4 Common Determination Killers And How To Prevent Them

By Nicole Tinkham

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Have you ever started your day with a burst of positive energy, ready to get amazing things done only to find yourself drained and unmotivated by 10AM? You then tell yourself that tomorrow will be different and the same exact thing happens and you find yourself in a vicious cycle of never really accomplishing anything at all. On a larger scale, this also tends to happen in the beginning of the year. We plan for a big, successful year and a few months in we find ourselves going right back to old habits. So the big question is, WHAT is causing our determination to accomplish these things to vanish and how do we stop it from happening? Read on for the answers.

1.    We focus on what isn’t working

In all honesty, it is extremely difficult to focus on the things going well or the things you want to see happen when everything is crashing down around you. And this will happen to you, we all experience moments of disaster. We like to think of it as a test to see if you really do care about your goals as much as you say you do. The tricky thing is, when we focus our energy on the negative things going on, we receive more negative things in every area of life.

The solution: Daily gratitude

Every single day write down or think about the good things you do have in your life and remind yourself of how lucky you are despite what may be going on. This forces you to look on the bright side and bring more positive things to you.

2.    We get stuck on the past

Why is it that we typically remember how badly others have made us feel versus the compliments we receive? Maybe it’s because the negative hits harder and it may cause you to start second guessing yourself. Even if you think you are over something that was said to you in the past, we bet you really aren’t. The next time you try to take on a big project you may begin to think “I’m not good enough for this”. This thought it coming to mind for a reason, because you’ve heard it in the past.

The Solution: Create new agreements

Flip that negative thought into a positive one and start telling yourself “I am skilled enough to take this on and so much more” even if you don’t believe in it just yet. The more you say this new phrase to yourself, the more you will believe it and the more you can achieve.

3.    We let everyday stresses get to us

It’s not just the big problems but the little things that wear us down every single day as well. It’s being stuck in traffic, oversleeping or getting into an argument with a co-worker. These things are draining and they also have the power to cause the rest of our experiences that day to be just as miserable.

The Solution: Take a break

Get yourself back in the right mindset by going somewhere quiet, closing your eyes and focus on your vision or goals. Remember why you are doing this. Sure it may be difficult now but picture yourself reaching your goals and how incredible that will feel. What you’re going through now will be worth it if you get your head back in the game and give it your all!

4.    We fear change

It is definitely not easy making a huge life change or even small changes, for that matter. The idea of change sounds incredible (finally getting that dream job or making a major move to your favorite city) but when it comes down to actually doing it, fear can stop us in our tracks. All of a sudden that amazing idea sounds like a bad idea all because we put too much thought into the bad things that could possibly happen.

The Solution: Embrace change

Instead of thinking what could go wrong, consider all the things that could go right. If you don’t go after it now, you never know what could have been. Sure, there will be some bumps along the way. There usually is when starting something brand new. But enjoy the new journey and keep looking ahead to future possibilities.

Isn’t it such a shame that we let these little things (like one thing someone said to us years ago) keep us from reaching our goals? It’s true though, isn’t it? We can easily feel so defeated by the end of the day. Preventing these determination killers really comes down to one thing, changing your way of thinking. You have to start seeing things in a different light and focus on the positive things in life. It’s the only way you’ll be able to move forward with your goals.

Tell us, what’s one thing you find that’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments!

May Goal: 6 Ways You Can Be More Generous

By Nicole Tinkham

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I always like starting a new month with an overall goal in mind to improve who I am. Every day I strive to do one small thing that gets me closer to that goal. For example, January was all about showing love to others. I had on my to-do list to compliment at least one person a day, reach out to an old friend just to see how they’re doing, help someone else out, and just to be friendly. Little things like that add up and make a huge difference. Plus as you do these things daily, they become a habit and you’ll start doing them anyway without having them on your to-do list. If you were to focus on one area of improvement every single month and just kept adding to it for the entire year, can you imagine how many different things you’d be really good at? It’s incredible what small tasks, done daily can produce. For the month of May, we’ll be focusing on being more generous. Read on for 6 ways you can be more generous this month, broken down into small manageable tasks that you’ll actually enjoy doing.

1.    Become a great receiver.

This may sound odd but hear us out. When you’re uncomfortable receiving (compliments, favors, gifts), you’re carrying around some sort of doubt. You don’t think you deserve these things. You may also feel that you don’t have anything valuable to give either. Work on your receiving skills to become a better giver. Here’s how:

Accept compliments. When someone notices you did something well, simply say “thank you” instead of mentioning the things you didn’t do well.

