Habits Boost Your Success
Written on 2018-04-02 by John Meschke
When you follow your favorite artist, writer, video producer, or any person whom you find to be a source of great content on a regular basis, did you ever question how they are able to pull it off? When seriously considering the thought, they become even more inspirational. That creative effort put forth takes serious time and dedication backed up with positive habits. When you compare yourself to these people, it can bring up thoughts such as
there's no way I could be that good or
I'm so far behind the curve, I couldn't catch up to them. Fear not, as these thoughts remain nothing but excuses holding you in a stagnant state of comfort. We want to banish these ideas and broaden your experience so that you too can be a source of inspiration for others. Doesn't that sound great? To do this, we must realize the value of positive habits.
An essential step in cultivating good habits is giving yourself a purpose. Define clearly what it is you hope to accomplish. Perhaps you want to be a better artist or create a blog with thousands of dedicated followers. The want is vague, but the purpose is concrete. Thus, give your purpose a well-defined and physical form. Write down exactly what it is you wish to accomplish in as much detail as you can, but most importantly, why it is you are doing it. The blogger may say for example
my aim is to create one exciting article per week and to branch out into social media daily until I have amassed a following of at least one thousand people who love my works. Keep your writing in plain sight as a reminder on what it is that you are setting out to do. For those days where your faith in your ability wanes, turn back to your purpose as a reminder of why it is important. When you have a purpose, you can adjust your aim along the journey until it is fulfilled. It will keep you motivated and interested instead of puzzled and lost.
Accountability from friends, family, and your audience is another tremendous factor. Begin sharing your efforts with the people in your life and be consistent. Accountability works in your favor in two different ways. First are the people who expect something from you and will serve as a reminder to your mission. Second is the mere thought that others are depending on you, even if it's not as extreme as you perceive. Combined with your purpose, this is a three layer motivator to keep moving. You are responsible for your own success or failure towards your purpose, but that doesn't mean you have to go it alone. The best accountability partners are those who will help when the road gets rough. When you've shown to have integrity to your followers, they'll almost always be willing to help you in return.
A good habit can't exist without persistence. Depending on the scope of your work, persistent effort could be applied daily, weekly, or monthly. The best results however are going to come from working day to day. It's the shortest cycle where we can work, rest, and have time for friends and family without being completely burned out and unmotivated. If daily effort is still becoming too stressful, consider reducing the amount of time spent each day or dividing projects into smaller parts. Over time, this will build a habit on auto-pilot, where it'll seem more natural to do the activity than not. Some argue this mental training takes three weeks, some say it takes over a month. Regardless, anticipate that you will continue daily until you have a solid work habit in place. There will be days where it's impossible to work towards your goal, so it's important to not let yourself slip for any longer than necessary. It's surprising how easy it can be to derail your progress. Just pick up where you left off at the next available opportunity. A good tool to have is a calendar that records what you've been working on each day and what you expect to work on in the near future, for much like your purpose mentioned earlier, it has a physical form.
Play to your strengths and use the right resources. If day after day you feel like you aren't making any progress, ask yourself if you're utilizing your time and resources efficiently. Chances are there is always something you can improve. Outsource trivial work, focus more on things that are making a bigger impact, and cut out what isn't working. Maybe you originally set out to become a great artist as a painter, but find that you enjoy sketching much more. Can you shift your purpose to be more in line with what you find meaningful? Just by putting in the daily effort, you'll discover more about yourself, your audience, and clarify what's important to you.
When is the perfect time to begin cultivating a habit to boost your creative success? Now! As cliche as it sounds, the sooner you begin, the sooner you'll start seeing results. If it takes three years of a daily habit to fulfill your purpose, then so be it. With no action, there are no results. There are no shortcuts, only refinement and improvement, both of which will become apparent with daily effort. Take what you've learned and don't lose sight of what it is you truly want.