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Does Discipline Have to Suck?

Creative? Chances are pretty good that you're rebellious too.

You might not rebel in all the stereotypical ways, but you very likely buck a lot of norms, and bristle when it comes to following rules.

That can be particularly true when it comes to your creative practices. Having other people tell you what to do, or even having a feeling of "should" around your creative practice, might just be enough to set off a rebellious response in you.

That rebelliousness might result in procrastination, in a feeling of frustration around your project, or just plain intractable stuck-ness.

If the experience of feeling like you have to do something leads to all that, what if there was a way to shift it? What if discipline could be about what you want to do, or what you get to do instead? What if discipline came from within you, and was all about what you actually prefer?

Because here's the truth: discipline can come in whatever form you want. It doesn't have to come from an outside source. It can be whatever you want it to be. And once it is, there won't be much reason to rebel against, will there?

Give this process a try and see if it helps loosen you up:

1. Pick the part of your project that feels most fun.

This can be anything at all. Just something that calls to you in your project, and a thing you'd like to try next.

2. Ask yourself what step you could take that would feel good to you.

The feeling good part is vital. What small step could you take that you'd actively enjoy? Identify it, and see how it feels. If you still feel resistance, pick a different step. The key is that the step feels small, easily accomplishable, and fun.

3. Make yourself a promise you can keep.

Promise yourself you'll do this step for one minute. Or immediately after your coffee. Or with a friend at 10:00. Any promise you feel sure you can keep, make that promise to yourself.

4. Keep the promise.

You can even do it immediately. Let's say you promise yourself to write for one minute. You could go and set a timer right now, write for the promised minute, and then be done. Voila, you've kept your promise to yourself.

Keeping promises to ourselves is a form of loving discipline, and it's a way to build confidence and self-respect. It teaches your innermost self that you can be trusted.

So give it a shot! And when you do, shoot me a line to let me know how it goes for you!

If having a container for your process feels helpful, why not join us for Co-Creation Time? Co-Creation Time is a free, hourlong online session that gives you the opportunity to do your creative work in a friendly, supportive setting. Come join us and see how it goes for you!

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