January 6, 2024

Every year, you make a resolution to change yourself.

This year, make a resolution to be yourself.

- by unknown

A new year lies ahead of us with all its possibilities. For me, it feels like a blank canvas that I can fill with color and creativity and on which I can live out all my feelings and thoughts.
I often set myself goals that I want to achieve. Not this year! I'm going to keep it simple. Instead of setting goals, I'm going to be guided by the concept of simplicity. It will be the overarching theme of this year.

2023 was exhausting for me. Right now, my body is telling me to rest. So I listen to it. I'm going to allow myself ease, serenity, and breaks when I need them - without a guilty conscience. And then I will focus on the areas that bring me joy.

Bye-bye Never-ever-getting-done-List

By reducing the pressure, freeing myself from negativity and stopping chasing after my never-ever-getting-done list, I create space for clarity and focus on what is truly important to me.

What are my priorities? What values do I stand for and what contributes to my satisfaction? I allow myself to be aware of this - consciously. My creativity will open doors to new perspectives and possibilities.

That's exactly what simplicity means to me, and that makes it my perfect theme for 2024.

Letting go of Pressure and Negativity

Constant pressure can lead to chronic stress and increase the risk of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and burnout. That's what happened to me last year. Although my first brush with depression was many years ago, I was fine for a long time. But in 2023, I struggled with depression again and again.

This not only affected my mental health, but also my immune system. Any cold, no matter how minor, would catch up with me and stay with me. My energy levels fluctuated between empty and burnt out.

This couldn't go on. This year it's important for me to keep things manageable. Everything should be doable and enjoyable.

Creativity as a Guide

Art and creativity have always been an outlet for me. Even as a little girl, it was how I expressed myself. And then, as now, on days when I am creative, I feel fulfilled. These days have meaning, I even sleep better.

But art is not a hobby for me. For my work to be authentic and relevant, not only to myself but to others, I have to put a lot of myself into it. That takes courage - to show myself, to take praise and criticism, but most of all, the courage to face myself.

If I can muster that courage, I can grow in my art and learn to deal with self-doubt, fears, but also flights of fancy. As I wrote in my introduction: The occupation with art helps me to connect with the world, to classify experiences, to arrive – an act of search as well as an act of understanding.

The Meaning in the Making

I think we all have always known intuitively, long before science gave us the language for which direction the universe would move, and every creative act on our part happens despite and in the face of this entropy. Every time we pick up a brush and choose complementary hues to apply to canvas, or arrange picture elements in the viewfinder of our camera to create a pleasing composition, or press our fingers into wet clay to wrest a shape from a misshapen lump, we are bending things back to order and wresting them from chaos.

The 6-Point Plan: Simplicity in Everyday Life

But how do I integrate simplicity into my daily life? It doesn't necessarily mean doing without. It's more about focusing on the essentials and letting go of unnecessary baggage. I have made a conscious decision to do this. I want my life to be less complicated and I want to actively embrace its abundance. These 6 steps will help me do that:

  1. Morning routine without distractions:
    I start my day calmly with a little routine. First, I drink a glass of lemon water. It boosts my immune system and wakes me up. Then I practise yoga for half an hour. It makes me feel so much better.
    Positive effect: focus on my own needs, stress-free start to the day.
  2. Digital detox in the evening:
    An hour before I go to bed, I switch off all digital devices. I read a little more, listen to some music and then go to bed.
    Positive effect: improved quality of sleep, mental relaxation.
  3. Weekly block of time for self-reflection:
    Once a week, I take time to reflect on the past few days and think about the days ahead.
    Positive impact: clarifying my own goals, strengthening my personal focus.
  4. Less multitasking:
    I no longer try to do several tasks at the same time. That drains too much of my energy.
    Positive impact: more efficient work, less stress, higher quality of work.
  5. Breaks close to nature:
    Short breaks outdoors, walks in the forest, sitting in a meadow for 5 minutes, gazing into the treetops.
    Positive effects: refreshed energy, increased creativity, emotional relief.
  6. Priority list instead of overload:
    Instead of an overloaded to-do list, I create a realistic list of priorities for the day.
    Positive effect: better time management, less feeling of being overwhelmed.

Finding Balance 

Of course, I don't intend to drift along all year. A healthy amount of challenge and stress can be stimulating. Creativity doesn't just happen. It is challenged or sparked by inspiration. So it's important to find the right balance.

Yes, I set clear priorities and reduce unimportant commitments. I pay more attention to my own needs. After all, I was the one who asked too much of myself last year, not anyone else.

But it's just as important that I don't shy away from challenging myself - and having fun doing it. Trying new things is so exciting, and wonderful things can come out of it. But if they don't, it's not a failure, it's just part of the process.

Happy New Year

How are you doing with all that? Are you taking on new challenges this year or, like me, are you taking things a little easier this year? Have you given your year a theme?

Anyway, I'm glad you're reading my blog and I'm so grateful for the continued support and encouragement. I hope 2024 brings you lots of light, love and creativity. Thank you for being here.

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About the Author Lea Finke

Lea Finke is an artist with all her soul. In her blog, she talks about inspiration, passion, and encounters with art.

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