Appreciate gifts. Instead of turning them down, let the receiver know how much you appreciate the thoughtful gift. The more you receive, the more you’ll be able to give.

To do: Be aware of opportunities to receive this month and practice accepting them. You deserve these things and they will give you the power to start giving back.

2.    Give to a cause you’re passionate about.

The idea of donating money is always a great one but can often fall through the cracks when you realize that you may not have much to give. You have a big heart but no funds to make it happen. This month we’re focusing on the small things so here’s what we recommend you do:

Set a small amount of money aside each day for the entire month. If you start today with one dollar, you’ll have $31 at the end of the month. That’s a lot! Now think if you were to get a friend to join you this month, the two of you could double that amount.

To do: Choose a cause you’re passionate about and set an amount of money to save up each day.

3.    Give love.

I mentioned that January was all about giving love for me but the things I did in January could easily apply to becoming more generous this month. You can give love in many different ways. Here are 7 ideas so you can do a different one each day of the week.

Pay a compliment.
Call an old friend.
Set up a lunch date with a friend.
Smile and greet everyone you see.
Tell someone how much you appreciate them.
Offer to help someone.
Send a “just because” card to someone in your life.

4.    Give a small gift.

Little things go a long way. Choose someone this month that has made a difference in your life and find a thoughtful gift to thank them for all they do. Choose something based on what you know about this person but don’t drive yourself too crazy trying to find the perfect gift. You don’t want to go overboard either. Choose something simple. It could even be a candy bar! I like to browse Amazon for small gifts because I can find just about anything, have it sent directly to them and include a message.

To do: Choose a person in your life who deserves a small gift and keep your eyes out for a gift they would love.

5.    Embrace gratitude.

I start every morning writing down three simple things I’m grateful for. Sometimes we move through life so fast that we forget to stop and really think about what makes our lives so special. These daily things range from big (good health) to small (my husband cooking me dinner). Writing these things down helps you appreciate the little things and show your appreciation to others.

To do: Challenge yourself to write down one thing you’re grateful for every single day this month.

6.    Give your time.

We mentioned giving donations, love, gratitude, and gifts. Another way to give that we often forget about is our time. This could be volunteer work or helping out a friend. But I don’t recommend doing something just to say that you did it. Really consider where your passions lie, what skills you have, and where you’ll have fun. I truly believe that the more fun you can have with something, the more of an impact it’ll make plus you’ll be compelled to help out even more. If you love pets, help out at a shelter. If you’re an artist, teach your skills to others. Find something unique to you that you can really thrive in.
To do: Brainstorm different ways you can give your time. Do the research and see where you can help out. Pick a day to dedicate your time to and go out there and do it! Even an hour on a Saturday afternoon can make an incredible difference.

If there’s one thing you take away from this blog, let it be that small things make a huge difference. Don’t let this month of generosity overwhelm you. Remember that you have 31 whole days to work on your generosity. Your daily to-do list could include something as simple as calling a friend. It doesn’t have to take you all day to do and you don’t have to do everything all at once. Make it simple!

Tell us, do you have a May goal to become more generous? Let us know in the comments what you plan to do this month to make it happen!

5 Questions To Finding A New Art Medium To Work With

By Nicole Tinkham

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Are you a brand new artist and have no idea where to start? There are so many different mediums you can take up from colored pencil to acrylic painting. How in the world are you supposed to choose? Or maybe you’re an experienced artist who wants to experiment with something new. You’re so used to what you’ve been doing and don’t know where to go from there. No matter what type of artist you are, these 5 questions will help you figure out what art medium you should work with next. Read on to discover your path!

1.    What is your goal?

Before starting anything new in life (art related or otherwise) you must think about your goals. What do you plan to accomplish by getting started in a new art medium? Are you a brand new artist looking to explore different avenues of the art world? Or are you an experienced artist looking to try something new and improve your skills? Will you be selling your artwork, keeping it for yourself, or using it to expand your art portfolio? Think of all these things before making your decision.

2.    How much are you willing to invest?

When we talk about “investing” we’re referring to time, money, and space. Space may seem like an odd thing to consider but one of the most common struggles among artists is not having enough room for their supplies. Although, this doesn’t seem to stop artists from gathering more and more supplies 🙂 Before you jump into anything, look around your art studio and house. How much extra space do you actually have? Some projects will take up more space than others so you’ll either want to make room or choose your art medium carefully.

There’s also a huge difference in time spent between Zentangle doodles and an oil painting. How much time do you have dedicated to work on your art? The main reason why people get started in something new only to quit shortly down the road is simply because life just gets in the way. Maybe you have a goal to spend more time on your art and that’s fantastic! Just make sure it’s a realistic goal so you don’t become overwhelmed or frustrated when it doesn’t work out.

