Want a more creative 2016? 10 resolutions you can actually keep

Honestly? I’m wary of New Years resolutions. More than just the terrible statistics about New Years resolutions, I remember all the ones I haven’t kept: the years I was certain I would lose weight with a rigorous schedule, or stop drinking coffee (as an empty Starbucks cup sits on my desk).

The problem, in my opinion, is creating really HUGE resolutions and expecting your whole life to change.The guilt, the shame when you don’t makes you feel bad and less than. It’s a whole bag of awful that Id rather skip.

When I look back, the biggest changes in my life started quite small. It was the occasional yoga class that turned into a daily habit. It was the journaling that became a full-fledged passion and career. It was small changes that slowly built on themselves, like compounding interest.

I’m not the only one who believes this. BJ Fogg, director of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University. He shares what his research has revealed about motivation and change in this amazing Ted Talk.

Starting off small can help you at least start. And often, it can help you do far more than just your goal.

So you want to be more creative in 2016? Here are a few ideas for resolutions:

1. Write for five minutes a day

I firmly believe in the power of journaling. While I try to do at least 3 pages a day, starting off small can help. Write a list. Write about your dreams. Write about your crazy neighbor’s christmas lights. It doesn’t matter, just write for five minutes.

2. Take one photo a day

Snapshot

Photography has never been more accessible. Snap a quick shot on your smartphone, or perhaps go analog with an instax camera. You’ll be amazed at what a year of photography can do not only for your eye, but also as a way of remembering your year.

3. Play your instrument for 3 minutes daily

Is your piano or guitar at home gathering dust? Put your smartphone timer on and just warm up for a few minutes. Maybe you’ll do more. Maybe you’ll put it away. But those three minutes certainly won’t interrupt your sleep.

4. One sketch a day

It can be a quick gesture drawing or a more detailed study. But one page a day will quickly fill your sketchbook (or three).

5. Read one page a day

Part of being creative is finding inspiration. As a writer, reading deeply influences my work. As much as I love to read, it’s easy to not pick up a book. This resolution has helped me read far more this year than any other year since college.

6. Do a 30 second dramatic reading

No need for expensive scripts required. Many great plays are in the public domain. Or, read lines from your favorite movie script.

7. Dance to one song a day

dance

YouTube is your friend. Maybe you’ll try to follow along to a video like “All the Single Ladies”. Or, you could go a more abstract route and just dance the way you want. Get up, get moving, and express yourself. Who knows? You may find a new workout routine as well.

8. Unfinished project? Commit to 5 minutes a day

Maybe you have a half-finished novel, waiting for its ending. Perhaps a painting is lurking in your garage, needing the final touches. Whatever it is, roll up your sleeves and work on it for five minutes. It doesn’t have to be good. But you’ll be that much closer to actually completing it and having one less thing on your mind.

9. Color for one minute

Coloring for adults has had a huge comeback this year. I think I’ve spotted at least 2 dozen adult coloring books this year, which is more than I probably saw for twenty years.

Coloring can be a great way to reduce stress and play with color. Who knows? You might save some money this year on booze by spending a bit more time with crayons.

10. Spend 2 minutes a day learning a new skill

Maybe you really want to become a better writer. Perhaps you want to start doing origami. There are so many resources out there, both free and not. This year, don’t just say you want to do it, start learning. Whether it’s reading a wiki, or practicing your paper crane, learning a new craft or art can help widen your horizons and improve your other work as well.

As you can see all of these resolutions have two things in common:

a) Short time frames

You have a busy life even before smartphones and the internet. As much as things are getting easier, our lives are still crammed full of stuff. Keeping your resolution short makes it easier to fit it into your life and more importantly, actually show up.

b) A daily habit

I’m a big fan of routine. It’s much easier for me to do something daily than weekly or monthly. There’s more repetition and less forgetting. But also, showing up daily means those few minutes will compound on each other. Five minutes a day seems small, but after 360 days? That’s 1,800 minutes, or 30 hours. 30 hours you can invest in your passions and making your creativity a part of your life.

One last important thing

nom nom

 

If you’ve ever trained a dog, you know that reward is important. Whether you like it or not, human behavior is not all that different. We too need rewards. Once you finish those 30 seconds or daily drawing, reward yourself, whether with a happy dance or just calling yourself awesome. Make yourself feel good. It will help solidify your resolution as a repetitive behavior that you’ll keep.

Will there be days when you probably won’t follow through? Of course. You’re human, and skipping can happen. Instead of just giving up or beating yourself up, start again. There will also be days you may do more than just your minimum resolution. Be sure to reward yourself for going above and beyond as well.

Yes 2016 is almost here. You don’t have to make a grand big resolution to change your life. In fact, creating a small creative habit could lead to the biggest change of all.

Have you created a creative resolution for 2016? Share it below! 

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