January 1, 2018

An innovator’s take on the 30-day challenge will exercise your creativity

Have fun with your New Year's resolution with this D.C. entrepreneur’s ‘workout’

Monica Kang is the founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox. Photo courtesy of InnovatorsBox

Editor’s note: We shared this unique challenged at the start of 2017—any takers? It’s never too late to try, which is why we’re issuing the call again. Happy New Year!

New Year’s resolutions are no fun. Too many fall into the restrictive, “don’t eat this” and “can’t have that” bucket. Here’s a resolution, recommended by Washington, D.C., innovator Monica Kang that will kickstart your creativity and lead you to think differently about problem solving—in your personal and professional life and in your community. Consider it the 30-day workout for your spirit.

Kang is the founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox, an education startup that’s building “a community for leaders to unleash their creativity.”

We sat down with her to talk about how community leaders can integrate creativity into their work. Here’s her recommendation for a New Year’s resolution, edited for length and clarity:

Challenge yourself to be consistently creative

I would encourage people to start with at least setting either a 30-day goal or a 60-day goal of doing whatever that is that they call creative, at least 5-10 minutes, every day. I say this because regardless of the medium you chose—whether it’s painting, doodling, taking walks, listening to music, writing, sketching, meeting people in a creative way—when you do it consistently, you learn to be more open and permit yourself to be in that zone regularly and then build it as a habit.

And I challenge people set a period where you can make it consistent so you can continually evaluate it and say: what worked for me? What didn’t work? How can I use this more regularly? What were the lessons learned?

Another great example, I’ve heard someone call it “the awesome jar,” where you write an affirmation, one thing you were excited about every day, and you put that in a jar, and when you feel bad you take it out and take a look.

Do something consistent, regardless of what that is. Because when you do, then it becomes a little easier each time, and then you have a milestone to keep track. If you need a buddy to be accountable, get a friend to do a 30-day challenge, or a weekday 30-day challenge. Keep track of it, but also measure how you feel—it might be something like, how would I rate my creativity today? Put a number on it. See how that number changes up and down up and down. But the key is, finding small doses consistently, and really learning from that process.

– Monica Kang, @monicahkang, founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox

Margaret Myers

Margaret Myers is the editor of The Renewal Project.