New Year's resolutions prompt a lot of pressure for people under any circumstances. Committing to losing 50 pounds next year, reading the Library of Congress or giving up caffeine might sound great in December, but come second week of January – not so much!

So, for fans of the arts looking to expand their horizons or those just beginning to explore Oklahoma arts (in both cases, similar to myself!), a few resolutions for next 2014. But let's not call these "resolutions" to  keep the stress off. Let's call them "objectives."

Visit a gallery, museum or other arts venue you have never been too, once a month. How easy of an "objective" is this? How long does it take to step into a gallery you've seen but not taken the time to survey. On the other hand, if you take this objective to heart, discovering a new theater or unusual museum can be an absolute epiphany.

Study. Even before I began my exploration of Oklahoma arts and this blog simultaneously, I knew arts patrons that were more interested in being arts patrons than in actually understanding and appreciating the art that they support. Sure, attend an art exhibit opening with the glitterati. But take the time to understand what the contemporary artist from an uncommon culture? My experience is that there was much less of that. So, for 2014, make an objective to do that which is required to truly understand the composition, context and concept of every piece of visual art you observe. Ditto for non-standard theater. In my experience, the most challenging theater was neither at the venues with the brightest lights or the that which had the most obvious statement or purpose. We should all learn how to appreciate art in its own context as well as in the overall context of its medium and school.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. I admit it. I like visual arts and dramatic theater and thus, I gravitate towards those things. Most arts aficionados have specific things they particularly enjoy and things with which they are either not terribly familiar or which they haven't enjoyed to date. Take a first look this year. Or take a second look. Step away from the familiar and give something new a chance to inspire you. I'm betting that before this year is over, you'll be glad you did.

These are pretty easy objectives to makes – and to keep. I am confident I will keep them and that I will be all the better for doing so. Give them a try and see how easy and rewarding they could be for you as well!

-Michael W. Sasser is Oklahoma Magazine’s senior editor and an award-winning journalist. For comments or suggestions, reach him at [email protected].

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