If only all of our habits were good ones. I mean, I could probably survive without ripping my nails on a daily basis or consuming an eight cup pot of coffee (by myself) before noon (nine), but what’s the fun in that? Now breaking these bad habits can be quite difficult. I’ve broken many terrible life consuming habits, but haven’t quite kicked my desire to rip nails or chug caffeine, and I don’t feel too guilty about it. Habits take a while to form and an even longer time to break. I’ll kick those habits eventually, but until that day comes I’m going to focus on the routines that are more feasible to defeat (hopefully).
Habits also exist in our work and I greet my comfortable patterns daily with a smile. I wouldn’t consider painting everyday is a terrible habit (in fact quite the opposite), but what I’m painting or where/how/on what...that’s what needs to be challenged. I think we can get into creative ruts where we create the same thing over and over again, not just because it becomes a habit and we’re good at it, but also because others enjoy what we’re creating. Kind of like musicians whose music we love. We get so accustomed to a certain sound that the second they make a new album where they experiment and go in a new direction, well, it’s hard for us as consumers to adapt to that change! As artists, we respect the courage it takes to makes changes because you risk disconnecting with some of your audience. But if we don’t challenge ourselves, if we keep producing the same thing over and over and over again, well, I think the art loses its lustre, and the artist misplaces their passion.
The changes don’t even have to be monumental. Small, incremental changes are so significant and not terribly painful to execute and commit to. If I compare what I was creating last year to right now, the change is evident, but it didn’t happen overnight. Those slow daily changes and risks have guided me here. It’s patience. It’s trusting the process. It’s breaking the habit slowly but surely. We get so comfortable in our daily lives that the thought of change sounds horrific and detrimental to our way of living, but maybe our comfort is equally detrimental?
Some food for thought.