Making Magic: Turning Inspiration to Action

Making Magic: Turning Inspiration to Action

Ever feel a strong wave of inspiration or motivation but you're not sure what to do next? What about a deep desire to create, build something of your own, smash all your goals, and unleash your creative potential?

These are questions, fleetingly pressing thoughts, many of us have felt but often cannot solve for ourselves. One of the reasons we may have such a difficult time ever "solving", truly finding answers for these questions, is that we spend more time pondering than we do acting.

Hear me out, acting on things is something I find innately difficult. It's not that I don't set goals, know what I want, or feel intense bouts of inspiration. It's more that when the moment strikes, I find myself needing to plan, brainstorm, or think about what I want rather than feeling ready to jump on that momentary drive to make something happen. 

Getting started is hard. We often talk about this in articles, blogs, podcasts--I'm sure songs have even been written about it. But once you start, getting started again every day to keep the momentum going and create compounding progress is nearly impossible. Especially when you're following your heart on a passion project, venturing out to try something new, or just wanting to experience the beauty of allowing your creativity to take over, all of these journeys require a lot of self-direction and even more discipline. Notice the word "motivation" is not mentioned in the previous sentence. It's not that motivation isn't important--in fact, finding ways to increase motivation is crucial because it allows us to change behavior, develop competencies, be creative, set goals, grow interests, make plans, and more. It's just that, after you've had an idea, or created a rudimentary plan,  discipline eats motivation for breakfast in getting things done and creating long term progress. 

Discipline tends to have harsh connotations, often evoking mental images of gritting your teeth, putting your head down, and just grinding out task after task. In years of both planning and execution, I have pleasantly discovered that discipline doesn't have to involve any of these in order to create amazing progress and make your dreams a reality. There is a way to channel soft, flowing energy and still harness the power of discipline to bring even your most creative and lofty goals to fruition.

I have found that discipline is more about being strategic and setting up the right systems to win your day. I share this less as a personal discovery and more as confirmation that the tools at our disposal are truly valuable AND viable. Many of these habits and system of habits center around taking care of yourself first and addressing the mind's natural propensity to wander and get distracted. 

In building the systems that worked for me to channel in focus, drive action, and create compounding progress, I have found the following things immensely helpful:

  • Focus on building small, consistent habits rather than trying to achieve big, dramatic changes. Habits compound over time, so making tiny improvements each day is more effective than occasional major efforts.
  • Make your desired habits as easy as possible to do. Reduce the friction and barriers to starting a habit. For example, place your running shoes by the door to make it easier to go for a run.
  • Use the "2-Minute Rule" - commit to doing a habit for just 2 minutes per day. This helps overcome the barrier of getting started. Once you've started, you often end up doing more.
  • Stack new habits on top of existing routines. Pair a new habit with something you already do consistently, like doing 10 squats after brushing your teeth.
  • Create a habit ritual by specifying when, how, and where you will perform a habit. This creates a specific plan that is easier to follow through on. A great example of this is making a habit of sitting in the same spot, making a cup of tea or coffee, and lighting a relaxing candle every time you plan to work on writing your book or adding to your art portfolio. Creating a ritual sends your mind and body cues that an action is going to take place, which in turn further reinforces the positive routine.
  • Track your habits visually, such as using a calendar to mark off days you complete your habit. This provides momentum and feedback.
  • Optimize your environment to remove temptations and triggers for bad habits. For example, hide unhealthy snacks or uninstall distracting apps.
  • Celebrate small wins and be patient with yourself. Building habits takes time, so don't get discouraged by occasional slip-ups. Make a celebration list that outlines all of the ways you could treat yourself, from small wins to huge ones. This could include having a solo date, getting yourself a coffee and going window shopping, treating yourself to a new perfume, or anything that makes you feel cared for and pampered.

Remember, everything you need to start is already inside you. The universe has your back, now get out there and create.

Evoke your best epoch, with Ephoque.

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