I found myself asking the above question after reading about Mike Winkelman’s commitment to create an illustration every day for the past eight years.
He’s been creating consistently for over 3,000 days—without breaking his daily routine.
Winkelman varied his tools from year to year. He also left room for inspiration to guide him. He’d start with a vague idea, and see where it took him. His commitment to creating didn’t change, but his process and work evolved over the years.
Numerous artists and thinkers throughout history have committed to daily routines to hone their skills and stay productive.
So I’m asking you the same question I asked myself earlier.
What is the one thing that you’d commit to doing each day for many years to come?
If you have a clear idea of what skill sets you want to work with, then you’re almost there.
If not, this is an invitation to explore this question, and see if you can do something each day that will bring you joy and express your truth and desires.
The thing that you do each day doesn’t have to be artistic. You can make a decision about anything you want to do, or learn.
As I contemplate this question, a few ideas come to mind.
- Write about daily experiences in a journal, or online
- Play a musical instrument
- Exercise (mixing up different intensity, resistance levels, and routines)
- Learn to cook a new dish
- Take a photograph (or video), and edit it to your satisfaction
- Draw, or paint, or create a digital illustration
- Write one page of a novel, or book
- Create a flower arrangement
- Compose music
- Write a song, or just one verse
- Write a poem, or a haiku
- Make (and drink) a smoothie
- Learn a language
- Meditate, or pray
- Knit, or sew something
- Do yoga, or stretch your body
- Learn a subject (history, physics, astronomy, accounting, or any topic you’re curious about)
These are just examples to get you started. The purpose of this exercise is to become aware of what we really want, and what we’re not clear about.
What are the skills we want to develop and work with? And what are the things we’re not too sure about?
The clearer we are about our desire for expression, the more likely we’ll be able to commit, and follow through.
I honestly don’t know what I’m committing to at the moment. I’m currently working on different projects that once done, I’ll have the mental space to clarify, and then commit to something.
A few thoughts about our choices and commitments that can be helpful as you decide.
It’s for you. This commitment is for you to express yourself. It’s not meant to meet anyone else’s expectations, or to try and catch up with what others are doing.
The simpler the better. I think keeping things simple and going with the flow will make it easier to commit and do the work. To begin, decide on the area of commitment, and determine one small task to do.
Remain open to possibilities. We can commit to an action, but allow ourselves enough room to change and grow with the process. If, for example, I start writing something, and then I veer into a different topic, that will be okay. It’s part of the evolution of the writing that’s being expressed through me.
Make time. This is the most important thing to consider when committing to anything. Do we have the time and energy to follow through? In most cases we’d have to let go of something else to create the space for this commitment.
There is no failure, only learning. Failing means that we didn’t meet certain expectations. In situations where we’re committing for the long run, everything is a learning and growth opportunity. If we skip one day, or we feel what we’re doing is not good enough, it doesn’t matter. All we need to do is pick up and keep going. Hands-on experience is the best teacher.
Share (or don’t share) your commitment, but track it. Some people like to share their work and results with others, be they family and friends, or online. It might be a good source of motivation. But for some, it can become a source of stress. I don’t think sharing matters, once you turn your choice into a daily habit. But I recommend keeping track of your daily progress. Tracking is an effective source of motivation and can provide valuable insight.
Repetition will turn anything into a habit. If you stick with something long enough, it will become a habit. Resistance will weaken, and your urge to do it will become much stronger.
Today I invite you to think about the one commitment. Pay attention to what keeps coming up for you.
What is it that you think about often and wish you could do it, or at least try it? What is the thing that you’d love to do every day, or at least most days?
You have within you what it takes to do anything you desire. I have full faith in you and the genius of life that is being expressed through you. No one is more capable, or deserving, than you.
I hope you give yourself a chance and either commit, or at least gain clarity about one thing you desire.