Do you ever struggle to commit to habits as an artist or creative individual? For me, and from speaking with others, it's a common theme. You know what you should be doing, but you can't seem to find the time or discipline to commit.
As an avid reader and someone interested in psychology, I read James Clear's book Atomic Habits. I'd heard about it through podcasts and other sources, and it came highly recommended. The book essentially breaks down the step by step process of habit formation, why we have habits, how to build them and how to break them. It's easy to follow, straight forward and was helpful in allowing me to implement the good habits and get rid of the bad ones.
I took one of the most valuable ideas in the book and applied it to music. I had ambitions to improve music production and spend many more hours on Ableton. For whatever reason, a day, a week or a month would pass by, and I just hadn't really got going and couldn't find the commitment to do so. After reading the book and using the tools James provides, I had a much higher success rate of sticking to a routine.
It's broken into two steps. First, there is what He calls the 'intention implementation', and the formula is simple:
I will [BEHAVIOUR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].
This formula can be applied to any creative pursuit. Photography, production, searching for music for your next gig, recording a mix, whatever. It may seem trivial, but the simple process of mapping out what you want to achieve and seeing it in writing cements it in your mind and allows you to know when and where you want to do something.
Mines read -
I will open Ableton and make a track at 8pm in my studio.
(I understand I'm lucky to have a small space I call a 'studio', but it can easily be your bedroom or a studio space you can hire).
The second step is what he calls 'habit stacking', and this is the one I found most effective.
The formula is -
After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].
There are things we do every day in life; Brush our teeth, go to work, make lunch or dinner, shower. These are the habits we complete automatically without much thought. These are the current habits you can build upon to implement the new practices and routines.
A useful one I found was -
After I finish my dinner, I will open Ableton and start a track.
Now, you might already be an efficient artist with your schedule in order and gets your work done autonomously. This article probably isn't much use to you. However, if, like me previously, you struggle to find the commitment and discipline to stick to your habits consistently, give these methods a go. It's a simple, easy and an effective way to clearly state your intentions and help you become a better, more
productive artist and creative.