Planning for the next creative year

In the previous blog post I was looking backwards, reviewing 2017, and I shared a coaching tool called the wheel of life which can help identify areas you are doing well, and not so well, in. Which helps you to plan for improvements in the areas where you score lowest.
2018 is just around the corner, so now that we have looked backwards, we can use the information to look ahead.

Let’s Make 2018 Your Best Creative Year, Ever!

Many of us start a new year with this idea of a ‘new year, new you’, a fresh start when all the wrongs of previous behaviours can be resolved. We make lists of resolutions – to lose weight, get fit, stop drinking (alcohol), drink more water, stop smoking etc etc etc. You know, if everyone stuck to these lists whole industries would go out of business and the entire human race would be happier, healthier and possibly a whole lot more boring 🙂
But, most of us don’t stick at them beyond a few weeks, or even days. Statistics suggest that only about 8% of new year resolutions ‘stick’. The reasons for this are many, but the main ones are –
1. We give ourselves too much to do,
2. We try to do it all at once
3. We don’t restart when we do stop.

make 2018 your best year

So what can you do to make this coming year different and actually stick to your plans for creativity having a place in your life?
Instead of trying to sort all the areas at once, pick just 1 or 2. So, since this is a creative and wellbeing blog, let’s start with something to boost your creativity, which will in turn boost your wellbeing.
Say you want to write more, finish a book, enter a competition or something like that. You could have the goal to write a short story for a specific competition. Now, if you just say ‘I’m going to enter the competition‘, that won’t work because you need to plan for it. How many words is it? How fast do you type? So how many days will you need for writing, rewrites, edits?

Make a Realistic Plan.

If you currently write sporadically and never finish, your resolution might be to write every day and enter the comp, but is every day realistic? You need to look at your normal current routine. Much of the ‘write more’ advice out there will say to get up earlier, but what if you have kids, partner etc and your mornings already start early and are chaotic. What if you already tried to get up even earlier but then the kids got up too, or what if you are just too tired and the morning is not for you? Can you change anything else in your day, lunchtime routine, evenings?
In my book and course I get people to really grind down their current routine and habits to find out where their time really goes, and where they might be able to find more. But the reality is that not everyone will be able to write every day. So if you set that to be your resolution, it won’t stick because it’s not realistic. But maybe 2-3 days a week is. So you’d need to think how much you need to write if you can definitely fit it 2-3 sessions a week and write so many words in those sessions.

Deal With the Gremlin

Perhaps for you it’s not so much time that is the issue, perhaps it is the inner belief, and that annoying little voice that says ‘YOU can’t do that’. How to get past that voice is another whole chapter in my book/course, but one thing you can try is to have a regular routine, and start small. The routine comes back to the time, so set aside at least one session a week, where you do your creative thing. The gremlin likes routine, it’s your attempts to step away from your normal day that sets him off. Then, the other thing is to start small, maybe just a few minutes a day, you’d be surprised what you can do in just 5 minutes – go on try it, I’ll wait…..what can you write or draw or plan in 5 minutes?

Doing that every day, just when you get a chance, keeping it nice and small, not saying ‘I’m going to write a novel/paint a huge picture’, leaves the gremlin snoozing so to speak, again he only starts jumping up and down when you step towards big scary things. A few doodles on a piece of paper as you wait for the bus? That’s fine with the gremlin. That way you can build up more time and effort, without over exciting your inner doubter.

So, this new year, keep your plans small and do-able, and if you slip, re-set and start again. Don’t let one or two missed days ruin it for you. The people who finish are the ones who just keep on starting, and restarting. Surprise yourself with getting your creative resolution past the 1st of February!