Creating a habit loop for Creativity

I read and I’m now re-reading 😊 a fantastic book on habits called THE POWER OF HABIT BY CHARLES DUHIGG. I am sure a lot of you would have read this book. Personally, I really like to read books that explore the reasons behind why we do what we do and how we can influence what we do, are we in control of what we do, or are we just floating with what happens with us? Do we really have any influence on our actions or is everything really pre-set in place? Complicated right? No, it’s simpler than we imagine it to be.


The main idea of the book has been the golden rule of — The Habit Loop. The Habit Loop is how habits are made. You first have a cue that makes you start the loop, then the routine (the “habit”), then some sort of reward. Habit loops are why we don’t have to think about how to brush our teeth, drive a car, or tie our shoes. The cool thing is our brains set up these habit loops all on their own. The bad news is that our brain doesn’t know if it’s setting up a bad habit loop or a good one. So, once you understand you can only make an intentional change for the bad or not so pleasant habits to affect what you are getting out of them, you either erase them slowly or you let them affect you even when you want to change them.


A simple habit loop -


1. Identify and be consistent in the routine

What do you want to do? Be creative, draw portraits, and make quilling art. At the start do it at the same time and make it a time you can always do it. Be consistent.


2. Identify experiment with the reward

The reward is what will keep our brains wanting more so make sure you know what it is. In creativity just like other habit loops, it’s the end result, has small victories, has small tasks which are completed quickly to be able to enjoy what you have been able to create. These are morale boosters and release the happy juices to your brain which enables your journey on being consistent. Well, a happy person would return to doing something they felt happy with right?


3. Isolate the cue

Want to start making origami tomorrow? You would have to put them at your desk stacked properly with any items of requirement and your journal/videos that help you create those joyous creatures. That way every time you are getting to your desk your brain will think it’s origami time or at least nudge you there 😊. You may set it for a particular time but the call of action from within is what you need beyond anything.


4. Have a plan

Repeating the loop consistently overtime is where real change will occur. Have a plan and be consistent. Rome was not built in a day and neither will your habits, so be at it.


For a good reference and repeat of what habit loop is — Below is a habit loop from Mr. Duhigg’s book which shows in one of the experiments conducted by Dr. Schultz, how a chimp understands that on doing a certain task he will be rewarded.


During the study, one interesting thing that was noted was an appreciation of reward as a response which came at the end of activity in the early phases of the experiment started dropping back and right at the start of the activity, the chimp was already triggered happy that he will be rewarded at the end of it.


Creativity habit loops

So, what could be our creativity-building habits? These have to be simpler and not arduous tasks to design for ourselves. So how do these habits help us? Creative habits are essentially our sparks of inspiration which help us feel more alive in how we think and bring more agility to our process of doing things. They can help and do deeply impact our day-to-day experience and mood.

Aye’ sailor now you are at the helm of your ship, time to steer it with the circle you saw above. We just need to engage in our creative endeavors one bit at a time -

  1. keep aside that time daily / weekly for it,
  2. keep a reward,
  3. keep a cue to do it
  4. and have a plan to get back in the loop


This would be one loop that you will cherish for life as you build something that would be happily yours and created with your will. I do believe this is possible, we create a lot of bad loops unknowingly, for once let us create a strong good one for ourselves😊. 

Happy habits and happy creativity y’all.