94 building habits

masks 94/365 | year of creative habits Today I'm thinking a lot about habit building and reflecting on my year of creative habits so far.

I began the year with the goal of a daily drawing or other sketchbook work every morning. I am 94/94. I took time to plan for and set up this habit. I gathered materials and I scheduled time for it. I began drawing for about 5 minutes a day and have gradually worked up to 20 minutes or longer. I changed things along the way to make it work for me but I stuck with it. I spent two months working to build this habit.

In March I added in two new habits. [Why two?! That was silly of me!] I signed up for a 5K and set the goal of running every other day to prepare. I ran 14/17 days. My preparation for this was to download a 5K running program. Looking back, I probably should have prepared a little more. I should have bought some actual running shoes.  The running program is 25-30 minutes so I should have scheduled this into my day.  I only missed 3 days which isn't too bad. It definitely helped that the 5K race is set for April 26. I have to be ready or I won't be able to finish with my team.

I also set the goal to "work in the studio" for at least an hour every weekday. I worked 15/25 days. I didn't have any idea of what "working in the studio" meant or looked like when I started. So really, how would I know if I accomplished it? I scheduled it into my normal day but I didn't change things along the way to make it work. Also trying to begin a habit that takes an hour?! What was I thinking? Ain't nobody got time for that! Looking back I can see that I set myself up to fail on this one.

March was definitely a month that I struggled with my creative habits but I learned a lot about the process of habit building. James Clear writes about 3 rules for sticking to good habits

  1. Start with a version of the habit that is incredibly easy for you. It must be so easy that you can’t say no to doing it and so easy that it is not difficult at all in the beginning.
  2. Increase your habit each day, but in an incredibly small way.
  3. Even after increasing your habit, all repetitions must remain easy. The total habit should be broken down into easier pieces if needed.

I think I accidentally followed these rules with my drawing habit. The running program that I'm doing is similar to this. It gradually builds up the running but it's definitely not 'incredibly easy' each time. I completely blew it with my studio habit. So today is the day to change it. If you are struggling with your creative habits, is there an "incredibly easy" version of your habit that you could begin today?