Mindset and Goal Setting - Painting the Year Ahead

In these recent weeks, much of our attention has turned towards reflecting on the year coming to a close and setting goals for the upcoming new year. This topic often evokes a range of emotions within me. On one hand, there is a sense of closure as we bid farewell to the current year. Simultaneously, the new year brings with it a fresh start and exciting opportunities to pursue our aspirations. It's as if the start of a new year is akin to a blank canvas, eagerly waiting to be painted with limitless possibilities. However, I've come to appreciate the importance of cultivating a positive mindset and establishing clear objectives before embarking on a new journey. A positive attitude and well-defined goals lay the foundation for our aspirations to be realized. While I write this from an artist's perspective, these principles are universally applicable to any facet of life or pursuit of goals. So, let's delve into how nurturing the right mindset and setting goals can lead us towards a productive and successful year ahead.

Reflecting on the Past Year

To chart a clear path forward, it is essential to first comprehend where I have come from. By deeply understanding the journey I've traveled thus far, I gain the confidence and purpose to navigate the road ahead. This principle also applies to setting goals and choosing the direction to transform our aspirations into reality. Before diving into goal setting, it's essential to reflect on the past year: what went well, what didn't, and why? What valuable lessons can we carry forward from less desirable outcomes? How would we approach things differently next time? Taking time for reflection is crucial in acknowledging my successes, challenges, and personal growth. It's important to embrace all experiences - the positive and the not-so-positive - with an open mind and a receptive heart. They shape our goals for the upcoming year, helping us continuously improve and evolve.

Reflection and its Beauty

Creating SMART Goals

For a long time, I avoided approaching things in this way. Reflecting on it now, I realize that my hesitation was rooted in fear. It's a well-known fact that our comfort zone is a cherished place. So, when I decided to be specific about my goals and take focused action, it meant that I was getting serious. Fear tends to be our first reaction when faced with the unknown. By not getting specific and taking action, I was choosing comfort. It's perfectly fine not to embark on this journey until you feel ready. However, there is no way to make progress without confronting it, I'm afraid. That's why setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) is crucial for successful goal setting. When you set SMART goals, be clear about what you want to achieve, break them down into smaller, manageable tasks, and set deadlines for yourself. Not only does this make your goals more attainable, but it also provides a sense of accomplishment as you check them off one by one.

Developing a Positive Mindset

Maintaining a positive mindset can be a daunting task, but it's crucial to practice focusing on the bright side when things don't go as planned. Especially in the beginning, cultivating positivity requires time and effort. Nevertheless, the rewards of a positive mindset are invaluable, especially in creative pursuits. A positive outlook fosters adaptability and open-mindedness in problem-solving, a willingness to take risks and embrace new experiences, and an overall sense of confidence in oneself and one's abilities. Remember, nurturing a positive and receptive mindset is an ongoing journey that brings immeasurable benefits.

Pushing Beyond Comfort Zones

Ah, the comfort zone - both friend and foe. Don't get me wrong, I adore honing my skills and mastering a craft. Building a routine takes time, no matter the type. Yet, true progress lies beyond that cozy realm. It's in challenges that we discover unparalleled opportunities for growth. For artists, venturing outside their comfort zones remains a significant hurdle on the path to achieving their goals. It's all too easy to settle into a familiar creative routine. However, by daring to push those boundaries, artists can unlock new techniques, styles, and mediums. This exploration ultimately leads to remarkable growth and success.

Set Goals Not Limits

Holding Oneself Accountable

This topic is closely related to the comfort zone. If I don't hold myself accountable for not pursuing my goals, I can avoid feeling uncomfortable about not going after them. Especially when starting to practice accountability, it can be helpful and greatly welcomed to seek assistance. An ideal solution is to join a creative community or find an accountability partner. It only takes one lovely individual who shares your interests and passions. By holding each other accountable, we can support one another and make progress together. Accountability is essential for achieving any goal.

As an artist, it's easy to get distracted and let creative pursuits fall by the wayside. However, by setting deadlines, sharing goals with others, and tracking progress, artists can hold themselves accountable for achieving their objectives. This not only enhances focus and motivation but also brings a sense of pride and accomplishment when goals are achieved.

Building a Successful Year

Starting the new year with a positive mindset and clear goals lays a solid foundation for a successful year ahead. In order to pursue our (creative) aspirations, we can embark on a transformative journey by engaging in introspection, setting SMART goals, fostering a positive mindset, embracing discomfort, and holding ourselves accountable. These deliberate actions enable tangible progress and empower the realization of our (creative) dreams.

Enjoy the View after the Climb

It's important not to fret about not being proficient from the start or not having a detailed plan. Remember, success is not a one-size-fits-all journey, and there are no instant achievements. Each of us has unique gifts to share with the world, and our journeys should reflect that individuality amidst the backdrop of a constantly changing world.

So, let's embrace our own paths, knowing that they may look different from others who have already reached their destinations. After all, it's the diversity and uniqueness of our journeys that make them truly special in the grand tapestry of life.

Remember, the most beautiful paintings are not created with a single stroke but with perseverance, determination, and a sprinkle of imagination.


As the year draws to a close and the busy pre-holiday season threatens to overwhelm us, it becomes crucial to find balance and solace amidst the chaos. If you're feeling anxious or stressed, I invite you to revisit my previous post on "Embracing the Slow - The Art of Patient Creation in a Fast-Paced World". It offers valuable insights into navigating stressful periods and transforming them into opportunities for growth and resilience. It may even serve as inspiration to carve out a little creative time when life gets too hectic.

Let's welcome the new year with a rejuvenated spirit, armed with wisdom from our past experiences and a burning passion for the creative journey that lies ahead. Read our previous post here.

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