A new calendar year is an excellent opportunity to restructure, rebalance and reset. What creative breakthroughs, innovations, and victories did you reach in 2015? What would you like to accomplish in 2016? It’s important to survey progress and set both realistic and challenging goals for yourself. Here are a few techniques to stimulate creative energy and promote achievement in the new year.
- Keep an Idea Book
Don’t let a good idea escape you. Keep a small, unlined idea book on your person to collect doodles, scraps, scrawling and more. Maybe you think best in purple ink. Maybe you prefer a tidy page over a messy one. There are no rules! When you allow yourself a safe and open space to assemble and articulate your thoughts, you grant yourself permission for brilliance.
- Expose Yourself to Art
You don’t necessarily have to shuffle around a museum to get in the way of art. Creativity is everywhere, and it’s important that you’re absorbing and processing it. We learn and adapt from the strides taken by other innovators. Expand your horizons beyond your own medium or discipline. Catch a ballet, consider a symphony, stop by a coffee-house reading. The company you keep and the environments you operate within will undoubtedly generate new ideas and enhance your approach to making.
- Make a Think Space
If you don’t have access to a private office or a spare room, this can be as simple as setting up shop in a quiet corner. The key is to have a few square feet as a designated workspace. Keep a controlled environment, whether that means order or chaos. Identify how and where you work best, and put yourself there. Tape articles and blog posts to the wall, hang portraits of your idols, and stock your desk with a good pen, a puzzle, and a bright light. If you build a think space, ideas will come.
- Learn a New Skill
Learning, whether by taking up a new hobby or simply reading an encyclopedia entry, promotes the growth of new neural pathways. Learning literally keeps you young! Make a list of things you’d like to try this year. Scuba diving? Bread baking? Swing dancing? Find a class, read a book, and persuade a friend to join you. Stay curious. You’ll surprise yourself.
Here’s to a year full of discovery and excellence!