In most cases, when you want to make room for something new, you have to let go of something old. If you want to update your wardrobe, you might consign or donate items in your closet that no longer fit or are out of style. If you’re moving into a new home, you may have a garage sale to get rid of furniture that you no longer need. There are even small, everyday instances in which you simply remove the old to make space for the new without even thinking. Before taking a trip to the grocery store, you might clean out your fridge and discard leftovers or items that have spoiled. Purging something old to make room for something new comes naturally to us in so many facets of our lives, yet we don’t instinctively turn to this practice when it comes to creativity.
Creativity is intangible – it doesn’t literally take up space like a new pair of shoes or a couch or a carton of milk. Even though you don’t physically have to make room for a great big piece of creativity, you have to make space for it mentally. Just like your dresser or fridge can become unbearably full, so much so that you can never find the right pair of jeans or marinade when you need them, your mind can become cluttered and creativity can get lost. It’s easier when you can physically see that you have so many throw pillows you can no longer comfortably sit on your couch. You know it’s time to sell or give away a few. However, when you’re dealing with something more abstract like creativity and making space in your mind, it can be more challenging to know when and how to clear things out.
Like New Year’s Resolutions or bikini season diets, spring cleaning is a bit arbitrary. There’s never a wrong or right time to define goals, commit to a healthier lifestyle, or clear out clutter in your life. While these annual milestones are somewhat trivial, they serve as good reminders that it’s important to regularly set intentions, practice healthy habits, and let go of something old to make room for something new.
For this month’s AOC Blog Creative Habit Challenge, do a little metaphorical spring cleaning. Actively find ways to clear your mind and make space for creativity. This could be as simple as shutting off your computer, powering down your phone, and allowing yourself to detach and decompress for a few hours. Maybe you just need a breath of fresh air – go outside and get lost in the beautiful spring weather. Perhaps you’ve always been curious about meditation, and now could finally be the time to give it a try. If your mind is feeling particularly cluttered and the thought of freeing your mind sounds paralyzing or impossible, you might want to dig deeper into your spring cleaning.
Over time, the buildup of stress or the pressure of the never-ending to-do list can really start to saturate your mind. In these instances, a simple walk around the neighborhood park won’t suffice – you don’t just need spring cleaning, you need deep cleaning. Carve out some time and space to ritualize the process. Grab a pen and paper, and physically free write or sketch whatever you need to release. Try to be as raw and honest as possible. Then, tear it up, burn it, or throw it into a nearby body of water – really let it go and allow your mind to empty.
Whatever mode or method you choose, don’t just clean out your house this spring. Clean out your mind and make space for creativity. Let’s continue the conversation – tweet me @AOCBlogGirl using the hashtag #AOCBlogCreativeHabit!
While I believe that each new day is an opportunity to start fresh, I think each New Year is a particularly poignant time reassess and reinvent. The first of the year is often filled with lofty goals and elaborate ideas for the months to come. I’ve set many intentions for myself in January that never came to fruition by December, but I don’t think this occasion is just a time to make plans you’re never going to keep. I still believe that the New Year is more than that.
In the last few months of 2015, the concept of focusing on the process as opposed to the end goal came up in my life repeatedly. By the third instance, I knew I really needed to pause and take in this notion. What would it be like to devote my attention to the process instead of the end result? As someone who has a very hard time being present and who is constantly thinking ten steps ahead, this sounded like a real challenge.
I began to journal some thoughts for the New Year from this process-based perspective. I immediately found myself concentrating on how I wanted to do things as opposed to what I wanted to do. For example, I want to exude more confidence in myself and my business, and I want to work on more projects that truly interest and inspire me. After establishing how I want to do things differently, the steps toward what I need to do to make them happen began to follow. At first it felt uncomfortable and a little scary to have more subjective ideas for 2016, but a tiny spark in me felt excited about the possibilities this approach could unleash.
As you write down or at least contemplate the inevitable New Year’s resolutions, I challenge you to shift your focus to the process instead of the outcome. Consider how you want to work rather than what you want to work on. Take time to discover the potential you might have in 2016 with this process-based mindset. Happy New Year!
