A new year is here! 2017 will be different. This year I'll hit the ground running and keep on going! For many of us, those are the encouraging thoughts that swirl in our heads at the beginning of a new beginning. At the end of the month though it's easy to forget and revert back to old ways. So, what can be done to keep the momentum going well beyond January?
In Charles Duhigg's book "The Power of Habit" he writes: “The key to victory was creating the right routines.”
I wanted to get back into creating art after taking about a six year hiatus so I thought this would be a fun little activity to try and hey, maybe even develop a new habit. Little did I know the life changing new journey I was about to take.
While I didn't keep up with the challenge every single day, I was successful in making 100 pieces of art over 150 days total. Now, you might wonder, how was it possible to stay motivated and keep plugging away at this self-imposed challenge every day? What's the magic formula?
Looking back now, I think it had to do with taking a few simple steps to set up a routine. Here's what I did and the steps you can take today to spring into the new year with a new habit.
Step 1: DETERMINE WHAT & WHY?
Figure out what it is you want to do and what's the outcome. Make sure your goal is very specific, small (because it's all about baby steps) and has a time frame. For me, it was to doodle daily for about 15-30 minutes for 100 days in order to build up my creative muscle. It's been a few years since I picked up a pencil so I wanted to do something consistent to keep those juices flowing. Here's a simple doodle I created on one of those days.
Step 2: SETUP FOR CONSISTENCY
Gather your tools and create a consistent space to make it happen. This way you're not running around trying to find supplies or a new space every time. I set up a table with all of my art supplies in the corner of my living room. This is my favorite space because I'm surrounded by windows exposing me to nature and in the middle of a space that's bursting with activity. If your goal is to workout more consistently, for example, then you could get a nice gym bag and pack it up with some nice and new fitness gear (to get motivated) and set your bag in front of the front door every night before bed. Schedule a calendar reminder on your phone for the same time each day.
Step 3: BROADCAST IT
The final and very important step is to announce your goal to the world or someone who will keep tabs on you. Enter Instagram. This is probably one of the main reasons I kept up with this challenge. Knowing that I told someone or some-millions of people what I was going to do kept me accountable. And the rest is history!
It's interesting to look back now at my journey and progress. I learned that I can stick to something and to give myself some slack if it's not every single day as long as I stay committed to my ultimate goal. I took a watercolor class during that time and then signed up for a graphic design class at the end of the challenge. I feel more confident in moving forward on my own and what's even better is that I have all this art to share with the world! I hope you enjoy it.
Now, I'd love to hear from you... Tell me what self-imposed challenges have you embarked on and how have you kept yourself motivated? Or what new goal or habit would you like to attain this new year and how do you plan to stick to it?