In 2018 I’m doing month long “experiments.” Thirty day journeys into developing habits and routines that I think I may want to implement into my life. At the start of a new year we often have a list of “resolutions” that are vague – things like “lose weight” or “get fit.” These monthly experiments are meant to break a bigger goal down into small steps – steps that will help us figure out if its something we want to add to our routine…or not. Small steps that will help us really develop a joy filled, life changing lifestyle. June‘s experiment was the habit of daily creativity.
The Benefits of Daily Creativity
For some people, striving for daily creativity would be a cinch. They might be natural artists or creators. In our family, we have two very natural artists and creators. They don’t necessarily feel right when they’re not making something.
I wish I could say I was one of those two people in our family, but I’m not. I admire people who create with ease. The reason I set this as one of my monthly intentions is because I refuse to put myself in the box of “non-creative.”
I remember a time when I was younger and less inhibited that I enjoyed drawing, sketching, photography, and of course writing. I counted writing as part of my daily creativity, but I wanted to go beyond what I was comfortable with. I wanted to explore things I was curious about but hadn’t taken the time to try and practice.Creativity is not a gift, it’s a discipline. Anything we practice daily we are bound to improve in. Click To Tweet
How the Month of Daily Creativity Went
The month actually went very well. I practiced some kind of daily creativity 21 out of 30 days. My focus for the month was a drawing course from The Great Courses, hand lettering, doodling, and of course writing.
I also had one introductory voice lesson. I really enjoy singing but I’ve never had any formal training. I think I was inspired by the wonderful performances in The Greatest Showman and Dear Evan Hansen, a Broadway show. This was probably the most challenging thing I did all month because it was with another person and I felt the most vulnerable. My teacher went through warm up drills with me and explained the purposes behind each.
I shared Jeff Goins’ quote last month and it rings true again for this month. Creativity is not a gift, it’s a discipline. Anything we practice daily we are bound to improve in.
“Real writers do one simple thing: they write every single day. Forming a daily writing habit isn’t easy. It forces you to give up your misconceptions about writing and embrace the truth. It’s not a gift; it’s a discipline.” – Jeff Goins
Lessons Learned from a Month of Daily Creativity
Lesson #1: Write a list of all the things you might want to do during your month
I tried not to edit myself when I wrote a list of all the creative activities I could try during the month. There are a lot of things left on that list that I’d like to explore, but the timing wasn’t right or I didn’t have the supplies necessary. I wanted to keep this month simple and mostly focused on things I could do when I had 15 minutes.
Lesson #2: Check in with yourself before, during, and after your creative activities
One of the goals of these monthly experiments is to approach things with curiosity and awareness. During all of these monthly experiments, it’s important to check in with yourself and figure out how the process feels and what’s it’s bringing up in you. When something is new, it’s automatically going to feel uncomfortable. Feeling uncomfortable isn’t necessarily a sign that you should stop doing something. It’s an opportunity to ask yourself some questions.
I was excited about doing this vocal lesson before I went. Then when I got there and we were in this tiny studio and I had to do these weird warm up activities with this person I had never met – I started wondering why I had wanted to do this. I reminded myself that one of the lessons this year is teaching me is to step out and be seen. I’ve had a couple of opportunities at work this year to do presentations and I had to push myself to say yes. It’s comfortable for me to chug along unseen in the background. It was incredibly affirming to step out, share knowledge, and realize that with practice, I can give a presentation even though I don’t consider myself a “natural speaker.”
At the end of the lesson I felt relief. I’m not sure if I’ll sign up for regular lessons. I was glad I did it but think I would enjoy using my time doing other creative pursuits.
Lesson #3: Daily creativity gave me the space to play
I am incredibly practical most of the time. As a working mom there is always stuff to do around the house or in my work. The intention to practice daily creativity allowed me the space to practice skills that haven’t been used in years. It gave me permission to practice hand lettering and doodling that was really fun.
Tips for Planning Your Own Monthly Experiment
Decide ahead of time when you will do your activity daily.
I decided ahead of time to do this in the evening as a way to unwind from the day.
Start small. Consistency is more important.
Whatever your 30 day journey is, evaluate where you are right now, and set the daily goal from there.
If your goal is to drink more water, how much are you drinking now? If you drink 16 ounces, then set the goal above that and add on throughout the month.
If your goal is to declutter everyday and you haven’t done any decluttering, set your goal at decluttering one item a day at first. I’ve found with decluttering that a lot of the training is in recognizing the clutter instead of walking around with our clutter blinders on.
Whatever your goal is, doing it daily is the important part. Start small with the amount and increase as the month progresses.
When you feel yourself hesitating, say this to yourself…
At one point during my 30 day yoga journey, I found myself saying, “Ugh, I don’t feel like doing yoga.” I was lying on the ground feeling lazy. As I lay there debating, a statement came to me.
“I am a person who does yoga every day.”
It rang true to me. Yeah, I AM a person who does yoga every day. I got myself up and on to the mat.
If you find yourself hesitating, affirm your desire and intention and see if that changes something for you.
Reward yourself daily or weekly
If your task is difficult for you, plan a small reward after you complete it. It will help you stay motivated.
In July my intention is to practice plastic free choices. July is Plastic Free July! It’s a wonderful time to focus on awareness and small changes. If you’re willing to try greener living, read 13 green living tips from zero waste bloggers and print out this great list of ways you can reduce your use of plastics ranging from easy to hard!
A simple way to start is to carry around a refillable water bottle instead of plastic water bottles.