Yes, all of us make resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, and plan our time/money better. But perhaps just as popular are resolutions to finally read that book you’ve been pretending to have read for years (or even just to read more), to start that project you’ve been telling yourself you’ll start for months now, or even just to get out and be more involved in a particular art form.
Personally, my two arts based goals for the year (I hate the term resolution, it makes me feel so pressured) are to actually start my writing projects, and to read more poetry.
But the real question is why. Why have I given myself such goals? Why have I bothered to create extra pressure for myself for the sake of art? Surely, surely, I would be better off giving myself more useful, and honestly, more realistic targets.
But I suppose that would depend on what your idea of useful is. As someone who intends to go into a career heavily based on writing, writing more is a reasonable goal. But what about poetry? For many people that doesn’t make much sense. Why bother? For me, the answer is simple. I like poetry.
I like reading poetry, I like writing poetry, I like discussing poetry – and not even particularly prestigious poetry either. My sister and I have memorised Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo as well as Dr Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham’ and nothing makes me happier than screaming lines with her when I’m supposed to be persuading her to go to bed on time.
So, it stands to reason that reading more poetry will make me even happier. Last year I challenged myself to read two books every month outside of my degree and ended up reading just over thirty books altogether. Those months where I read more made me nearly always be in a substantially better mood.
Art makes us happy, we all know that. Whether its films or books or paintings or poetry or theatre or interpretive dance or whatever it is you enjoy, it makes us happy. So, what better way to start celebrating a happy new year than to make resolutions that are intended to make us smile? Rather than making us more organised, or slimmer, or more in control of our ever-spiralling lives, (although wouldn’t that be nice?) why don’t we take time once a month to do something that makes us happy? It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, or critically acclaimed, or even acknowledged as art. It just needs to bring you joy.
As well as being physically healthier and more organised, we need to make sure that we’re doing all we can do to be happy and positive in 2018. Will getting more involved in art this year make a drastic change to your life? Probably not. But the small difference will be felt, and it will be important.
Art can make us feel more positive, it can open our eyes to the views of others, it can be powerful. So, do the world a favour and have a great year, and enjoy all the artistic pleasures life has to offer.