It’s that time again – New Year’s resolution time.
That time of year when we get to sacrifice our self esteem on the altar of failed commitments.
Does that seem a little pessimistic? Or, let’s be honest with ourselves, perhaps just realistic.
There are few feelings more toxic to your spirit than the disappointment that comes from deciding you’re going to do something, but just…not.
When that something is connected to achieving your most cherished dreams, it feels even worse.
As if that wasn’t enough, you’re left worse off than if you hadn’t tried at all, because all the negative emotions created by your ‘failure’ make it that much harder to get started again.
All You’ve really managed is to create a stronger barrier to achieving your artistic goals. Hardly the point. Let’s try not to let that happen this year.
Why New year’s resolutions have failure built-in
There can be a few reasons I think. But it’s mostly because we’re not specific enough about what we’re going to do.
Just deciding to draw something every day still leaves you with that horrendous “blank canvas” moment, when you sit down and actually have to decide what you’re going to draw.
That’s an incredibly powerful barrier to getting started. And you’re not going to have to do it just once, you’re going to have to do it every day for the rest of the year.
I hate to break this to you, but you’re not going to manage it.
So, how can we stop that happening this year?
Plan to Succeed
Create yourself a Practise Plan, that’s how. Follow these steps:
- Pick a skill you want to stretch. Make it something very specific, for example: Drawing accuracy.
- Decide on a simple exercise to help you develop that skill. For drawing accuracy, you could decide to take a single, simple object, and do an outline drawing of it in the same position every day. For each drawing, try to make it more accurate than the last one. If you want to improve your values, say, I’ve got a simple value exercise you could try.
- Now do your exercise tomorrow, and then every day for seven days. I say to do it tomorrow, not today, because you need a little time to plan if you want to succeed.
Put aside some uninterrupted time. Early morning when everyone else is still asleep is great. Have your materials set out ready if you can. Set yourself a reminder, or, even better, consider using the simple habit/trigger method at tinyhabits.com to get you through that difficult first week.
Keeping a log helps too. I use a spreadsheet and fill a box with a green square when I turn up for my practice appointment, a red one when I don’t. It’s a really effective way to keep yourself accountable to your goal.
You’re much more likely to stick to your plan if you let someone else know about it. Tell a friend, or a family member. Post your commitment on your blog, if you have one. Post your commitment on Facebook. Join the Daily Art Practice google group and post it there.
However you do it, commit to letting your accountability partner(s) know every day whether you’ve done it or not.
So. If you seriously want to give this a go, post a comment here. Tell me the specific skill you want to improve. I’ll do my best to give you an idea for a simple exercise to develop that skill, one that you can do every day for the next seven days.
Add a comment now with the single, specific drawing skill you’d most like to improve. We’ll take it from there.
Posted: January 1st 2014
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