We spend a lot of time strategizing and listening to other people talk about their dreams, so now it only makes sense that we give some fresh TLC to our own awesome selves. Read on and discover nine creative projects that can help you become your best self today.
Do you want to travel? Do you have a bucket list your dog has been using as a toilet somewhere in your apartment? Are there people you want to reconnect with but don’t know how without being a creeper?
The solutions to these problems and many more are laid out in today’s post so that you can move your dreams from inside your head to a visual medium where you can see and experience your goals and aspirations on the daily. So let’s get started!
1. Visual Bucket List
I’m sure we all have a bucket list, whether it’s floating around in our head or written down somewhere in our cluttered houses. But let’s take another look at bucket lists. They are so freakin’ important, man! Making a list of everything you want to do before you croak is a surefire way to get started on your goals.
Unfortunately, the typical pen and paper lists get stuffed into drawers, random shelves, and ultimately are not seen often. I love these visual bucket lists because they force you to come face to face with your dreams in tangible form.
If you use a jar, you could slowly pull out your dreams and work on accomplishing them little by little, or if you go for the idea on the bottom (my personal favorite!) then you can pull off your butterflies (or whatever you decide to use) and put them in your jar when you’re finished (each butterfly has an aspiration written on it). How awesome is that?
Credits (from left to right, top to bottom): 1. We Heart It; 2. Summer Bucket Sticks by Gerbera Designs; 3. My Life List by Have An Epiphanie!
2. Art journal
Art Journaling is getting huge! There are even books and magazines about how to art journal and finding workshops is becoming increasingly easier.
What is art journaling? It’s kind of exactly what it sounds like – a journal where you can write your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and accompany them with art. I’d say they’re usually heavier on the art side rather than the typical writing side, but who says you have to follow the rules?
There are some cool examples of how to do an art journal at Lil Blue Boo and Julie Kirk’s Notes on Paper. Lil Blue Boo also has lots of interesting prompts to get you started.
Credits (from left to right, top to bottom): 1. Lady Reynolds; 2. Lisa Cheny-Jorgensen; 3. Caitidid Designs; 4. Roben Marie-Smith
3. Where-I’ve-Been Map
I’m pretty sure everyone I know (and probably everyone you know…and probably everyone in the world!) says that they want to travel. Yet it also takes these same people (maybe even you) many years before they step foot abroad.
We need to change the way we think about travel!
If you haven’t gone to your dream spots yet, then maybe it’s time to make some visual representations of where you want to visit (and where you’ve been). The chalkboard ideas are something you can totally do at home with chalkboard paint (color in where you’ve been with one color and where you want to go with another…seeing the colors stacked against each other should help you visualize). I also like the collage idea. Make one framed collage of the places you’ve been with pictures from your trip and one in solid colors with places you want to go. Last, the scratch-off map looks so fun and visual-tastic. But in the end, make whatever you want.
As long as it’s on your wall, in yo’ face, and beckoning you to spend your money on plane tickets instead of McDonalds, then we’re good.
Credits (from left to right, top to bottom): 1. Buy at Dirtsa Studio on Etsy ; 2. Places on Earth by Oliver Jeffers; 3. Amy Crismer; 4. Buy at Uncommon Goods
4. Gratitude Cards
A Gratitude Card is basically a thank you card without a specific occasion. The research even says that sending a gratitude card makes you happier. So let me get this straight, you can send a card to a friend thanking them for kicking butt and you will feel happy, too? Score! It’s like when you were five and you gave your friend a present at their birthday party and received a goodie bag full of bubbles and candy in return. Ah the good ol’ days.
5. Dreamboard or Collage
A Dreamboard is basically a collage on a mission. Cut out and stick on anything that aligns with your dreams or goals for the year. Hang it where you’ll see it often and use it as a visual way to see your goals on a daily basis. On the other hand, just plain ol’ collaging is really therapeutic and spending a couple hours on it will make you feel more free (sounds like a long time, but it goes by fast because you’re in the “flow” stage).
In high school and collage, I used to make huge, 6 foot tall collages on cardboard with my own pictures, paint, memories, quotes and anything that meant something to me. I always hung them above my bed and loved the constant reminder of things that made me smile.
6. Mixed Media Madness
This is probably my favorite way to do art and when I’m not doing graphic design or photography, I’m likely doing this: mixed media. Walk around your house for 5-10 minutes and look around for any little, odd, memorable, or interesting things you might be able to use in an art project.
Of course you’ll have your typical supplies already handy like paint and glue, but what I’m talking about are things like unused light switch covers, nails, receipts that have gone through the wash, small toys, old book pages, beads, old game controller buttons, the extra buttons that come with clothes, anything that you can use. And then? Just make something. Easier said than done? No, really, it’s not. This doesn’t have to be beautiful. You’re not going to hang it in a gallery (unless you want to!). This is for you to exert creativity by thinking about the world and your surroundings in a new way. Just have fun, that’s the whole point of this, isn’t it? 🙂[Bonus points! Start looking around everywhere for little trinkets you can use…flea markets, parks, starbucks…in the essence of Shakira, “Whenever, Wherever.”]
7. Journal + Respond
In college I was lucky to be part of a class and organization that integrated this into its curriculum. Basically, you write or type a journal entry, then give it to someone else (preferably someone older, like a mentor) and they read your response and respond to it. They don’t have to write a journal to you unless you want to do it that way. But writing down your stream-of-consciousness thoughts into a page or two every week or so is hugely therapeutic for you and will also give you great advice and a fresh perspective from your journal mentor. Another idea? Ask people you know who are doing the things you want to do and write to them.
But don’t confuse this with FAQ 101. This person isn’t supposed to be your dictionary for how to get ahead. They’re supposed to read your genuine journals about your recent life and aspirations and then help you clarify them into something that makes sense.
This last one may seem like sort of a cop-out on my part, but it’s so true. In many ways, art is a meditative experience where we are letting go of a piece of ourselves and letting it exist on a canvas or other medium.
I say “letting it exist” because art can be very personal, and often when we make something with our hands, a piece of us that once existed in our spirit now exists in our art. Certainly, it can still exist within us, but it takes courage to be willing to give that piece of ourselves up for the rest of the world. The point? Just make something…it doesn’t have to be great. What you’ll get in return is more important than how good what you’re making is.
What is your favorite way to explore your creativity? Let me know in the comments below!