5 Good Things Creative Practice

Friday 10 February 2017 - Posted by Julia McCutchen

I’ve always had an abundance of ideas about almost everything; far more than I could ever follow through on!

In fact, the more awareness and presence I cultivate the more creative I naturally become so the flow of inspiration continues to increase.

Of course this is wonderful for all of the projects I love creating for my work and personal priorities.

Yet it’s also a double-edged sword.

Managing the Creative Fire

Over the years I’ve had to learn to manage this creative fire and the intense energy that’s an integral part of it.

Yet there have been many occasions in the past where I’ve been left feeling depleted from having followed my enthusiasm for too many possibilities and ended up taking on too much.

I’d find myself at the end of the day noticing all the actions I hadn’t managed to complete for the multiple projects I was working on simultaneously and largely ignoring all the things I had made progress with.

Not Doing Enough

As a result, I often felt like I simply wasn’t doing enough and ought to be doing more.

Sound familiar?

Of course this is a negative pattern that ultimately leads to burn out.

When I realized what was going on, I came up with a solution that has transformed how I feel at the end of my working day and simultaneously contributed to a fundamental shift at every level of my being.

5 Good Things

I call the solution the “5 Good Things Creative Practice”

Essentially it’s about cultivating enough awareness to notice what’s happening because if you’re not aware of it, you’ll simply run the pattern unconsciously.

Then you need to make a conscious choice about where to focus your attention as this directly affects your perspective and your feelings about absolutely everything.

This practice leads you to do that and gives you the opportunity to train yourself to direct your gaze (and your creative energy) towards factors that support you to feel creatively alive and on track with your purpose.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Ideally you’ll decide on a similar time towards the end of each day to reflect on 5 good things that have occurred in the previous 24 hours.

    This could be things you are grateful for like a special person in your life or having hot water out of the tap so you can soak in a nurturing bubble bath.

    You could include things that have gone well for you like a piece of writing you’ve done or a tricky conversation that turned out better than you thought.

    Or you might recognize small details like taking a few moments to savour the aroma of fresh coffee or listen to a bird singing to uplift your spirits.

  2. Write your 5 good things down in your journal.

    It’s not enough to do this as an intellectual exercise and quickly think of 5 things then consider the practice ticked off your mental “to do” list!

    It’s important to write down what you come up with, especially while you’re training yourself to develop this positive new habit.

    It doesn’t need to take long; 10 minutes should be plenty. Yet putting pen to paper will strengthen the practice and give you the best results in terms of shifting your experience of life generally.

  3. Finally, re-read what you’ve written and take a few moments to feel the positive feelings the 5 good things will trigger in you.

    Consciously let go of all that you’ve haven’t done or whatever details are relevant in your particular situation.

    Acknowledge that you can revisit your priorities the next day and ensure you take care of whatever is most important to you.

    For now, simply immerse yourself in the positive feelings of knowing that whatever still remains to be dealt with, you’ve got 5 good things to focus on; and that’s a good note on which to end the day!

What are your thoughts about this creative practice? Have you done anything similar in the past or do you have your own version of this now? If so, what benefits have you noticed? Please share your comments and experience below.



    • Hi Jeanine – this practice can be interpreted in any way that feels right following the direction of my suggestions so gratitude is certainly an important component and yes, noticing what you achieve is part of it too. Just one point to clarify, a sense “achievement” can come from the smallest details such as completing a simple task and feeling positive about having done so; the “achievement” doesn’t have to be anything major and could equally be a realization you’ve had or a good idea about something. Enjoy the practice!

  • Hi Julia

    I have a similar practice on retiring. I call it “Being in gratitude and appreciation.” focusing on the good stuff of the day stimulates these inner “natural principles” within us. As you say, it’s important to get in touch with these feelings, not just tick off the good stuff that happened.
    repeated practice can instil a state of mind that allows for more of these feelings to flow through and it is this state of mind that attracts abundance (in all its forms) to us.
    re-reading what you’ve written maintains this positive state of mind as you go to sleep — thus facilitating a peaceful night!
    in gratitude and appreciation of you, Chris.

    • Hi Chris

      Thanks for sharing your version of this which sounds excellent too. And yes, feeling the feelings is so important for experiencing the benefits. My favourite time for the 5 Good Things practice is at the end of the working day as a transition into the evening… so I’m not surprised that you have a peaceful night’s sleep afterwards!

      Heartfelt thanks for the gratitude and appreciation, and right back to you! Julia

  • I love this Julia. As you say, building a new practice or muscle takes repetition, and attention. I like how it doesn’t have to be a big thing, and to flick the switch from ‘not enough’ to ‘enough’. I’m going to start and see what happens. Rita

    • Hi Rita, that’s great to know and thanks for sharing your reaction! Yes, it is indeed about flicking the switch to “enough” and often simply acknowledging the small things makes a huge difference to your perspective and how you feel about everything. Enjoy 🙂 Julia

    • Absolutely Helen! You’re so right – that’s the most important part of the whole practice. It’s not enough for it to be an intellectual exercise; it’s feeling the feelings that triggers the shift. Enjoy 🙂

  • This is such a powerful tool to reflect, to be grateful, and to truly embrace each moment and all they hold!

  • Thanks for this prompt, I have usually done this as a mental exercise but never put it down on paper and will now try hard to put it on paper and review and let the shift happen.

    • It does make a difference to write it down as it’s all too easy to forget when it’s just a mental exercise.

      I’m glad to hear that you’re inspired to put it on paper now and review regularly. If you do so and keep it going, the shift WILL happen! Let us know how it goes in due course.

    • That’s great to hear Michelle! Thanks for your comment and enjoy the positive boost that acknowledging your daily accomplishments provides 🙂

  • My Brother gave me a copy of the five-minute journal for christmas this year.

    It is a fill in the blank kind of template per day.

    The first section says i am grateful for … and then there are 3 lines.

    I have used this some and I need to get back to use it more consistently.

    Today I wrote 2 more items under the 3 lines offered. And I stopped to feel grateful for each.

    • Hi John, how lovely and good for you writing 2 more items today and feeling the gratitude. It’s amazing just what a difference these kinds of simple yet powerful practices make. I hope you enjoy the benefits of doing so and thanks for sharing your experience.

  • I so needed to read this … with protest riots destroying the peace in our town, most of us are focusing on fear and distrust. I know we have the choice as to how we respond to any situation and I shall use these 5 points as my navigating guide. thank you for them at this time.

    • That’s great to hear Beth… yes, the current climate is increasingly one of fear and distrust and it’s stoked to the max by the media and the powers that be for the sake of the “hidden” agendas that are not so hidden these days.

      What can’t be controlled by anyone other than ourselves is the choice you so rightly identify of how we respond to any given situation. I wish you well using the 5 points to navigate your consciously chosen experience of life going forwards.

  • Hi Julia,
    After reading I thought it’s so me the “not doing enough”, then took a notebook put the date and wrote 5 things and yes I can do good things but I forget to notice it and congratulate myself. Thank you what a good idea.

    • Hi Helene – well done for picking up your notebook straight away and realizing that you are already doing “good things”! You’re far from alone in forgetting to notice it and congratulate yourself. However, hopefully this post will remind and encourage you to make it a daily priority until it becomes an effortless and regular component of your life. Enjoy!

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