You also need to think about the money you plan to invest in your artwork. Many mediums require several supplies and if you’re serious about your artwork, investing in quality supplies is key. If you’re just playing around for fun on the side and don’t feel the need to invest in quality supplies, that’s fine too. You’ll just want to choose your medium wisely and budget for it. Trust us, there’s nothing worse than starting a project and not having the supplies you need to finish it!

3.    What pieces of artwork inspire you?

Whether you’re looking to get started on your art journey or just exploring a new medium, there’s most likely something that inspired you to do so. Think to the most recent piece that you thought was absolutely brilliant. Now do a little research on the artwork as well as the artist. Find out what medium and tools were used and any special techniques the artist did. If it inspired you to jump into something new, take that passion and do something similar yourself!

4.    Where do your skills lie?

If you are just starting out and are a total beginner, think about the areas in which you are strongest. Do you have an eye for color? Are you detail oriented? Figuring this out will help you choose a medium that you’ll be great at right from the beginning. This is important because as a beginner, it can be very frustrating if you just can’t seem to get it right no matter how many times you try. When you first start out, you want it to propel you on this journey, not hold you back.

We feel the opposite is true for experienced artists. You’ve already gone through the struggles of getting started and now want to learn something new. This is where you can really challenge yourself. Think about areas that you are weak in. This will give you an opportunity to grow. Remember, if you’re the best one in the class you’re in the wrong class. Keep learning new things to improve your skills.

5.    How do you learn best?

We always encourage artists to learn from others whether that be through various art books, DVDs, artist friends or an art workshop. When it comes to a totally new medium, please don’t just wing it! Start off on the right foot by learning from others. This will prevent a lot of frustration. Now the real question here is how do you learn best? Some people are more hands on and others rather read from a book. It doesn’t matter what type of learning you choose as long as it works for you. Think back to the last time you were trying to figure something out and sought outside help with. What did you do and how did it work out? Once you have this figured out, you can find which resources are available to you. This could influence which medium you decide to go with.

If after you ask yourself these 5 questions and still don’t know if you made the right decision on what art medium to work with next, there is one final question to ask yourself. Is this something you’re passionate about? Does this medium light your fire and excite you to get started? If not, you need to do some research. You may even have to play around with a few choices to get a feel for them before making a commitment. This is where having artsy friends becomes handy. Borrow some of their supplies to play with or take a quick art workshop. This should also be fun so don’t overwhelm yourself with the many options. Sit down and ask yourself these 5 questions to determine which medium you should get into next and leave a comment below letting us know which one you’ll be choosing!

How To Go With Your Gut When Making Big Decisions

By Nicole Tinkham

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Do you ever have a gut feeling that’s telling you to go after something big and exciting and then have your mind fight against it and tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it? Later on down the road you may discover that you really should have listened to your gut and went for it. You regret it after the fact when it’s too late. If you have ever in your life experienced this, read on because we’ll be talking about how you can use your intuition to make the best decisions that will change your life.

How do you know you can trust your gut instinct?

While your gut instinct may seem like a random decision making process to do something without considering the pros and cons, it’s actually not just a thoughtless act. According to psychologist Gary Klein, Ph.D, “It’s the way we translate our experience into judgment and actions.” We pick up on clues and patterns in our past experiences which help us make these decisions without having to do any sort of analysis. So really, it’s not all that thoughtless and random after all.

Most of your decisions are made based on your gut instinct

Think about all the little things you do on a daily basis without giving second thought. It’s probably more than you think. What you eat for breakfast in the morning, what you decide to wear, and what you watch on TV are all quick decisions you make daily. You don’t contemplate whether or not you’re making the right choice. You’re just going with your gut. So why is it so simple to do this yet so much more complicated when it comes to the larger decisions we’re faced with? Well, when it comes to the bigger life decisions, we tend to overthink things too much. But there are many benefits to listening to your instincts and taking action on them!

Why you should go with your gut

If you sit back and overanalyze every decision, you won’t get very far in life. Those things you would love to see happen most likely won’t happen because it means stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a risk. We like to override that gut feeling with the fear of failure. We think about it so much that we talk ourselves out of doing it completely because it’s scary. It suddenly becomes a terrible idea and we move on with our ordinary lives. But the best things in life happen when you take a chance and make a change even if it is a scary one. This is when listening to your gut comes into play. Sometimes you just have to go with what feels right even if you don’t fully understand how it’ll work out.

