Was one of your New Year’s Resolutions to make more time for creativity? Great! Let’s talk about how to make that happen. New Year’s Resolutions are notoriously difficult to achieve and a high proportion of people drop them before the calendar page is even turned to February. Why? Well, one reason may be that we set goals that we feel like we should achieve but don’t really want to. For example, I’ve resolved to only have dessert on weekends because I know that’s better for me. I know that I don’t really need so much sugar and not eating dessert will help me lose weight. It’s what I should do, but absolutely not what I want to do. If I am being honest with myself, I know that I am going to break that resolution as soon as I walk past those leftover Christmas cookies on January 3rd because I like sweets and I really have no intention of letting them go. My guess, however, is that the desire is not the issue when it comes to resolving to have more time for creativity.
So, if we really do want to find more time for creativity, why is it so hard to achieve? I think it’s because we are not being specific enough with the goal. “Make More Time for Creativity” is laudable, but not actionable. It doesn’t really define what we’re going to do. When are we making the time? How are we going to do it? For a goal to really be actionable and achievable it has to be a SMART goal. It needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based. “Spend 15 minutes each weekday in January sketching before work” is a more clearly-defined goal because it articulates what you’re going to do (sketching), when you’re going to do it (before work), and it’s SMART. Fifteen minutes is achievable, measurable, and specific and January establishes the timing.
Once a SMART goal is defined, the next step to make sure that it will happen is to remove as many obstacles as possible. Decide exactly when you’ll do your sketching and get prepared. If you plan to do it before work, does that mean getting up earlier? Set your alarm now. Does it mean sketching while you drink your morning coffee? Put your sketchbook and pencils in the kitchen. Decide what you will sketch. Look around the room; are there enough things around you to sketch? If not, bring some things in. Will you sketch from photos instead? Print off a stack. Once you’ve done the prep work and removed the obstacles for a goal that is measurable and achievable, it will be hard not to reach it. Then, at the end of January you’ll get the endorphin rush of checking off a goal that will inspire you to keep going for February. What SMART things will you do for your creativity this year?
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