Creative Challenge: SMART – New Year’s Resolutions

In love, life and work it seems to me that it is often the simple things that carry the most truth and capacity for change. Take SMART Goals for instance, a relatively simple management principle that has been talked about ad nauseum, has had many iterations, and yet really works as a framework for setting meaningful goals. A meaningful goal can be defined as a goal that is likely to be achieved. So what’s SMART?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Agreed To
  • Realistic
  • Time Dependant

With this management 101 proverb dusted off let’s talk New Year’s resolutions. Like Christmas wish lists, and blogs in general, New Year’s resolutions are often looked down upon as frivolous – But I say this is not so! Having a list of things you want to accomplish, cast using the SMART Goals principle, might just help you be more accomplished, and what’s frivolous about that? Here’s mine for the new year – what’s yours?

  • Join the Victoria Writers society in January
  • Attend Word Camp in January
  • Distribute 100 Exploring-Art.com business cards before the end of the year
  • Starting immediately personalize every Exploring-Art.com “publicize” tweet
  • Rewrite and resubmit my Fine Arts Diploma Program (FADP) learning plan by Monday (tomorrow, gasp!)
  • Complete my 4th course in my Fine Arts Diploma Program by April
  • Complete my 5th course in my Fine Arts Diploma Program by December
  • Complete a writing portfolio submission for the UVic MFA in creative writing by December
  • Get published somewhere other than Exploring-Art.com this year
  • Get my taxes up to date by April
  • Buy my wife a romantic gift every month (flowers, champagne etc.)
  • And the obligatory – lose 10 pounds!… by… September
  • Lastly report out on my resolutions progress at year end.

What are your resolutions? Create a list of SMART resolutions and share them here!

Albums of the Year

I’m a huge fan of music – listening to it, not making it. With the exception of An Artist I Admire post featuring Zoe Keating, music has not enjoyed much of the spotlight here at exploring-art.com. Primarily this is because exploring-art is about investigating my less developed interests in the arts. That said, I feel the need to highlight my favourite albums of 2011.

Album of the Year: Kiss Each Other Clean

I am an Iron & Wine fan, but to me Our Endless Numbered Days stood out as the epoch of his achievement. Kiss Each Other Clean is at least on par with Our Endless Numbered Days, and it’s musically very different. It is a beautiful thing, dramatically different yet aesthetically alike. You’ll be left wondering why isn’t there more? Left wishing there were more, and yet you’ll be pleased to play it again.

Canadian Album of the Year: Land & Sea

I’ve been a long time fan of Sarah’s; I learnt of her in the early 2000’s living in Toronto, and I haven’t stopped buying her albums. With Land & Sea, an ambitious double album, Sarah shows off her spectacular vocals, as well as her meticulous compositions and arrangements. This album is one of my favourites, but why is it not at the top of the heap? Since it’s not the performance or the production, I suspect that it may be some of the lyrics that hold it back from perfection. But let’s not forget that Sarah is seen here towering over Feist for Canadian album of the year- No small achievement! For lovers of instrumental collections, I’d highly recommend Sarah Slean’s String Quartet Part II, it’s wonderful.

Underrated Album of the Year: Ceremonials

With headlines like, “More is Less”, I feel Ceremonials was unfairly treated in the press. I must admit after the single Shake it Out, the rest of the album wasn’t what I was expecting… but it grew on me, and now it’s a regular on the home stereo as well as my iPhone. With this album Florence and the Machine progress towards a sound that is more choir inspired and less modern bass line and alternative driven. The resulting sound is slightly reminiscent of the 80s, and more specifically, the Eurythmics; however, the music maintains its own identity, and more crucially, it is an evocative and enjoyable album.

Christmas Album of the year: Michael Buble Christmas

One of my wife’s nephews gets credit for this recommendation. He is a wonderful singer in his own right and performs in a number of High School ensembles. I’m not a Buble fan, so I was a bit of a skeptic. As it turns out Michael Buble Christmas is a fun, upbeat, and musical album which carries the possibility of  winning over even the biggest scrooge. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Wish List

I know maintaining a Christmas wish list is very consumerist and petty and yet there’s something whimsical, childlike, and magical about it too! Here’s mine in no particular order:

But truly the thing I’m looking forward to about Christmas most of all… is free time to lay on the couch with my wife, watching the fire, and r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g, and enjoying the beautiful tree! One week off from work, and with any luck it will be the only week in which Victoria has snow! Here’s hoping!