How to Form New Habits with Creativity

Have you ever found it hard to break old habits and create new ones? In this blog post, I'll give you a strategy to help you bust through your current habits and form newer, more productive habits.


Bad Habits neon sign

Taken from a Bullet Journal Morning Pages entry on June 22, 2020

Note: As with many of my journal entries, the main topic—in this case habits and creativity—can sometimes take a little while to get to. This is due to the actual creative process. Many times you're sorting things out as you write. That's part of the fun of it.

Habits and Persistent Consistence

It's nearly 1 p.m., I've read several segments in several books, including the third book in The Artist's Way series, Finding Water, and I'm reinvigorated to write Morning Pages again—at least for today.

I went to bed last night thinking I'd feel all energized and excited to play guitar and work on my tasks for today. Such was not the case. The day so far has been dreary, rainy, and very sleepy. It was all I could do to finish my reading without zonking out.

I finally got up and made a cup of coffee. We'll see how that does. Sip...aaaah. At least it tastes good.

I'm not sure how much actual work I'll end up getting to today. I know I want to watch a new webinar, so I may noodle around on the guitar while I watch to warm up for my actual practice session.

I've been trying hard to practice more. I even began a new practice spreadsheet from the guitar program I'm using, but I've already been slacking off.

The important thing is to allow myself to begin again and give myself an unlimited number of fresh starts instead of beating myself up for failing yet again. I've just got to bet back in the groove again—and it's not inspiration that will get me there; it's habitual persistent consistence. That's the key to growth and success.

Habits and Success

I still want to mix music, but lately I haven't been as enthused as before. It feels like I'm losing hold on what I should be doing with my life. I feel that, more than ever, I sense a pull toward becoming the best musician I can be. This feels like the key to unlocking the doors of opportunity that await me. Session work, course building, content creation, and more seem to be centered around leveling up my skills.

Not only virtuosity on guitar, but I also feel the nudge to start taking song/music writing very seriously. A big part of who I am is who I am when I'm creating songs, instrumental or lyrical. It's all a part of self-expression. I can't rely on mindless exercises to create new music. They're essential for helping me play what I hear and feel inside, but they're not the spawn of creation. Sitting down and actually creating is.

A big part of who I am is who I am when I'm creating.

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At the same time, the internal voices of doubt and "logic" creep in with thoughts like "You'll never make a career out of just playing. You've got to grind—research the market, do what successful people do, find as many role models as possible and emulate them, etc.," and so on.

On the one hand, the role model and emulation thing make sense. I mean, Jesus wasn't a music sensation, so how can I use Him for ideas in that area. On the other hand, we have the awesome privilege of the Holy Spirit to "guide us into all truth (John 16:13; 1 Jn. 2:27)." That includes success principles and strategies.

I love watching YouTube and social media for actually learning music, course building, mixing, marketing, etc., but I also watch it to look for ideas on how to present my own content. Maybe I'm taking it too literally, though.

Instead of thinking I should be following every "guru" and doing exactly what they do, how can I look at these ideas and say, "How can I apply these tactics and come up with my own strategies in a way that best represents my personality, beliefs, values, etc.?"

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Habit-forming Curiosity

I've been contemplating a "digital fast" lately. What if I took the time—let's say on my next vacation or even for a weekend—to ignore social media, take a digital fast, and focus on bettering myself and coming up with my own strategies?

If I develop a solid foundation of my own that's strong enough, I won't be tempted to be swayed by "every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14)" from other "experts." I'll be able to pick and choose what lines up with my own ideas and leave the rest without the feelings of guilt and missing out.

Most of my social media consumption can be contributed to one thing: curiosity. In the age we live, we can satisfy all our curiosities immediately and easily with the click of a button or the use of a simple search phrase. All I have to do is put my curiosity under subjection; not let my mind run away with itself.

In part, curiosity is a habit that must be redirected. In the book The Power of Focus, habits are seen as the underlying culprit of all actions. So when you detect an unproductive, unhealthy habit, it's time to exercise your dominion over the choices you make that feed such habits. Starve bad habits and nurture newborn good habits.

It's a constant struggle, mostly because old habits creep in subtly, always in the back of your mind. It's what you've always done in the past; that's why it's so hard to change. Habits seem to have a pull equivalent to emotional gravity; you can't escape it.

Or can you?

The Ultimate Productivity Tool

How would I create an anti-gravity chamber for old habits? Can Morning Pages or freewriting or mind-mapping serve this purpose somehow? All three feel like a kind of "reset button" for seeing a fresh perspective on things. Maybe the act of creation itself is an anti-gravity device. When in the flow state, you are seemingly floating through time and space.

In this way, creativity can be the impetus for change.

Creativity the impetus for change text image

When we create, we are developing and birthing new ideas. New habits can then be cultivated and formed to replace old habits. But the concept of a habit itself must not be overlooked—or underestimated. Habits require repetition. Again, persistent consistence. A task repeated over and over again, every day, preferably at the same time each day, is the way to develop a new habit.

When you think about it, habits are the ultimate productivity tool. Why? Because once you fully engrain them, habits become automatic, with little to no thought or effort on your part.

So when you want to create new habits or abandon old ones, press the "reset button"—write about it, draw it out, give your mind something visual to focus on. Most importantly, get creative!

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