Table of Contents
- The Freedom of Discipline
- Examples of Habits Common to Creatives
- Changing State
- Discipline is Survival
- Redirecting Bad Habits
- 4 Examples of Redirecting Bad Habits
- Gains not Gaps
Audio Article – Examples of Habits
My left leg is shaking faster than the second hand on the clock 5 feet away as it shakes the table. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap.
What a lovely clock. There’s a map on the face of it and I can see New Zealand hanging out right at the 7:30 mark.
Have you ever notice how New Zealand always seems tossed off the coast of Australia like an afterthought? Have you ever had a second breakfast or “elevensies”?
Oh, yikes! There’s a large cobweb in a that corner, but what the heck is a cob? Sounds corny. I should look up ‘corny’ to see the origin of that word. Wonder if it really has anything to do with corn…? Maybe I should scroll Instagram for the latest viral art trend. ‘Market research’ for iCreateDaily….
This mundane pathway of nothing is leading me… nowhere.
The Path to Nowhere
You’ve been there, right? I’m sure I’ve met you there before. 😉
Why do we do this? Sit down to do the work we love, the work we’re passionate about, the work we want to quit our 9-5 for? Then… when push comes to shove, we stall. What….? Why?
It seems like no big deal if I sit here distracted for several minutes. No one would scold me, no one would think it strange, in fact it’s making me super relatable right now.
“Hey Devani, take it easy, don’t be so hard on yourself!” That would be a typical response from social media friends if I popped up there with a comment about how unfocused I was in that moment.
Which… if I reflect on it, is riddled with all kinds of other matrix-like nuances to unravel. The absence of focus would expand along with the reasons for it. What happens when momentary mindless minutes become habitual?
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.
~Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, author, 1905-1997
I’ll Get to it Tomorrow
Some examples of how I can derail myself… the things I want to do in the moment that leave me feeling empty tomorrow: Watching other shows/movies instead of writing my own stories. Doing busy work instead of the harder but more rewarding work of developing the skills I need next for growing our business.
Of course, there is a time for consuming the creativity of others, but consistent instant stimulation is an addiction. Internal satisfaction from my efforts has more impact on my life and the potential to touch others.
Maybe building a brand or publishing stories aren’t goals you aspire to, but in sharing part of my struggles, you might be able to pinpoint yours. Perhaps in sharing my struggles examples of your bad habits come readily to mind.
If you’re here taking the time to read an article on good habits, chances are you’re already on the journey towards establishing better habits!
If I delay today doing the work of my heart, years will pass and instead of bringing my dreams to life, I’ve saturated myself in other people’s worlds.
~Devani Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
Creative Freedom & Discipline
What do we want? Creative freedom!
When do we want it? After the house is clean, the dog is walked, the laundry is done, we tell ourselves that our art sucks for the millionth time, and we eat our snack! RIGHT?!
Here’s a perspective that many successful creators have:
Creative freedom is a result of discipline and constraint.
The discipline of practicing good habits, and the constraint that can come from structure, is like an invisible framework for our goals and life.
“Our dreams supported by our conscience provide the internal drive and the habits we cultivate provide the outer structure for achieving our dreams.”
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
While reviewing this article and digging for an analogy, I asked my mom how she would describe habits. She had several great analogies, but my favorite was how she likened habits to electricity.
Here is a partly paraphrased version of what she said:
“When we flip the switch, we see the light. We don’t see the wires in the walls, the path the electricity has taken, nor how the system was set up. But we notice the moment the light is on or off.”
Our habits are a lot like that! Many times we operate with subconscious habits that have entwined in our psyche over our lifetime. As we build the habits that serve us most, those positive habits will take over and become the invisible structure, ready at the flip of the switch.
“It’s what you practice in private that you will be rewarded for in public.”
~Tony Robbins, speaker, entrepreneur, writer
Examples of Habits
While there are grey areas of habits, we’re going to focus here on bad habits vs good habits. Drawing definitive lines between the standards you currently have and the ones you would like to develop simplify the process of change.
See if you can identify with any of these habits common amongst creatives, then create your own list.
Examples of Negative Habits Common to Creatives
- Talking about creative blocks instead of doing your work
- Seeking distraction over focus
- Too many ideas with too little application
- Glamorizing disorder and chaos (you know… the artsy lifestyle ;-))
- Overdramatizing emotional highs and lows
- Consistently not finishing projects
- Starting too many new projects at once
- Repeating negative stories about yourself/your life
- Substance Addictions
- Negative thinking
- Stuck in inaction/depression
- Hanging out with people/groups that feed your negative thoughts
- Distractions in the news and media
We could go on, but you get the point, and can add your own.
It is revealing to consider how much time we can spend rationalizing our bad habits instead of just producing our work.
~Devani Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
That said, creatives also have lots of good habits! The goal is to increase the time spent on the positives.
To help you in redirecting your negatives into positives, here’s a list of good habits to call on whenever you need help in shifting your mindset.
