"So what's your New Year Resolution??"
We've all heard it; we've all asked it; we've all accomplished some and given up on others.
As we enter the third week of January, we may be finding ourselves thinking "Maybe I was a little ambitious to say that I was going to learn to sew/paint this year" or "I'll start next week" or "I don't have time to write a book" or even "What was I thiNKing?!".
At EcoEquitable, while we have broad goals for this year, we thought it might be fun to make a list of specific ways to get creative this year, because sometimes, it's easier to only commit to try on a hobby, and seeing if it fits before committing to becoming an expert at it!
The following list consists of ideas that our staff has, and wow do we have some out-of-the box gems!
Let’s Get Lyrical
1. Write some poetry!
Poetry can be freeing, and it can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing and overflowing into your everyday life!
Our founder, Lucille Champagne, dabbled in poetry, and we have included an excerpt that she wrote below!
2. Write flash fiction
Setting the goal of “Write more” can be so daunting. What will we write? How much? What do we have to say?
We suggest writing one piece of flash fiction per month! You can find loads of writing prompts online, and if you’re feeling ambitious, you can take part in 30-day writing challenges that give a prompt every day of the month.
This is a great way to test out various genres of writing, and to take the first step in your writing journey. Whether you are just starting out, or coming back to an old favourite hobby, writing even a paragraph a day can help to get back into the swing of things, and you may even find yourself writing longer pieces without even intending to!
3. Do a NaNoWriMo challenge and try to write a novel in one month!
Is one of your goals this year to finally write that book you’ve always dreamed up? NaNoWriMo may be a great way to dive in! This organization offers free membership to an online writers’ forum, and every November, they hold Writing Month, where you can challenge yourself to write a whole book!
The idea is to get out of the perfectionism mindset, and just get the ball(point) rolling!
“Learn to sew” is so broad…let’s break it down into more achievable goals!
Top Tip: If you want to try out sewing but don't want to pay for an expensive machine, there are plenty of options to test out the hobby before you buy! Some branches of the Ottawa Public Library offer sewing machines that you can loan for free if you have a library card, or you can join one of our beginner sewing classes and use our machines to get the feel of it! If you're thinking this is definitely a skill you want to do long-term, you can buy a used sewing machine at thrift stores, and our Eco Fabric boutique sometimes has donated sewing machines for sale at very affordable prices!
4. Embroider some flowers on your jeans pocket!
Embroidery is a methodical, creative outlet that has been around for centuries. There are countless tutorials on YouTube to learn, or you can take our new Embroidery Class (which has since sold out!) to learn the basics with an expert before you dive into your own projects!
5. Learn to gusset jeans
This is a great option for folks who want to learn clothing alterations! To gusset jeans (or any other pants) means to extend the size by adding matching fabric to the inseam of the pants. Our volunteers and graduates have done this before, and all the staff at Eco is inspired to try it out for ourselves!
6. Learn how to sew a corset
Whether you’re into a classic Victorian style, or one of the modern versions that have stormed the internet in the past couple of years, learning to sew a corset is a niche project to take on to learn more intermediate sewing skills!
7. Upcycle clothes that you don’t wear anymore!
One of our team members, Anne, recently made reusable napkins for herself using scrap fabric, and she recommends this project to anyone who has old clothes that they don’t wear, or even fabric that they want to use but don’t know how to!
Just For Fun
8. Learn how to make your favourite drink!
Looking to keep your favourite morning drink in your routine but want to save money? No worries! There are plenty of recipes for budget-friendly drinks, whether you’re a coffee-fiend (like many of us here at Eco!), or more into non-caffeinated drinks that give you the boost to start your day.
An added plus to this option is that you can invite all your besties over and show them your new sweet skill!
9. Pottery Painting
Our team went pottery painting over the summer as a team-building outing, and we could not have been happier with our pieces! We went to the Mud Oven, which has since moved to a larger location, and we adored the creative, friendly atmosphere that their team created!
You can paint everything from wee figurines, to plant pots, to mugs, plates, and more! It’s great fun for a self-date, or for hanging out with friends and family!
Several of our team members had this on their list for creative hobbies to try out (or get back to) this year! Most of us here at Eco are interested in sketching fashion designs, but if that isn’t your speed there are tons of other ways to get inspired! Maybe you could go to a museum, find a piece that speaks to you, and try to sketch your own version of it! Or maybe while you’re on a walk, you’ll see an adorable window sill with plants that you simply have to capture with your pad and pencil! Sketching inspiration is sometimes just about being open to what the world is showing you, and giving your own voice to a narrative that it is telling.
11. Reorganize a room in your house!
A great way to dive into this new year is to move your perspective around, literally! Whether you make changes to your bedroom, living room, sewing room, kitchen, or home office, changing around your space can create a shift in your mindset, and allow you to see things differently.
