Creative Habits – EP 298

Your creative habits are the small things you do today and every day that will determine the results in your art practice next year. If you want something different in your art practice a year from now, start paying attention to the creative habits you practice today. On this episode, I want to focus on how celebrating small wins can rewire our brains for a healthier and more productive art practice.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:16] Understanding habits and Growth Studio shoutouts
  • [5:40] Baby steps for long term-leaps
  • [9:36] Celebrating the small wins
  • [11:52] Rewiring your brain for a better art practice
  • [15:58] Turning down your inner critic

See how far you’ve come

There is often a gap between where we are in our art practice and where we want to be. If you feel this way, chances are you’re making way more progress than you actually realize. When challenges arise in your studio, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and feel like you’ve only come as far as your last baby step. However, if you take the time to step back and recognize where you started from, you’ll gain a new appreciation for how far you’ve come. Consistently showing up and taking the next best step forward is how we grow! When we discount our daily progress, we fail to recognize the compounding effect of each baby step we take. The first step to developing good creative habits is learning to recognize our progress.

Celebrate ALL the wins

How do you define a moment worthy of celebration in your art practice? So many artists delay experiencing the joy that comes from making art until they feel like they deserve it. For some, that’s not until a painting is finished. Others may wait until their work is finally hung in a gallery and sold. And while all of these things are worth celebrating, they are far from the first. It’s not enough to simply recognize your progress. You have to acknowledge and celebrate it. All of it. Did you clean the paint brushes last night? Celebrate! Did you mix your colors well today? Throw a party! Every win is worth celebrating, no matter how insignificant they might seem. By learning how to celebrate all of your wins, you are training your brain to recognize and acknowledge your progress.

Get happy

In order to form healthier creative habits, you need to understand our brain’s relationship with dopamine. Often labeled as the “happy hormone”, dopamine is one of the primary drivers of the brain’s reward system. Our brains are supposed to release dopamine when something positive happens. However, if we’re only focused on the negative aspects of our art practice, we’re creating a dopamine deficiency. We become less motivated to show up to our studio. If we do show up, we can’t concentrate. And if we actually manage to produce something, we hate it. That’s why it’s so important to get into the habit of celebrating all of our wins! The more we allow our brains the space to recognize our progress and “get happy” about it, the more we want to make progress and be happy. Listen to this episode for more on developing healthy creative habits!

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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