We all have big plans for 2015, and we need somewhere to write them down and keep them organized. That’s why the best way to set yourself up for success in the New Year is to start with a new planner or agenda. I’ve used a number of different planners over the years in all sizes, layouts, and colors. I’ve also found that as my life has changed, my agenda has needed to change with it – from student to employed to self-employed – each has required a certain type of organization. However, the one thing that has never changed when shopping for a planner is finding one that is charming and inspiring. So, I’ve rounded up 5 perfect planners for 2015 to cater to all your scheduling needs. Plus, each planner is beautifully designed to suit your personal or professional style. Make 2015 the year you plan for success by organizing your time, tracking your progress, and dreaming big! Start the New Year with a fresh new agenda to write down your goals and aspirations for the year ahead!
1. THE BIG CALENDAR WEEKLY PLANNER, $24
Gain an outlook for the weeks and months ahead with The Big Calendar’s Weekly Planner. This hard-cover agenda with sweet floral watercolor design is sure to help you maintain an organized schedule in 2015! Includes yearly calendar, international holidays, notes pages, and monthly overviews upon request for no additional charge.
2. SARA PINTO WEEKLY PLANNER, $20
This Sara Pinto Weekly Planner is the most affordable of the planners showcased and features an assortment of three available patterns, including this unique and girly camo print. Includes three year snapshot view, monthly view, notes pages, weekly view, special days, future planning, and telephone/address section.
3. NINJ & NINJ WEEKLY PLANNER, $25
As a writer, I’m quite partial to this Ninj & Ninj Weekly Planner, which features a Shakespeare quote from a Midsummer Night’s Dream on the front cover: Though she be but little she is fierce. It’s also perfect if you’re petite like me! Includes 12-monthly weekly planning pages with notes section, 2015 and 2016 years at a glance, monthly overviews between each month, separeate notes pages, and storage pocket.
4. MAY DESIGNS AGENDA, $22
A friend gave me a May Designs Agenda a couple years ago, and I absolutely adored it. May Designs agendas are completely customizable – the planner pattern, monogram shape, typography, colors, and inner pages. If you want an agenda that absolutely suits your style and organizational needs, look no further than May Designs!
5. SHE PLANS TO DO LIST PLANNER, $36
I splurged on this ShePlans agenda for the New Year. If you know me, you know I’m a major maker of to-do lists, so this was the perfect planner for me to kick off 2015! Includes A LOT!
• Colorful laminated Monthly Tabs
• Notes Pocket in the back of the planner
• National holidays on both weekly & monthly pages
• 10 pages of notes (including a specific tab for notes) at the back of the planner
• A User’s Guide – great information on how I use my To Do List Planner
• Important Dates & Personal Goals for 2015, by month
• Gift Giving page to jot down ideas as they come to you throughout the year
• Holidays & Observances at a glance for 2015, 2016 & 2017
• 2015 & 2016 calendars at a glance
MONTHLY SPREADS include
• inspirational quotes & space to reflect upon those quotes
• large format calendar for maximum writing area
• national holidays
WEEKLY SPREADS include
• My MASTER LIST of things to do
• Monthly “at a glance” calendars for previous, current, and next month
• Moments that make this week special section to reflect on the week with gratitude
EACH DAY includes
• Today is Special section to note birthdays & celebrations
• Appointment times from 7:00am – 7:00pm
• Evening Plans for meal planning, late night practices, or anything you’d like to accomplish at night.
Please note: In order to celebrate the holidays with her family, Ashley (owner of ShePlans) only has printables available Dec 20th-28th. All planners will be available for sale beginning on the 29th. Ashley is awesome to work with, so feel free to send her a message if you need additional assistance purchasing your planner.
We are well into the third month of 2014 – have you touched base with the goals you set for this year? When the New Year comes around, we typically set out with a lot of ambition and expectations. In January, I urged you to set a goal to FEEL GOOD and LOOK GOOD in 2014 by making small changes in your everyday life to produce big results.
When the year starts to pick up, we often lose sight of the goals we set in January. Don’t get discouraged when life gets in the way! You can always check back in with yourself and your goals. What better time to do so than the coming of spring? A new season is right around the corner, and spring is a great time for renewal and reviving your 2014 goals.
Need a little nudge? I’ve got 4 ways to FEEL GOOD and LOOK GOOD in March!
Instagram Inspiration from Bethenny Frankel, DVF, Splendid, Elizabeth and James, and Home on the Runway