Saturday, December 31, 2011

It’s a lovely clean slate

As memories of Christmas indulgences fade, it is time for the bit I really enjoy – the New Year.

christmas in the suburbs

I like nothing better than the feeling of standing at the top of a brand new year, with the months unfolding before me, like bright, white pages of opportunity. I love the sense of possibility and I hate to fill it up with specifics too quickly.

There’s also a chance to pause and glance back at the year that’s finishing. For some, I know it hasn’t been a particularly good year. I’ve certainly known how it feels to say “good-bye and good riddance” to some years. Luckily for me, 2011 was not one of those.

Yesterday I dug out the plan I made twelve months ago. Inspired by Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity fame, last year I put together my most extensive list of goals ever.

The process Chris describes seems very business-inspired to me, and I have to confess I wasn’t entirely committed. He sets very specific, measurable goals even for his personal-life, which feels a bit too concrete and didactic for me.

However, I did find it interesting and helpful to think about all the areas he covers, including the personal. For the sake of the exercise I wrote down some ideas, which meant I had those to refer to yesterday, some twelve months later, and I have to say, it did make interesting reading. Some things I hoped to do were a bit over-optimistic, and I think if I repeat the exercise this year, I’ll know myself better.

If this sort of thing interests you, Chris’ s guide can be found here. I think you’ll find it quite an eye-opener!

Whether I go the full Excel spread sheet (yep, that’s how he does it!) or not, I will certainly be doing a review of my year in relation to my art work. I love to sit down and write out a list of works made, exhibitions, workshops or conferences attended and in recent years, I’ve been able to add works acquired to that.

It’s a great time to update the CV and celebrate the year’s successes. I often feel frustrated by what seems to be very slow progress during the course of the year, so writing up the year in this way is a pleasant surprise.


Then when it’s done, I can turn the page to a fresh new year, and think about my priorities for 2012.

Wishing you a lovely, shiny bright, fresh New Year, with lots of blank spaces to fill in just as you want!


  1. Thanks so much for this post! I love the poetic image of standing at the top of the year...It is really evocative and I will take that with me into 2012. And thanks too for that cool site for making goals for the coming year. Very fun to explore his site...

  2. happy new year amanda! hope its filled with good health and happy making (hee hee - i actually mistyped that 'milking'..... I suppose its easy to see what's on my mind...) xxxx

  3. Love the photos, Amanda! For some reason I'd forgotten that you went to Paris. It was a big year, wasn't it? Wishing you all the best and every success in 2012... Sara x

  4. Hi Amanda, I almost never comment, but read every blog post and really enjoy them. This one is fantastic, I agree with the idea that the new year is a beautiful fresh start. I cling to the idea that I can wipe away the past year's mistakes and start over. ;-) Chris Guillebeau's detail planning for the next year looks good to me, thanks for that! Happy New Year to you. I hope it's full of success and accomplishment for you.