Examples of Good Habits Common to Creatives
- Turning life pains into creative inspiration
- Supporting other creators
- Being curious about the world
- Sharing unique perspectives through art
- Visualizing new ideas
- Developing awareness: self and environmental
- Seeking out-of-the-box solutions to problems
- Thinking deeper about personal and global issues
- Offering unique perspectives
- Pushing past comfort zones
- Sharing authentically
- Uplifting others through your work
- Establishing a structured time each day to create
- Setting and tracking your goals
- Create your own good habits list
- Compassionate and caring deeply
- Seeing beauty everywhere
- Creating something out of nothing
- Bringing beauty to life
We want to spend at least 80% of our time engaged in activities that uplift us as we work towards our goals. Now that you’ve created your own list of positive and negative habits, you can better identify when and how you can shift the negatives to positives.
If you like games, you might even:
- Print the above list of good habits
- Cut each sentence into strips of paper
- Fold them and place into a ‘cookie jar’
- Pick one when you need a hand in ideating a shift
If you need further help identifying and categorizing your habits, the simple exercise in this momentum article should help you clarify and identify. Also, this article on reframing will add power to your efforts to shift your habits and mindset.
A helpful affirmation:
“Believing I’m worthless does not serve me and I do not do things that do not serve me.”
~Tom Bilyeu, founder of Impact Theory
You can use the above quote to reframe whatever negative is tripping you up. Just replace the first part of the statement with the negative thought that does not serve you:
- Procrastination does not serve me…
- Negative self-talk does not serve me…
- Talking more than doing does not serve me…
- Consistently waking up late does not serve me…
…. and I do not do things that do not serve me.
So how do we go about actually breaking our negative cycles? We first need to change our mental and physical state.
The first step to changing bad habits is to become aware of it. The next is to acknowledge it.
One of our favorite shows from years ago was The Dog Whisperer hosted by Cesar Millan on the National Geographic channel. Cesar works with rehabilitating dogs and training their owners to be better leaders.
When Cesar arrives at the home of a family with a problem dog, he first learns more about the behaviors and routines of the household. The household environment is generally the root cause of the dog’s imbalance, no matter its background or origin.
After observing and investigating the atmosphere and energy of the owners, dog, and environment, it’s time to move.
Cesar will run, bike, and/or roller-skate with the dog to form a bond of trust and to workout its energy. Once the dog is happily tired from exercising, it’s much more likely to respond to commands.
We have a fun video below of Cesar roller skating with three huskies. But we didn’t want to distract you! 😉
Training Our Animals
We’re part human and part divine. Training our habits is often much like Cesar’s approach to rehabilitating dogs and training their owners. We take ownership and show our bad habits who’s boss.
Consider replacing one of your bad habits with exercise. Exercise inevitably results in renewed energy. Same thing with feeding your body the best fuel. Fueling and feeding your brain will awaken ideas and sharpen your focus, while providing the energy for action.
The fix for us is not so different than the fix for training dogs, because after all, we’re also working with our animal natures. How to feel better fast? Exercise, nutrition, discipline and inspiration.
Habits either help us or harm us. Choose yours carefully.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
Discipline is Survival
Without discipline, accountability, and structure, it’s very hard for us to reach creative and personal freedom.
There are so many lessons from observing how Cesar approaches changing a dog’s behavior that we can apply in our lives. Dogs–like humans–are creatures of habit.
Keep in mind that discipline doesn’t necessarily mean you must have a rigid-schedule where every minute is planned out. We’ve experienced this ourselves and have heard the same from many successful artists and entrepreneurs.
Cesar isn’t creating a daily regimen that the dogs and owners must follow to the T. He’s providing a framework, through exercise and behavioral-discipline, that integrates with the owner’s life and provides a healthy balance for the dogs as well.
Discipline is the framework of a productive and fulfilled life.
“Wolves are disciplined not only when they hunt but also when they travel, when they play, and when they eat. Nature doesn’t view discipline as a negative thing. Discipline is DNA. Discipline is survival.”
~Cesar Millan, dog trainer, auther, entrepreneur
Redirecting Bad Habits
Often times we refer to changing habits as “breaking” habits. What if we viewed it instead as redirecting? While breaking things can be good in context, that’s not really what we’re doing when we implement healthier habits.
Redirecting energy is the main philosophy behind Aikido and can be applied to many areas of life, including changing habits. We are simply taking the energy that’s present and redirecting it to where we want it to go.
This is how Cesar so effectively rehabilitates dogs. He’s not “breaking” dogs, he’s using exercise and discipline to redirect their energy into a healthier state. That’s what we want to do for ourselves: replace our negative habits with healthy and positive ones.
“Learning skills that improve your life is the way you unlearn habits that ruin your life.”
~ Devani Anjali Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
4 Examples of Redirecting Bad Habits
Getting a handle on habits that don’t serve us, gives us a sense of accomplishment, which is empowering. We feel better and more energized and our lives start improving incrementally over time.
