Creative, Life

30 Day Challenge – Creating a Habit

For the past 3 years, my ukulele Mo has been my main squeeze. The problem is I’m not a great musician. Of course, with 3 years of practice I can eek out “Over the Rainbow” and the obligatory few folk and Twenty One Pilots songs, however my general ukulele playing could use some work. Therefore for the month of August, I worked on creating a habit: practicing every dang day.

First off, Making the Time

The problem with starting something new is that it’s very easy to trick yourself into thinking you don’ have time. I have time. I set an alarm for 6pm–a time when I’m usually not working on anything and have found an excuse to turn on the tv or get lost in YouTube– and spared 15 minutes for scales, arpeggios, and chord progressions.

Secondly, Mixing it Up

If you’ve ever taken music lessons, you know that it comes with a lot of repetition. It can be a cause for many to quit. To avoid getting frustrated with doing the same thing every single day, I changed what I did each day. This made it much easier to actually look forward to practice.

Rewarding Myself

What’s a mindful way to reward yourself for making it to 15 out of 30 days aka half your goal? Doing something directly related to your goal. In addition to the dumpy beginner songs I’d been going over, I headed over to Dodie Clark‘s channel and started teaching myself to play one of her songs. The reward? Being able to actually play without too many awkward chord changes or pauses.

Adding more time

Shockingly, by the time I reached day 7 I was already adding on a few extra minutes out of a desire to keep going rather than happily setting aside my ukulele and getting back to taking a break. By the end of the month I was at 45 minutes and enjoying it.

Marking off the Days

One of the greatest motivators—besides the obnoxious and loud alarm— was seeing the calendar days get marked off one by one after I completed a day.

Conclusion?

When creating a habit, starting with a softball can do wonders. I wasn’t losing much by re-starting to teach myself an instrument I already knew plenty about, BUT I am ready to move on to the next thing (and keep at this one!)

On the note of 30 day challenges and keeping to it, Kathleen and I are hosting a Creative Q & A on Instagram next week. If you’re not on Instagram don’t worry! Comment on this post or email either of us with your questions and we’ll answer them September 5-9!

Talk to Me!