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  • Serena Kramer

Unlocking Creativity Through Discipline: Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Your Artistic Goals

Updated: May 23, 2023

How can you develop discipline and stick to your goals even when you don't feel motivated or inspired?

Wall Graffiti that says "If you're reading this it's time for change"

Being disciplined enables you to achieve your goals and maximize your potential. It helps you concentrate on what is important and work towards your long-term objectives. Discipline also empowers you to overcome distractions that can hinder your progress. It involves making mindful choices, even when it may be challenging or uncomfortable. Boost your productivity, enhance your effectiveness, and create the habits and skills required to succeed in your personal and professional life by using self-discipline!


Four Big Tips for Improving Your Discipline and Avoiding a Motivation Slump

 

1. Clarify Your Purpose

The most important step in your progress is clarifying your purpose. Discipline isn't about being rigid or inflexible. It's about having a clear sense of purpose and using that focus to achieve your goals. Why are you doing what you are doing? Figure out what it is you want and why you want it. Let your reason guide your actions. This will create a clear vision.

As the famous saying goes: “Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

Example:

Let's say a musician wants to learn a new song on their guitar. They could ask themselves, "What is the purpose of learning this song?". The answer might be, "I want to improve my fingerpicking technique and learn a new chord progression." By clarifying their purpose, they have identified specific skills they want to work on, which will help them stay motivated and focused as they learn the song. This approach can also help the musician prioritize their practice time, by dedicating more time to the specific skills they want to improve rather than just playing the song from start to finish repeatedly.


2. Set Your Intention

When you set an intention, you are essentially making a commitment to yourself to take certain actions or behave in a certain way. Once you’ve set your intention, use the intention as a filter.


Example:

If a pianist's intention is to improve their sight-reading skill, they could use this intention as a filter for every practice session.


During each practice session, the pianist could ask themselves, "Is what I am doing right now helping me improve my sight-reading skill?" If the answer is no, they can adjust their practice approach to align with their intention. This could mean practicing sight-reading exercises, focusing on challenging pieces with difficult rhythms or tempo changes, or even working with a sight-reading tutor.


By using their intention as a filter, the pianist can stay on task and make sure that each practice session is working towards their goal of improving their sight-reading ability. They can also avoid wasting time on activities that do not align with their intention, such as mindlessly playing through pieces they already know well.


3. Create Structure

Instill discipline as a habit, not just as a means to an end. It's about creating a structure that allows you to flourish. Breaking down a larger goal into smaller, bite-size chunks of structured work can offer several benefits such as giving you clear direction, a sense of progress, flexibility in scheduling and prioritization, and it can create a sense of accountability to ensure that progress is being made toward the larger goal.

Example:

Learning Copperplate calligraphy is made easier by breaking it down into 8 basic strokes or shapes. By practicing these 8 basic strokes first, the right amount of pressure on upstrokes and downstrokes can be achieved. Next, small groups of letters that share similar strokes can be tackled, and so on. This approach helps to achieve small goals, see improvement, and stay motivated.


4. Confront Challenges

Ultimately, discipline is the key to artistic and personal growth. It requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to confront challenges head-on. So, how do you confront challenges?


  • Acknowledge the challenge. The first step to confronting a challenge is to acknowledge that it exists. Identify the specific area that you're struggling with and be honest with yourself about the difficulties you're facing. Got anxiety? Read this.

  • Break it down. (See Create Structure above!) Once you've identified the challenge, break it down into smaller, manageable tasks.

  • Embrace failure. Remember that failure is a natural part of the learning process. Don't let setbacks discourage you. Instead, use them as an opportunity to learn and grow.

  • Practice regularly. Once you’re in a daily routine working on your “thing,” you'll build the skills and confidence you need to tackle any challenge, persevere, and keep growing.


By cultivating discipline, you can enhance your productivity, elevate your efficiency, and establish the abilities and practices necessary for triumph in your personal and professional domains. But don't forget to take a break every now and then - after all, you can't spell 'triumph' without 'rum'!


Street graffiti that says: "Stop here, make a wish...go away...and make it happen"

 

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