Here are some effective redirect examples for common habits that can interfere with aspirations.
1. Bad Habit: Watching shows or movies for hours after the end of workdays.
Positive Redirection: Turn on an audio or video podcast while doing a 30-minute workout or home chores. Involve others in your household if you want/can, and make it a new positive activity that you do together. Here are some easy at home workouts if you’re unsure where to start.
2. Bad Habit: Scrolling mindlessly through social media or watching YouTube videos that don’t develop you or your craft.
Positive Redirection: Watching a tutorial or reading an article that improves a business or craft skill, and then implementing that for your creative growth.
3. Bad Habit: Being unorganized and rushing to do important tasks last minute, which makes you feel frazzled, late or behind.
Positive Redirection: Cultivate a daily habit of doing the most important tasks first. You will be amazed at how that frees up time and energy in your day.
4. Bad Habit: Starting new projects constantly and not finishing current/older tasks. Ending up frustrated and feeling defeated by the number of tasks left undone. This is a common issue with many creatives, especially those who run at ‘a million ideas an hour’ speed. 😉
Positive Redirection: The most basic solution is to use your new project as fuel and motivation to finish the current project. But, we understand that isn’t always possible, nor do all of us work well if we only have one project.
If you’re a chronic-non-finisher, yet you also enjoy juggling multiple projects at one time, we recommend investing in tools that help better structure your time. Remember as we mentioned above:
More discipline equals more creative freedom.
- Consistency: a daily creative schedule, no matter what.
- A goals journal or task list to keep track of your different projects.
- An online project management system that ties your work to deadlines.
- Using an online time tracker (Toggl is free) so you can track where your time is allocated on a daily basis.
- A community of productive creatives to help with accountability.
For the best results, we recommend a blend of the above. Goal tracking, task management, time tracking, and accountability are the foundations for creating a productive environment for yourself.
The price of procrastination on your dreams is way too high.
Challenge yourself to replace just one of your bad habits with a positive redirect. The best part of all of this is you’re replacing a bad habit with something productive that you want to achieve.
Once you replace one negative habit for a positive and that’s firmly in place, you can move onto the next one. You’ll want to because you’ll want to experience more of the positive effects of forward momentum in the direction of your dreams.
Positivity is addicting.
If you like a humorously quirky perspective, you might enjoy this interview we did with Dr. Glenn Livingston. Glenn’s insight on cultivating an inner “Alpha Wolf” ties in perfectly with Cesar’s approach and is especially helpful toward learning the power of self-accountability.
“The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it.”
~Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet, philosopher
Gains not Gaps
“Focus on your gains, not on your gaps.”
~Dan Sullivan, author, coach, entrepreneur
Mindset reframe is such a game-changer. It’s so easy to get caught up in the gap of where you are now vs where you want to be.
When you’re learning to change habits that you’ve lived with for years you’ll naturally have moments of doubt or bad days. Instead of over-analyzing where you went wrong, reflect on your progress to inspire you to do better tomorrow. Focus on your accumulated gains even if today wasn’t your best day.
Old habits can be hard to shake. They will tempt and lure and do all in their power to survive. But to excel, you must let them go.
Finding the Joy in the Journey
We like to use the metaphor of taking a trip. You know your end destination, and head in that direction daily. Enjoy the journey and the stops along the way, and if you take a wrong turn just course correct.
Don’t spend the rest of the trip worrying, upset, and mad that you made a wrong turn. Don’t ignore the wrong turn, learn from it. You simply adjust and continue on your way.
This same mindset can be applied to the journey of your goals.
If you begin and/or end each day listing the progress you made you’ll begin to enjoy the journey more, speed bumps and all.
Examples for Your Gains List:
- Instead of binging on my show, I learned a new painting method
- I had an apple instead of a candy bar
- Walking/biking/exercising even though I felt tired
- Drinking more lemon water or herbal tea instead of sugary drinks
- Plotting out my book instead of scrolling through social media
- Asking for help and accountability instead of dwelling on being stuck
- Helping someone instead of complaining about something
When you consciously fill your mind with positive thoughts and achievements you’ll find you have less time to dwell on negatives. The same goes for when you focus on productive tasks instead of negative habits.
“Choose addictive behaviors that serve you rather than destroy you.”
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
PST! Here’s that awesome video of Cesar roller staking with three dogs!
Hey! I’m Devani, a multi-passionate creator who enjoys honing the craft of writing (mostly;)), photography, cooking, podcasting, learning about business, and growing brands. I co-host the iCreateDaily Podcast with LeAura Alderson (my mom), and co-own the iCreateDaily brand. I hope through the content and products we produce, you will be inspired to start, sustain, and succeed in your goals.
My non-business and artistic hobbies include: enjoying a good movie, discovering obscure but epic music, obsessing over The Beatles, and developing fictional stories in my head. My Maltese dog, Caspian, provides an insane amount of creative inspiration by just being his adorable self. #HeWokeUpLikeThat. 😉
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