A Blank Canvas

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There’s a certain thrill in transforming a blank canvas into a work of art. The process of playing with colors and textures to turn an empty page into something wonderful is exhilarating. It doesn’t matter if I’m painting solo or attending a class with friends where an artist is guiding me through the process, painting brings me joy. Oh the possibilities!

That’s the bright side! There is also the flip side, where a blank canvas can be daunting. With unlimited options possible, and a blank canvas staring back at me, sometimes I’m at a complete loss as to where to begin and what to create. That first dab of paint on the canvas seems critical, and yet the first dab will surely be covered up.

Those blank canvas moments can be paralyzing.

The trick to creating an amazing canvas is getting started. I‘ve heard about artists who have chucked a cup of coffee at their canvas just to open the floodgates of creativity. The truth is you have to do something – anything!

If you really pause and think about a new year it can feel much like a blank canvas. Imagine the possibilities. Your year can literally be anything you want it to be! Knowing where to begin – that’s the challenging part! Are you like most people? Do you mindlessly enter a new year never taking the time to consider intentionally where you would like that year to take you? How you will craft the year that you long for? What big improvements are needed or what simple changes would make a huge difference?

The beauty of your year is set in motion when you imagine what the year could be.

What’s possible for you in 2019? Here’s how to create a year that’s a work of art:

1. Start by Dreaming

Dream big! Brainstorm. Capture your ideas on paper. This is not just about fixing your bad habits or setting the world on fire with your professional accomplishments. Be thorough and consider all areas of your life: Relationships, Finances, Career/Purpose, Health/Well-being, Emotions, Growth/Intellect, Fun/Relaxation, and your Spiritual Life. How would you like to grow in each of these areas? What are the possibilities? What has God put on your heart? Remember, this is a process. Write it all down. There will be time to weed out the crazy ideas and prioritize later.

2. Evaluate

Think over the previous year. What worked? What didn’t work? What needs to change? What do you need to eliminate? You may wish to contemplate this for the same eight areas you dreamed about in step 1. What new ideas do you have to add to your dream list?

3. Get Picky!

Pick your top ten favorite ideas from your dream list and/or your evaluation list and visualize how these changes might play out in your life assuming you are successful. Are they the best fit for you? If so, prioritize your ten favorites to determine the order you would like to go about incorporating the “new” into your life. Then get specific about what action steps will be necessary in order for you to get where you want to be.

If you come to the conclusion that one of your favorite ideas is unlikely to make a positive difference, go back to your list and select a different option. Give yourself the freedom to try some things that might not stick and enjoy the process.

Remember…you can’t change everything, so be picky and change something!

4. Measure!!!

Whether you stick with your 10 favorites or decide to make 3 of your favorite dreams a reality, you will need to establish how you will measure your progress. For example, if I want to be more organized in the coming year, one way I can accomplish that is by spending 30 minutes three times a week organizing. I can easily track the hours I organize on my “to do” list, calendar, or dot journal.

If my goal is to read 25 books in 2019, I will want to set aside an hour a day to read, and track my hours.

Whatever you are attempting to make happen, you must figure out how you will measure your progress so that you can are on track to reaching your goal.

5. Set Deadlines

After narrowing down your focus for 2019, and establishing how you will measure your progress, it’s time to set some deadlines! Will your goals demand that you do a specific action every day, every week, or each month? Will you need to have that book read by the end of January? Do you need to reach a certain milestone by the 4th of July?

Deadlines will keep you moving forward and help you avoid getting lost in the details. And if along the way you accomplish your goal before your deadline, awesome! If you discover you were over ambitious, adjust your deadline, and keep pursuing your goals.

6. Buddy Up!

Once you have a plan in place, ask someone to regularly check in with you to see if you are sticking with the plan you created. This is the secret to success! It will motivate you, speed up the process, encourage you, help you see the progress, and keep you engaged in the process.

In order to make your dreams a reality, you will have to take some risks; sometimes big risks. Having someone in your corner in those moments is priceless!

Your accountability buddy needs to be a strong person. There will be points along the way that you will want to quit. Pick someone who won’t let you abandon your plan! If you don’t have a buddy who can walk you through this process, consider working with a coach; someone who is committed to helping you make the changes you desire and able to help you overcome the beliefs, fears, and habits that hold you back.

7. Celebrate Your Successes!

Don’t save the celebrating until the very end! Celebrate each and every mini mile stone in a fun and meaningful way! And if possible, celebrate with someone!

2019 is a brand new year full of possibilities – a chance of a lifetime for you! And your steps towards a better 2019 will inspire those around you and challenge them to start filling in their own canvas with brilliant colors and textures.

How would you like your life to look at the end of 2019? What steps do you need to take to create that work of art?

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Bplanet

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps clients expand their possibilities—and become the leaders God made them to be!

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