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Looking Back|Looking Forward. How do you approach New Year?


I love this bit of the year – the short lull between Christmas and the new year. It’s about rest and restoration – and a house still full of deliciousness! It’s also a natural time to start to think about planning for the year to come. I may well know what I hope for in the new year, but as a natural reflective/analytical learner I need to look back and assess what’s happened in the past year before deciding what I need to do next. If you are a natural activist learner, you may already be forging ahead with next steps or as a pragmatist you just want to try things out and see what happens. But of course, we all need to use different approaches for different things.


I’ve already shared a detailed plan for reviewing the year, from one of my very favourite sources of business advice for creatives, www.thedesigntrust.co.uk. Do contact me if you would like a copy. But there are two things I want to suggest strongly here:


1. Make sure you understand your figures.

I confess I’m one of the people who will be doing their 18/19 tax return this month. (Not proud of this but somehow it often happens!) But this time I really will make myself continue and get my 19/20 spread sheet up to date now, so I can look properly at where I have made and lost money in 2019. I need to earn money – in my case from a variety of income streams. So if I am looking back at the last year running Living from Art I need to make sense of the figures. I completely understand why many artists don’t enjoy this process, and also, why sometimes it seems just too painful to look at it. However, I think we can’t make sensible judgements if we don’t have this information. I’m planning a couple of very basic, practical sessions in January/February on ‘Making friends with Spreadsheets’ and ‘Understanding your figures’. Do let me know if you would be interested and exactly what you think you need help with.

2. Celebrate Success

Whether you are going on to review and plan in detail, or not, take some time now to make a list of everything you are proud of in the last year. Depending on the year you’ve had and the kind of person you are this might be easy or incredibly hard, but please do it – and keep going until you have a list of at least 10 things – 20 or more if you can. And no ‘Buts’ are allowed. If you are a ‘yes, but’ person you will know exactly what I mean here! Write them down and look back at them when you are feeling discouraged. And yes, I do actually do this one every year!

Anna Poulton 30.12.19 anna@annapoulton.co.uk



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