Ten Tips To Build A Creative Routine

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I was talking to a friend of mine this am over tea and she mentioned wanting to create daily even if it was for fifteen minutes a day. I could totally relate as I have been struggling over the last few months with a consistent creative routine myself. I have been doing a lot of procrastination and also had a good bout of amnesia of how a routine really works for me when I create.

 

I decided it was time to get back to the basics of building a routine.

  1. Do the most important creative work first thing in the morning before getting distracted by e-mail, phone calls, work etc.
  1. Surround myself with things that get me excited about creating. A clean studio, fresh canvases and all my tools visible. Other inspiring personal items.
  1. Meditate and get quiet to see what inspiration arises, also to calm my mind and reduce any anxiety that I am feeling about xyz. I usually do this before I begin and also when I am feeling stuck.
  1. Commit to working on a creative project or endeavor consistently. Whether that is throughout the week, throughout the day but ideally, a daily practice.
  1. Show up whether I an inspired or not. If I let all my moods dictate my creative process I would never get anything started or completed.
  1. I make sure to protect my creative time at all costs. I schedule it in my calendar and make sure that I do not re-schedule it or change it. It’s a done deal.
  1. Turn off the phone and computer. I am less likely to distract myself if there are no interruptions.
  1. Take a break. Sometimes I need to get away from the work to get a new perspective or feel re-energized. Walking outside and meditation are great outlets for me. Plus I feel inspired by nature– it’s a win/win.
  1. Keep my creative projects out so I can see them. I like to see the progress and it also keeps me unconsciously working on it throughout the day.
  1. Listen to my gut about what I want to create not what I “should” create and do the work from that space.

These are all my basics for building my creative routine and I hope it inspires you to get back to or figure out yours. I would love to hear what works for you!

The Beginners Guide to Goal-Setting

Marble, Colorado

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Goals and Goal-Setting

It is important after you have clarified what your goals are going to be for 2016 to figure out what kind of goals they are and how you are going to meet them. The following are some tools to help you get started on a plan to meet your goals.

Left-Brain Grid Approach – S.M.A.R.T.

Specific (avoid being vague or general)

Measurable (starting from a baseline, what would determine that you have moved forward?)

Achievable (don’t set goals too high, set steps for them to be achievable, set goals you will succeed at)

Relevant (Focus on something the you feel passionate about, that you truly want to achieve)

Time-linked (targeted date, when)

Example:

Sample Goal: Gain more clients for my coaching business by participating in a networking group.

This is a worthy goal. But, how would you know if the networking group actually helped you get more clients? Include a metric to measure progress in meeting the goal.

SMART Goal: Gain 2 clients each quarter for my coaching business by participating in a monthly networking group by February 28, 2016.

I highly suggest putting a date associated with the goal so that you have something to work towards and an end point. This will also help you stay focused on the goal and it is measurable.

Right-Brain Organic Approach – S.A.F.E

See the end result – having a mental picture of the goal, what does it look like

Accept the end result – may not know how yet, but be open to possibility

Feel the end result – what emotions are associated with obtaining the goal

Express the end result – solidify the goal by creatively expressing it, (vision boards, write or paint about it)

Example:

Sample Goal: I would like to go on a vacation to Hawaii by March 31, 2016.

SAFE Goal: This is more multisensory. Utilizes Images, Metaphors, Role Models (Archetypes), Vision Boards, Mind Mapping, Guided Visualization. For this goal I could do a vision board with pictures that represented the vacation I want to have this year.

I still recommend writing down the goals with this approach. By making the visualized goals measurable and having an end date with this approach you will be more likely to meet them. Otherwise, it can be easy to look at (vision board etc.) but you may have a harder time achieving it since there is no formal timeline that you are committing to.

Goal Commitment

The following are some ways to support the your commitment to work towards goals:

  • Express them – write them out and post them where you can see them
  • Expressing them in the form of an artwork (ie. Vision Board)
  • Share them with chosen people (coach, mentor, teacher, creative group)
  • Protect them from others who may be thoughtlessly intrusive or critical
  • Review them frequently-I can’t stress this enough! It is incredibly easy to get off track and hard to get back on if a lot of time has passed

What is important to remember is to take the goals you have identified pick a plan and commit to following through. Also, don’t focus on too many goals at one time otherwise you will become scattered and frustrated by not meeting them an yes, I am speaking from experience! 🙂

Plan your goals out and remember that each goal has multiple steps within reaching that goal. Make sure that you will have enough space and time in your schedule to meet your goals realistically. Some goals are long-term goals and they may take 3, 6, 9 months or all of 2016 to reach so make sure that your timeline for reaching them sets you up for success!

What is your experience with writing goals? When you write them down do you have more success in meeting them? I’d love to hear.

10 Quick Clarifying Questions

IMG_1316In the previous two posts I wrote about letting go and creating your best year ever. Today (in case you haven’t asked yourself those questions from those posts yet) I have provided a quick tool to figure out your top goals in nine areas of your life. If you have done the other two exercises in my last posts then this is also a good one to do since it is listing out specific areas of your life which will help you get specific about what you want in each area.

