you look forward to repeating? What insight have you gained from past mistakes? Looking forward to what you have to share.

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