Creative Habits

by Nina Meehan

We all know that habits form our day to day lives. In the end, we are just a sum total of our habits. So, if we want creativity to be a part of our daily lives, it has to become a habit. 

According to James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, “You do not rise to the levels of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems…Your goal is your desired outcome. Your system is the collection of daily habits that will get you there.” 

So, if you have a goal of infusing creativity into your day to day, we have to look at systems. The systems have to actually work for us, not against us, which means they have to be easy and enjoyable. 

When I set a goal of bringing more daily creative play into my world, I definitely made the mistake of thinking that setting the big goal was going to be enough to make it happen. 

I love creative play…dancing, singing, visual art, storytelling, games…all of these feel very comfortable to me because I’ve been fortunate enough to have creativity as part of my work life for the past 20 years. I didn’t think it would be hard to just bring more of that into my day to day life. But, I didn’t have a system for making it happen. So, it didn’t happen. And I got frustrated at myself.  

It wasn’t until I started creating systems of small daily habits that I actually moved towards my big goal–and, in fact, the big goal became irrelevant.  

Here are the systems that I built in that allowed me to start achieving this goal:

  • Listen to music when I’m cooking, dance while cooking
  • If something with a beautiful color catches my eye, I take a picture, no matter what
  • If all three of my kids are in the car with me, play a song that we all like to sing along with
  • Keep gel pens and paper next to my computer and doodle when I start to feel antsy
  • Make up a story with my daughter every time we go on a family hike

All of these systems helped create small daily habits that have brought me a lot of joy! What systems can you create to lift up daily habits for creativity? Keep it simple! Make sure it feels good!