10 ways to start training your idea muscle again
Haven't written idea lists in years? Tried of the struggle of starting and stopping the habit? Don't make it a struggle. Just be okay if you fall off the writing bandwagon and come back on.
1. Don't beat yourself up.
The biggest thing is not to make the not writing the list into a drama in your mind. You didn't do it for a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade...that's fine. You might feel like your creativity muscle has atrophied. Or maybe you just haven't been using your creative problem-solving skills lately...no time like the present.
2. Go write.
It's what I'm doing now. Make an idea list. Or just create something. The idea list isn't the only way to make it work. Maybe you haven't been executing it consistently because you just haven't convinced yourself in its value. Maybe your version of the "idea" list is something different. When I was a kid, I used to bring a blank piece of paper into the bathroom every time I would poop. Silly, right? Well, this worked magic. It really did. Sometimes I would just doodle. Sometimes I would try to think of things to create. The important thing was I always had the space to do it. Every day. Maybe I should try this trick again and instead of scrolling on my phone, bring a blank piece of paper and a pencil.
3. Create consequences for yourself.
Tell your friend you will donate $500 to a charity of their choice or to them if you don't do X, Y, and Z. These real consequences will definitely increase your chances of success....or they just might make you $500 poorer.
4. Stop the doom scrolling.
It's the antithesis of your creativity, unless you can harness all that information you're consuming into digestible idea chunks and regurgitate it into something useful for your mind.
5. Frame your ideas around a goal you're excited about.
It could be a goal to become a flight instructor if you like aviation and are thinking of your next rating...or to get your newest promotion if you're climbing up the corporate ladder...it could simply be how to teach your son/daughter how to operate better in this world...having a meaningful service-oriented goal may help you find the purpose in your idea lists.
6. Read something on brainpickings.org
Then write 10 ideas about what you just read. You used to do this in high school all the time. You need to keep your writing muscle sharp.
7. Think critically.
Find an idea that everyone agrees with...and write 10 counter points to it. Do your best to make it make sense...this will help you in life.
8. Try to "habit link" your idea list.
Maybe to a morning cup of coffee? Maybe to an exercise or a meal? It could even be to a poop (see #3). If you link it to something you already do; this can help increase your chances of success.
9. Find an idea that excites you.
Read 30 minutes about it. Now try to frame your idea list around the ideas that excite you...having some emotional connection to the ideas will make it easier to complete.
10. Give yourself a break.
Like point #1, don't be too hard on yourself or you'll just perpetuate this cycle. Just do, be at ease and do your best to be of service with your ideas. It will all work out.