12. Go to the National Art Gallery and Nature Museum on Thursday evenings for free access from 5pm-8pm!
Did you know that the National Art Gallery and Nature Museum have free access for anyone after 5pm on Thursdays?? We are obsessed with this information, and think that browsing the art and nature sphere that Ottawa has to offer is a fun, low-effort hobby to pick up this year!
13. Paint a Piece of Clothing Already In Our Wardrobes
A few of us here at Eco have some jean jackets that are in dire need of revival, and one of the best ways to do that is to paint them!! And lucky for us…one of our staff members, Faezeh, is an expert!
If you’re also looking to learn how to paint on your own clothes, register for our Paint On Denim class with Faezeh, starting February 18th!
14. Revisit Works In Progress
Remember that clothing collection you started? Or that book you started reading or writing? Or that piece you started painting? Try revisiting it, with fresh eyes, to see if inspiration strikes again! You may find yourself having even more fun than you did when you started it!
15. Knit a sweater
One of our team members wants to knit an entire sweater this year! Knitting is a fun skill to learn, and can be a great way to stimulate your hands in a creative way! And the best part? EcoEquitable sells an array of knitting needles, crochet hooks, and some yarn in our Eco Fabric Boutique, so you can come by our next Fabric Sale on February 3 (10-1pm) and start right away!
16. Crochet a temperature blanket!
This is a super simple way to crochet a blanket. You just choose a bunch of colours you like and assign them to temperatures (ie. dark blue is -20 and below, light blue is -10 to -19, and so on). Once your colours are chosen, you crochet one row of the blanket every day, and by the end of the year, you’ll have a great, multi-coloured blanket to curl up with!
Not sure how to crochet or even make a slip knot? We’ve got you covered with our monthly Crochet and Coffee Corners, a three hour Saturday workshop designed to teach you the basics of crochet!
17. Start Bullet Journaling!
Bullet journaling is a fun and creative way to keep track of all types of things in your life from organizing your upcoming month and weeks, to tracking how many books you read this year, to checking off things on your 2024 bingo card!
What about when you want to learn something new but don’t want to make anything?
Sometimes, we want to pick up a new hobby that has nothing to do with producing a product, and there are plenty of options to create new, fun hobbies this year!
18. Join a book club!
Not into writing? No biggie, babe! There are several Ottawa-based book clubs to try out, and something for everyone! Whether you’re into contemporary fiction, diasporic studies, nonfiction, horror, or more, we recommend looking up “Ottawa book club” on social media and Google and finding all the opportunities to read and connect with a like-minded literary community across the city!
19. Go on “curiosity walks”
Curiosity walks are when you go for a walk and keep walking until you see something that makes you wonder. Once you see something that makes you think “huh, that’s pretty cool”, or “I wonder how that got here”, you can turn back around and head home! This practice has actually been proven to be great for brain health, as it keeps you stimulated and always open to new information!
20. Further develop professional/creative skills
Whether you want to develop your writing, marketing, or other skills, there are plenty of affordable (sometimes free!) skills workshops across the city or online! For instance, you could enhance your teaching skills with a new certification, or take an art class to get some new techniques up your sleeve!
21. Get a certification that sounds interesting!
Putting in the work to receive a certification in something you are passionate about is an excellent, productive hobby to pick up this year. You can put in an hour or two every week all year, and enter 2025 with a new thing to add to your resume! Whether you want to get a teaching certificate or get your Smart Serve, there are loads of ways to accomplish this goal this year! Some ideas for certifications that we have, and that you can look into getting this year, are:
- Smart Serve
- Driver’s License
- Boating License
- LinkedIn Skills Certificates
22. Get serious about Duolingo
Every day. Five minutes. Get that streak going, and keep it for 365 days! We dare you!!
23. Take music lessons
There are plenty of music classes around the city, and whether you’re a seasoned guitarist or beginner piano player, it is never too late to pick up an instrument and learn (even if you just use youtube)!
24. Try out 5 minute meditations (a team favourite here at Eco)
Every now and then, our Eco team takes a break together to do a mini grounding meditation, and we can say from experience that it does wonders for our work-day mindsets! If you’ve been wanting to get into simple meditations, this is your sign to get started on that journey! We use the Insight app, which is great for mediations in the morning, journaling, mid-day resets, and end-of-day winding down!
Self-Compassion is the Key to Accomplishing Your Goals
It's easy to get frustrated with ourselves when we aren't immediately good at a new skill that we want to learn, and this frustration often leads us to either give up or not enjoy the thing we were so excited to start. That's why we thought we would shift the narrative a bit and make this years' goals more specific and achievable!
By promising yourself that you are going to commit to one of these specific activities, your goals will feel more achievable, and you'll probably find yourself getting genuinely and consistently excited to learn rather than feeling overwhelmed by the duty of accomplishing something. There's nothing more encouraging than feeling accomplished, and by completing one of our 24 Ways to Get Creative this year, you'll probably find yourself not only wanting more, but feeling like you can really take another project on!
Written by A. B. Hart