OUT with the OLD habits and in with the NEW!
Amidst by seemingly never ending moving and transition to another country I keep thinking about the habits and schedule I hope to create for myself once I’m set up in my new digs. Moving offers an opportunity for rejuvenation and a fresh take on many things. And I want to take full advantage of this opportunity when we move to Oman.
One person specifically on Twitter got me thinking about this again (thank you @rosyJeff!). Jess began posting drawings every day and made a commitment to do a drawing a day for a year. I love the idea. There is so much going on here that works… posting on Twitter for public accountability, building a regular artist practice…. everything about it makes me happy and inspired. And of course, insert ego here, it reminds me of my once commitment to make an artwork once a week for a year.
I want to build new habits with my newfound independence of self-employment. But what will it take?
Developing habits means not every day does it feel good, rewarding, or inspiring, but that you do the work. It is with this practice and building of habit that you are led to greater creative output, which seems obvious to me, would lead to a greater number of inspired moments!
But, building a habit is hard work. Where to start?
Commit. No maybes, ifs, or any equivocation. Do it and say you will do it.
Create accountability. “But what if I tell people and don’t follow through?” That is the point, is it not? You should tell the people you would be most embarrassed to let down, who would be most interested in learning more about your project and be supportive of you.
Carve out time for the new routine. A routine of every morning or every evening before bed may actually be easier than an ambiguous commitment of once per day. See what suits your nature better. Holding some time of day sacred for your commitment will guarantee better follow through. If you don’t make room, how can you even remember to work towards this new habit?!
Reward yourself for milestones: chocolate chip cookies, a massage, your favorite book….oops, I’m making my own reward list here 😉
Some additional resources for building habits:
ZenHabits talks about building a daily habit of exercise. Its worth a read and Leo’s suggestions can easily be applied to the arts. I especially like his suggestion of starting small. Making even a small amount of time each day for your new habit can open doors for more time or larger projects.
5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits that Stick is an article that highlights some of my suggestions. Of note is the advice to build behavior chains, which means working in specific actions tied directly to your already normal routine!
LIfehacker discusses the important point that you should anticipate breaking your new habit. It appears the disappointment from your first time of not following through on something can prevent you from returning to your practice or attempt at the new habit.
Need a reminder? Save this Piktograph PNG to your desktop and keep it as a digital reminder. Or, print it out and paste it by your desk… daily reminders help keep you focused. Eyes on the prize people!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: What is that one small step you can take today to start developing your new creative habit? What creative habits do you already have in your life that work for you?