Here’s What You Really Need In Your Creative Life

It’s the beginning of the year, which means New Year’s Resolutions are flying left and right. But no one ever really keeps their Resolutions, do they?

I used to make New Year’s Resolutions when I was growing up. Every year I’d sit down on my bed with my notebook and my favorite pen and I’d write out all the changes I wanted to make in the coming year: Exercise. Write more. Stop fighting with my brother.

Every year January would come and go, and so would my resolutions.

That’s the thing about resolutions—they don’t work.

They don’t work because making a resolution is essentially trying to resolve something about yourself. But there’s nothing to resolve. You’re perfect exactly as you are right now.

Sure, you might want to be different and maybe you will be someday.

Right now, though, you are who you are. You should embrace it.

Balance Is What You Really Need

You can resolve to change things all you want to. But unless you’re taking action steps to make it happen, it’s never going to.

The main problem could also be that you’re chasing resolutions you don’t really care about.

For example, maybe you want to resolve to stop complaining. You complain too much and you feel really negative when you do, so you want to change that. But the thing is, complaining is a part of life, and sometimes it’s the best way to relieve stress. What you need maybe is not to give up complaining, but to have a more balanced relationship with complaining.

When you have balance, you don’t need to make resolutions because you’ll finally see how simple it is to make changes in your life without having to resolve anything about who you are.

To continue with the example, if you wanted to have a more balanced relationship to the act of complaining, you could achieve it by only complaining for a certain amount of time, like 5 minutes a day. The rest of the day you would be complain-free. (Morning Pages are a great tool for getting your daily complaints out. Just saying.)

Here are three steps to help you achieve balance in all areas of your life:

1. Detox

Fresh off the holidays is always a great time to detox. And not just with food (although that can be seriously helpful too).

It’s time to detox off the things that we indulged in a little too much over the holidays: watching too much TV, spending money we didn’t really need to spend and skipping our writing sessions.

You’re not alone. We all forgo things like our writing when the holidays come around because there are so many other things to do, like spend time with family and friends. Detoxing is a great tool for getting back to the things that matter to us.

When you detox, you remove toxins. For example, if you’re on a sugar detox, you would avoid eating sugar for a set period of time, allowing your body to get back into a more natural rhythm (I don’t know about you, but I definitely eat a ton of sugar during the holidays, and by January 1 my body is aching for me to avoid sugar).

I highly recommend detoxing on not only the food you’re eating, but on other toxic behaviors that aren’t good for your creativity, like watching too much TV or skipping your writing session.

In order to detox on something like watching too much TV, you would avoid watching TV for a set period of time (like a week or two), and fill the TV-watching void with activities that are nourishing to your creativity, like reading (or writing!).

Action Step: Choose something you feel overindulged with lately and detox from it for at least 7 days.

2. Create Gentle Boundaries: Do What Works For You

When you come off of your detox, you’ll be feeling one of two things (or possibly both things):

  1. Give me back my damn “whatever-it-is-you-detoxed-from”
  2. Amazing–I’m never touching what I just detoxed from ever again

I’m currently on a 7-day sugar detox. Right now my body is feeling several things, including a screaming voice inside that says “I need something sweet!” Instead of curbing that voice with sugar, I’m eating sweet foods in my diet, like sweet potatoes, coconut milk and honey.  The voice that wants the sugar will dissipate as the detox rolls on.

When I reach day 7 though, I don’t plan on introducing sugar into my diet again. A big goal for me for this year is to come to a more balanced relationship with sugar. For me, that means mostly keeping it out of my diet except for very rare occasions.

But for you, it could mean something else. It all depends on what you detoxed from.

If you detoxed from watching TV, I’m sure you’re not planning on going the rest of your life without watching TV (or maybe you are). But by detoxing, you’ll have the distance you need to come to a more balanced, healthy relationship with the detox item you tend to overindulge in.

I’m a huge movie fan and I also love watching the Food Network, so I couldn’t ever see myself giving up TV watching completely. But I do find myself watching too much TV on occasion, when I could be doing other activities I’d like to find more time for, like reading.

That’s what I mean by do what works for you.

Life isn’t about doing what everyone else is doing or doing what others want you to do. It’s about finding the balance that works best for you and maintaining it. This is true for everything in your life—exercise, creativity, writing, family, friends, etc—not just for food.

Action Step: Set some healthy boundaries around the item you detoxed from in step one. (Step three will help you do this even further.)

3. The 90/10 Principle

I have 5 principles of balance that I live my life by and that I teach to my clients and here on InkyBites. Principle number 4 is eating 90/10: 90% of the time, eat healthy; 10% of the time eat whatever you want.

The 90/10 principle can also work for the things in your life that you sometimes overindulge in. For example, I could choose to create a 90/10 relationship with sugar. That would mean 90% of the time I’d avoid sugar and only eat natural forms of it, like honey or maple syrup. Then 10% of the time I’d be allowed to eat sugar, like at dinners with my family when my aunt makes her amazing cookies.

Same goes for TV: 90% of the time your TV is off and you use other forms of entertainment, like reading, exercise or listening to music; 10% of the time the TV is on so you can watch the shows you really enjoy.

Action Step: Begin a 90/10 balance with your detox item. Track how it’s going and adjust where needed.

Creating balance in your life is more important for you than for most people, because you’re a creative person and a writer. Creative people have it a little tougher than most because we also have to juggle a creative practice on top of everything else we do in our lives. That in itself is a huge challenge.

But when you make time to detox from overindulgences and create gentle boundaries to live by, you’ll set yourself up for a much happier, healthier creative life (and life overall).

Something I spent a lot of time on during my holiday break was digging deep into what I want InkyBites to represent. I discovered that from here on out:

I want to be a stand for creative entrepreneurs (ie: writers who want to get paid for their writing) having happy, healthy, balanced lives, and earning an income from their creative gifts. I want to support them in shifting their food and lifestyle habits, so they can take themselves to the next level, and become the badass creative people they dream of being.

Happy New Year!

Share With Us

Because of this new stand and focus for InkyBites, I want to extend to you the opportunity to have a free Creative Jump-Start* session with me. I’m giving a handful of them away right now (a $97 value).

If you want one, just leave a comment below letting me know what your biggest health and creative business goals are for this year. On Jan 6, 2013 I will be randomly selecting 3 people from all the commentors to receive a free session. (If you’re selected, I will send you an email to let you know.)

*Creative Jump-Start sessions will take place over Skype, and consist of us digging into your big goal and how you can work toward making it a reality this year. Image courtesy of Murray Barnes

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