今日推荐英文原文：《How Not to Give Up on Your Creative New Year Resolutions After January》
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今日推荐英文原文：《How Not to Give Up on Your Creative New Year Resolutions After January》作者：Olena Prusenkova
How Not to Give Up on Your Creative New Year Resolutions After January
(Photo by Svetlana Pochatun on Unsplash)
For many of us, the dawn of the new millennium has begun with setting New Year resolutions and goals to achieve by the end of this year. It’s the time when we decide to get more creative and pursue a new hobby like dancing, writing, playing an instrument and many other things. Unfortunately, more often than not, life gets in the way and the enthusiasm we’ve had in the beginning wears off. According to some studies, most people are likely to give up on their New Year Resolutions right before they get into mid-January.
I can attest to that: many times in the past, I have struggled to find time to be creative and often ended up falling back into my everyday routine which left bleeding my creativity dry. After many failed attempts, I have found some strategies that work for me and I want to share with you how you can stay on top of your creative goals and not give up all the way until January next year.
Identify and break it downEven though a hobby is something many of us want to be spontaneous, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place, or at least a rough idea of what exactly you want to achieve. If you want to write more — what is that you want to write? Short stories, blog posts, poetry? If it’s an instrument — then, what do you want to play? Pop songs, rock music, classical music?
Once you have identified what you want to get out of your creative hustle, think how you can break it down into smaller goals and set strict deadlines. For example, challenge yourself to write 10 poems over the course of one month or learn to play five songs of your favorite band. Try to be realistic about what you can actually achieve to avoid setting impossible standards for yourself.
The reason why it helps to break down your goals into smaller milestones is because generic resolutions that sound something like ‘I want to write more this year’ or ‘I want to learn an instrument’ aren’t helpful. Actually, having a broad, ill-defined goals is a perfect way to set yourself up for a failure because:
a) generic resolutions are useless as they don’t give you any idea on what you’re actually supposed to do with them;
b) the less specific your goal is, the more overwhelming it appears to be which is why you are tempted to give up sooner.
The secret to staying motivated and keeping up with your creativity is small, continuous wins over a long period of time.
Get a habit trackerHabit tracker is an awesome tool and it’s something you should definitely try out in 2020. This tool is a step up from an old-fashioned calendar: it helps you track the progress over time, measuring your performance over different periods of time. There are many versions of habit trackers and a handful of them are free as well. One of the habits I was able to improve using habit tracker was a reading habit. I set up a habit for myself to read at least 20 minutes a day and for every day when I completed the task, I would tick it off on the tracker board. I found it to be a good trick to help myself keep up the momentum as well as have a visual representation of how far I’ve come and my ongoing progress which proved to be incredibly motivating.
Learn more about the lives of famous people that truly inspire youSometimes, procrastination can hit hard and there is no escape from it. In that case, you might as well go ahead and procrastinate with a purpose.
I like to find stories of people that inspire me to be a better version of myself. I am personally inspired by singers, film directors and, of course, writers and what I like doing is finding their interviews where not only they talk about their success, but where they get personal and talk about their struggles and how they manage to find and maintain inspiration no matter what happens in their lives. It’s always helpful to know that someone has already been through the challenges I’m going through and found a way to overcome while staying true to their creative self.
Stephen King, for example. He is known for his incredible, mind-blowingly captivating novels as well as his famous tips for aspiring writers. Yet not many people know that for years he struggled with depression and addiction — he even claimed that he doesn’t remember writing one of his best works as at the time he was under the influence of drugs. Eventually, he managed to recover with the help of his family and close friends. Often, the media portrays celebrities as semi-gods that are constantly bathing in their fame and have it all, but at the end of the day, they are people just like us — and their real stories might give you hope and inspire you not to give up on your creative pursuit once it gets difficult.
Let go of perfection and let the first draft(s) suckThe expression ‘first draft’ or ‘first attempt’ in a sense implies that we are only allowed one mistake. But the thing is to get good at something, we should let ourselves fail — many, many times — and try not to judge ourselves for it. Creative process or learning a new skill is basically a process of repetitious failure. At one point, whatever you’re creating, you need to let go of your need to be perfect and learn to be okay with sucking. Whenever we put ourselves under pressure to be 100% perfect at everything we do, being creative no longer feels like fun and it kills our inspiration. Instead, tap into your curiosity and adopt a learner mindset.
Take breaks and reward yourselfIt’s very hard to ride into the sunset of the creative flow on the will alone. The reality is, our brains will always try to outsmart us. Somehow, instead of sitting down and finishing the final draft of that sketch, we find ourselves cleaning the entire apartment and arranging DVDs in alphabetical order and whoops… we’ve just run out of time to work on what we love.
Trying to stay realistic and scheduling breaks and rewards helps and has been scientifically proven to work.
Finding time and motivation for a hobby or a side hustle is not easy. At the end of the day, it’s important to have compassion for yourself and stay positive about your progress no matter how small it seems.
Our ability to be creative can be impacted by so many factors that are outside of our control, such as our mood, levels of stress, events happening in our lives as well as the lives of people around us. Finding your own strategies to stay creative during your busy life takes time as well as trial and error. Hopefully, these tips will help you tame this mysterious beast motivation and keep it on your leash all the way until the end of 2020 before you get to make your new resolutions. Happy creating!