How to listen to your gut instinct

1.    To follow your intuition, you actually have to listen to it. Take some time alone to think things through. It’s important to do this totally alone so you’re not influenced by anyone else. Consider what you really want. Think about what your gut is actually telling you before you jump in and make any decision. Take time but not too much time on this because you can easily get into overanalyzing the decision. Give yourself a set amount of time (like a half hour) to think things over and make a decision.

2.    Can’t quite seem to follow your gut instinct in your current situation? Make a list of all the times you have listened to your gut and have been happy with the outcome. Did you feel good about the decision you made? With time, you’ll get better at going with your gut and you’ll see more and more positive outcomes. But until then, keep reminding yourself of what has happened in the past as a result of it.

3.    Continue to practice and work on yourself. You can get in touch with your inner senses by meditating and having a vision for what your ideal life looks like. Figure out what you really want and allow your inner intuitive voice come out.

Be careful!

Making quick decisions can backfire if you aren’t careful. As mentioned above, you do need to think things through before making a big decision. There is more to it than what you initially see. Think about your options without overthinking them so you don’t go into it blindly. Just be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.

Following your instincts can change your entire life. It can get you out of your comfort zone, help you discover your true passion, and live a happier life doing what you want to do. When we overthink big decision we could miss out on incredible opportunities. But it’s also important that you do reflect on what your gut is telling you so you don’t jump into anything blindly. Start listening to your gut instinct today even if it’s just on small decisions. Get used to it and strengthen that inner sense so you’ll be better at it when a big decision comes up.

You Can Be A World Famous Artist (or whatever else you want to be)

By Nicole Tinkham

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I don’t think I’m alone when I confess that it took me a really long time to figure out what it was I wanted to do with my life. In fact, I’m still trying to figure it out. When we’re young, we’re always asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and any answer you give is perfectly acceptable. You’re encouraged to dream big. But when reality sets in and you actually have to make this decision for real, you don’t get the same reaction when you respond with “To be a world famous artist traveling the world”. It’s not the norm and something that’s different scares most people. Maybe it’s the people around you trying to talk you out of doing something huge like that or maybe it’s you, not even allowing yourself to dream big simply because it sounds too crazy.

It’s simple to have the mindset of just surviving day by day, looking forward to the weekends when you get a short break and then getting right back into this routine of yours. By doing this you aren’t seeing the big picture though. You’re not really thinking about what this life has to offer or how you could make a huge difference in the world. You’re just putting your head down and trying to get by. Is that any way to live though? If you think about all the things you could possibly be doing right now, is doing this what you would choose if you didn’t have to worry about anything else? Listen, we all know life is way too short to not enjoy what we do but why aren’t most of us making any changes?

The big thing that comes into play here is fear. It’s the fear of failure, the fear of what others might say, the fear that you might actually succeed, and many more. But what if when you were born you were meant to do something very specific? Something that no one else could do quite like you. Something that you were destined to do and succeed in? It’s something you feel deep down in your gut but never considered (or are too afraid to) act on. You are robbing the world of your special skills by not stepping out to do it! You have the power to help so many people and actually enjoy and be happy in your life and you’re most likely doing nothing about it. You’re choosing to do things you don’t fully enjoy. Doesn’t that sound kind of silly?

If you never make the leap, you will never know what could have been in store for you. Even when all odds are against you, if you were meant to do a particular thing in your life it will somehow work out. You must have faith and believe in yourself. Think about it this way; if you were to wrap up life right now, would you be happy with what you left the world with? Would you be happy with your accomplishments? If not, you need to make a change. You need to feel proud of the life you have lived. And if you want people to remember you when you’re gone, you must make an impact in some way on someone. The best way to do that is to follow that gut feeling and just go after what feels right in your heart.

If you do one thing today, make this be it. This one way of thinking will open your eyes to the possibilities. It will have you believing in yourself like you never have before. Whatever it is you want to do in your life whether it be to become a famous artist, an actress, a business owner, a singer, or whatever is in your heart, ask yourself if anyone else is or has already done this thing. Doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. Just think about whether it has been done before. Chances are it has and you know what that means? It means that you can do it too. It is not impossible. If someone else can do it, then why not you? Those people out there doing the things you want to do are no different than you. They don’t have anything special that you don’t have. They just went after what they wanted and they got there. Just like you can and will do.

You are never too old, the timing is never too late, and you are never too inexperienced to make things happen in your life.  What you need to do is consider the possibilities, set a goal for yourself, take action, become focused, and never give up. If it’s in your heart, keep going even through the difficult times. You will get there regardless of age or where you’re at in life right now. You CAN be that world famous artist or whatever else it is you want to be.