This may feel like overkill if you have been reading the past posts but my intention is for you to have a few options to gain clarity about what you would like to create in 2016. The more clarity you have, the easier it will be to focus your time, energy and discipline. Then you will be able to follow through on the actions it requires to make your goals a reality.

The idea of this exercise is to take out a pen and a piece of paper and answer the questions in less than 30 seconds. Generally, when people only have 30 seconds to write down their goals they are as accurate as when they have more time. Your subconscious mind comes up with the answer quickly and without second-guessing.

It may feel repetitive with “the three most important goals” in each question but this is so your mind can easily filter out your top three.

Remember-30 seconds for each question 🙂

  1. Write down your three most important goals in life right now
  2. What are your three most important family or relationship goals right now?
  3. What are your three most important business or career goals right now?
  4. What are your three most important financial goals right now?
  5. What are your three most important creative goals right now?
  6. What are your three most important health goals right now?
  7. What are your three most important spiritual goals right now?
  8. What are your three most important personal and professional development goals right now?
  9. What are your three most important social and community goals right now?
  10. What are your three most important pleasure goals right now?

I hope this brought some more clarity to what you would like to create in your life for 2016. In my upcoming posts I will be sharing some ideas, tips and tools to help you succeed in meeting your goals in 2016!

15 Questions to Create Your Best Year Ever!

IMG_0156It’s the New Year!  These 15 Goal-Setting Questions will help you begin to create your best year ever. Answer the questions below – and then all you need to do is start taking action!

First, REFLECT and take your learning forward:

1. What worked WELL for you in 2015?

2. What do you WANT to keep doing, or do more of, in 2016?

3. What did NOT work for you in 2015?

4. What do you need to Just let go! of? (see yesterday’s post)     

5. Where do you just need to stop procrastinating and “Just do it!”?

Then, LOOK AHEAD and UNDERSTAND what you truly want and why:

1. What, more than anything, do you want in 2016?

2. What goals would really put a SMILE on your face?

3. What would have happened by the end of the year to leave you FEELING AMAZING about yourself?

4. If you were to write a list of JUST 10 GOALS and Aims for 2016, what would they be?

5. If you did nothing else, what THREE things would make 2016 a SUCCESS for you?

Next, PREPARATION & SUPPORT:

1. What could get in the way? If you were going to sabotage yourself HOW would you do it?

2. What ONE habit could you introduce that would make a huge improvement in your life?

3. How can you bring more FUN and PLAY into your life in 2016?

Finally, WRAPPING it up:

1. What is your THEME for 2016? _____________________

2. Who will you have to BECOME to have all that you want?

I hope this sparks you into action and helps you bring some awareness and intention to what you want to create in your life in 2016!

4 Easy Steps To Creative Risk Taking

Denver, Colorado

Taking a risk can be one of the most challenging and most rewarding options to do in your life and in your creative practice. It means doing something you have never done before or doing something that is outside of the mainstream, out of the box, something that you would not “normally” do or that you are uncomfortable with.

You may not take risks for various reasons, “I will look stupid. I have never done this before and I don’t know how to do it. I want it to be perfect. I can’t do it because…I am too old, too tired, I don’t have enough money, it’s not the right time etc.”

These are all “reasons” or more accurately self-judgments that limit you from taking a risk because you are afraid to do it badly, fail, do it imperfectly or that you will screw it up.

However, what is the cost of not taking a risk? That you may have the breakthrough of a lifetime on that novel you are writing or picture you are painting? That whatever you are creating is not working at all so you discover what steps you need to take to improve it.

Or maybe through the risk taking you expand your limits, boundaries and ideas of yourself and what you are capable of creating. Without taking a risk, the real danger is becoming complacent, mediocre, and stagnant. Who wants that as a creative legacy?

How do you face this intentional interaction with uncertainty and muster enough courage to take the creative risk in the first place?

1.  Work with the feeling of uncertainty.

Uncertainty will overwhelm and kill any thoughts of risk taking by bringing up judgments (as mentioned above) and fear. Working with these thoughts and feelings through meditation, yoga, mindfulness practices, and walking in nature are all helpful ways to ground yourself and get in your body and out of your head. (Or do whatever practice makes sense and helps you to ground yourself and get out of your head.)

2.  Take action, any type of action that will make you begin creating.

Usually small steps are easier but there are those of you who would rather take the big leap and that works great too. Remember: any action big or small is better than no action at all!

3.  Assess and don’t judge.

Objectively look at what you have created and figure out what the next step is. You may need to start over, throw it out, add, subtract or keep going. Whatever that next step is don’t get caught up in the assessment by allowing negative thinking and judging to take over.

4.  Repeat. Go back to step 1.

Especially if you are going down the rabbit hole with your thoughts and getting stuck, blocked or frozen from negative thinking and judgment.

You have nothing to lose except the possibility of what could have been created if you took the risk in the first place! That could be a tremendous loss not only for yourself but also for the people who would benefit from experiencing what you have created.

I challenge you to take a risk in your creative endeavors and I would love to hear what action you took to make it happen!