How To End January Well (esp. for creators and musicians!)
Updated: Jan 25, 2019
*Disclosure: This post isn't sponsored, but some of the links are affiliate links
We hear a lot about how to start January off properly, but not much about how to finish it.
With the New Year often comes a huge and insurmountable pressure to change everything we don't like about ourselves. Now that we're coming to the end of the month, much of the initial zeal of a fresh year has come to an end, and we inevitably crumble under the immense pressure we've put on ourselves to be, do and achieve more in our creative lives, particularly if we're balancing it with other commitments. Doesn't it feel just a little bit sweet, though, when you've made your first few slip ups? The pressure comes right off and you can go back to being a human being.
For musicians, creators and self-employed people of any kind, January can bring the added stress of a little less business, as well as a big old tax return to deal. So here are a few tips and tricks that I've learned that might help ease the overwhelm.
1. Colour the past year and the past month in a positive light before you get started on your changes. Yes, I can hear you making vomiting noises as you read. You've read enough inspirational quotes on Instagram about self love, and you wonder how these sickeningly positive thinkers ever get anything done! But there is a proper, productive reason for this. It's important to acknowledge what you have achieved creatively, and what's worked well for you, so you can carry forward the momentum of those things. Besides, the process helps you remind yourself that you actually can and do create Good Things, in spite of those pesky internal and external forces that may convince you otherwise.
2. Envision what you'd like to have achieved by the end of the year.
Be realistic if you want (though that's a lot less fun). For best results, allow your mind to wander and try not to put too many limitations on it; you can do all the practical stuff. afterwards.
Here's an example:
I'd like to
write and record two albums (one solo and one jazz)
get my podcast up and running
stick to a consistent blog and video schedule
These goals are certainly within the realms of possibility, but will definitely be a stretch for me, and might bleed over into next year; that's what you want to aim for! Loftier visions that are going to take much longer to complete shouldn't be ignored either - just put them on another list somewhere.
You can also try a more structured way of organising your goals; my favourite is the Six Minute Journal because it makes you write down a few things that you're grateful for and a few good things that happened that day, as well as your daily goals and how you'll improve.
3. Have a good tidy up and get organised.
When you do something creative, it's easy for things to get out of hand in your external environment, or for your to-do list all in a muddle. The best book I've found for this Sheila Chandra's Organizing for Creative People: How to Channel the Chaos of Creativity Into Career Success (A Creative's Self-Help & Personal Development Guide). She does a lovely job of dispelling myths about creativity vs organisation, and teaches you how they can work together. It's a book that can help you organise all those aspects of your life, from how to fit in household chores with a flowing work schedule, to dealing with money and breaking down larger creative projects into easier tasks.
4. Set up some kind of daily practice for looking after yourself physically.
It's nice to have an image of yourself as a beautiful creative creature that flows with the inspiration and the moon, never being tied down to normal routines, and that feeling is a fun part of being creative. But I've learned that if I'm not checking in with myself somehow each day, I can't hear any of this fabulous inspiration over the monkey clapping cymbals loudly inside my brain. My thing is yoga, but yours doesn't have to be (if you're one of my singing students though then it definitely does. Stretch your psoas). Yoga with Adriene has tons of free videos suitable for beginners and of lots of different lengths if you'd like to get started. But maybe your thing is running, walking or rowing. It doesn't really matter what it is, but I promise you'll see so many benefits to your work if you dust those physical cobwebs daily.
I hope these tips have been helpful! Feel free to comment and don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter so you can be updated with upcoming gigs, music, blogs, podcasts and other news.
Lots of love, Kate x