4 Important Things To Consider When Choosing An Art Workshop

By Nicole Tinkham
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If you’ve ever looked into taking an art workshop, you know how many different options are out there. So many in fact that if you’re not careful, your head may start spinning.  There are all sorts of types, experience levels, length of time, price, instructors, and more. And choosing the wrong workshop for you and your needs is just a waste of time. Read on for four important things to consider when choosing an art workshop. We’ll talk about your goals, where you’re skills are lacking, your level of commitment, and your level of experience to help you choose the perfect workshop.

1.    Your interests and goals

The first thing you must consider when choosing an art workshop is what you get excited over. What are you interested in learning more about? Does watercolor light your fire or are you more into mixed media? It may sound like a no brainer but many times we take up whatever workshops are available or what our friends are taking. Trust us when we say it’s worth waiting for your ideal workshop to open up if nothing is available at the moment. It’s always fun to attend workshops with your friends but just not worth it if it’s not something you’re interested in. It should also align with your art goals. Where do you want to be in the next 90 days or the next year? Always be moving forward!

2.    Where you need to improve

While it’s important to choose an art workshop in an area you enjoy, you shouldn’t get too comfortable in your comfort zone. Incredible things start to happen in life when you do things a little bit different. With that being said, think about areas in your art that you wish you were better in and find a workshop that will help you with it. This will be a challenge but it’ll help you improve as an artist and expand your skills.

3.    Your commitment level

Art workshops range in price, supplies needed, and time required. This means you must consider your commitment level to whatever area of art you’re looking into taking up. For example, if you only want to dabble in oil painting, taking a long three day workshop with several supplies required may not be the best option (unless of course you’re serious about taking it up). Same thing goes if you’re committed to calligraphy. You probably wouldn’t get as much out of a short intro workshop. Really think about your commitment level before signing up for a new art workshop so you get the most out of your time and money.

4.    Your experience

You’re most likely taking an art workshop to improve your skills and that’s excellent. Just keep in mind the workshops do vary on skill level. Certain classes are for beginners and others are designed for more experienced artists. Know where you’re at and look for this before signing up!

There are so many incredible art workshops available to you and it’s so important to understand what you personally need in your life at that moment. Consider your passions and those big goals you set for yourself, which skills you need to improve on, how much time and money you want to put into it and your experience level. Asking yourself these questions is sure to help you determine the best workshop for you.

Tell us, what type of art workshop will you be taking next?

Why Dreaming Big Is Getting You Nowhere And What You Need To Start Doing For Success

By Nicole Tinkham

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You’ll hear us say it all the time and it’s definitely something we believe in and stick by. It’s important to love this life of yours, to do the things that make you happy, and to dream big. You may have already started dreaming big by writing some goals down, creating a vision board, and visualizing your future. That’s great if you have and something we still encourage you to do. But what happens when you’re doing all this dreaming and nothing ever happens? If you’re feeling a little defeated and frustrated, this blog is for you. We’ll explain why dreaming big is getting you nowhere and what you need to start doing for success.

Dreaming big is the first piece of the puzzle. It’s figuring out what you really want in life and it’s certainly a crucial step. But if you stop at your dreams without taking action, you will never move forward. How do you expect these dreams to actually happen? Think they’re just going to fall into your lap? We can tell you from experience that’s not how this works. What you can start doing though is thinking big.

For example, it’s so easy to get lost in the excitement of a new career opportunity. You’re creating this new life for yourself and you have a list of things you’re dreaming of accomplishing. But the question is, are you taking those dreams and strategically planning what exactly will happen in your future? When you don’t have a plan one of two things typically happens. Either you get burnt out on this big dream or you fall behind trying to adapt to these new changes in your life.

What you need to do is get out of your head and get “all in” on the things you want to accomplish. You must give it your all. You must have a plan and take action. You must get focused. You may even have to make sacrifices like TV time, sleep, and extra vacations at least until you get things rolling. If you’re not 100% in it, it’s still all just a dream. You need to switch from dreaming big to thinking (and doing) big!

There’s no way of predicting the future but it doesn’t hurt to have a game plan either way. Know exactly what your next step is if you succeed and what your next step is if you fail. Sure, there will always be little surprises that come up along the way but you can handle them confidently when you have a strong plan. Don’t just wait around to see what happens. Be prepared.

So while dreaming big paints the picture of how your life could look, it’s also important to think big. Take action on those dreams, follow through with them, and plan for anything the future may bring (good or bad). It may be impossible to predict exactly what could happen in the future but think through every possible situation you can imagine and plan for it. If you’re a dreamer but feel stuck, start doing these things to finally see success in your life.