The power of habit and community

I don’t know about you but I’ve noticed that many people these days want to lead more interesting, exciting and offbeat lives. It might be a phase or trend because everyone’s practicing mindfulness and addicted to adult colouring books - finding their inner Zen, but in my heart of hearts I hope it’s here to stay.

These people want something that is hard to explain. It’s not tangible or something you can physically grasp with your bare hands. It’s hidden in a place somewhere between old habits and dreams – a rich blend of creative courage.

Old habits die hard

Creative courage can be hard to find because irksome old habits get in the way. Mainly because at one point those habits were working incredibly well for us, so well in fact that we defend and fight to keep them alive, like growing apart from an old friend or a favourite pair of worn out trainers. So comfortable and familiar, yet no longer serving their purpose.

Switching on creative habits

Last year the 10 Day Switch was born. And for 10 days straight in December we sent out quick creative exercises to start shaping creative habits and building courage to form beautiful imaginative minds. Ok, so doing something for 10 days straight isn’t going to change ingrained habits immediately. But, it can be a boost to kick-start the formation of better habits.

During the 10 days everyone did their challenges individually - in their own space and at their own pace to fit in with their lives. We gave people the opportunity to share their day’s challenge on social media and here’s what I found really inspiring. 

‘The challenges gave me a real boost. That boost had a lot to do with your support and the support of others doing the challenges too, almost like I was being given permission to indulge myself with these little creative tasks. In a world which demands that so much of our time and energy is spent on practicalities and responsibilities it was a relief to not just be given the opportunity but being actively encouraged to just be playful’. Carla, Leeds.

The power of community

Sharing ideas to a group of like-minded individuals gave people inspiration, permission, playfulness, a sense of unity and they wanted to put more effort into their creations and ideas.  

The challenge was of course a bit of fun but seeing everyone’s ideas pop up on Twitter during different parts of the day created a unique creative motivation. People connected, liked ideas, commented, asked questions and collectively people were encouraging creative behaviours as well as building an open community.

‘Knowing that someone else was going to see my creative effort made me work that little bit harder and think about what I was doing. I think there is real value in sharing your work with other people. The act of talking about what you have done and getting feedback from people can really help to spark more ideas. I also enjoyed seeing what other people had done, especially with the drawing challenge. I took one look at the shape and instantly thought it looked like an ice cream, I couldn't see what else it could be. When I saw what other people had drawn I saw that there were so many other options I hadn't thought about.’ Laura, London.

7 ways a community can help shape habits

For those of you who like a list – I know who you are. I thought it might be helpful to sum up the 7 reasons why a power of a group can work wonders for your confidence and your creations:

1.     You feel accountable to your group

2.     You want to do your best

3.     You feel inspired by others

4.     You form new behaviours

5.     You’re open to feedback

6.     You’re surrounded by like-minded people

7.     You feel part of something.

A heartening experience

For me, chatting to other people who did the challenge was extremely heartening.  Many said they actually felt happier in themselves and noticed a ripple of positivity in other aspects of their lives. After all isn’t that what we’re secretly longing for? 

So if you’re working on a project, creating something for yourself or at work and need inspiration and motivation, remember to use the power of a group to give you a boost to lift your ideas.  

PS - The next 10 day switch starts in Feb.