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The Ultimate Guide to Getting Motivated

art goals art marketing tips

When it comes to getting motivated to develop a creative habit, there’s no single right approach. However, there are strategies that you can apply once you figure out what makes you uniquely you.

The better you understand yourself, the easier it will be to get motivated-- whether we are talking about art, work or health related habits.

These tidbits of wisdom are adapted from Gretchen Rubin’s book “Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of everyday life.”

Here are some personality traits to consider to help you find your ideal way of getting motivated.

Are you a Marathoner, Sprinter or Procrastinator?

Consider how you like to work... a little bit each day or in large chunks of time. Personally, I hate interruption so I get into my best flow state when I can do a sprint.
  • Marathoners prefer to work at a slow and steady clip, and they usually finish well before a deadline.

  • Sprinters prefer to work in quick bursts of intense effort. Pressure of a deadline to sharpens their thinking. (hint: You can create this sense of urgency by setting a timer while you work.)

  • Procrastinators may resemble Sprinters, but in fact, they hate last-minute pressure and wish they could force themselves to work before the deadline looms. 

Are you a Finisher or Opener?

Finishers love to bring a project to completion, and they’re determined to fill every page in their art journal.

Because Finishers focus on their ability to complete, they may be overly cautious about starting something new.

Does that sound like you?

You won’t sign up for a new art class if you haven’t finished the ones you have already taken. Or you won’t start a new painting if you have a half finished one lying around.

Openers love to start new projects, and find pleasure in opening a box of new art supplies, choosing yarn for the next sweater, or priming a new canvas.

The downside of this?

They may have trouble finishing what they’ve started.

In my online art classes at The Inspiration Place, I think of ways to help both openers and finishers. That is why I drip content out week by week and send inspirational emails to help my students stay inspired. This is exciting for openers who love the thrill of new lessons being released and will also help pace the finishers so they have the satisfaction of finishing a course.

Personally, I think I am a "finisher." This is especially true when it comes to the New York Times crossword puzzle. I let my husband START it and I relish FINISHING it! I get a little overwhelmed by starting because there are too many options and choices to make.

It can be the same way with art.

Do you get overwhelmed with starting?

the inspiration place ultimate guide to getting motivated

Simplicity Lover or Abundance Lover?

Simplicity lovers are attracted cleanliness and minimalism such as a clean work table, a newly organized studio, and few choices. A simplicity lover may work better in a studio that’s quiet, with minimal distraction. They will love creating artworks with a minimal palette.
view of my studio shelf-- I suppose I LOVE abundance. (at least when it comes to art supplies)  I will be paint just because the NAME of the color appealed to me!



Abundance lovers are attracted by the idea of more: the box of 64 crayons, every Faber-Castell Big Brush pen, all the alcohol inks, and lots and lots of choices.

An abundance lover may work better in a studio that’s lively and crammed with art supplies while blasting their favorite music. 

The FOUR Tendencies: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel?

Out of all the personality traits... understanding your "tendency" in this category is the key to getting and  keeping a creative habit.

Figure out which tendency you are and then use that to your advantage!

1) Upholders 

Upholders respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations. They don’t need deadlines or supervision; they keep themselves on track. This is your "naturally" thin friend who doesn't need weight watchers.

If you’re an upholder, you probably don’t need much help getting motivated and if you're struggling, then perhaps finding inspiration is your problem instead.

2) Questioners 

Like the name suggests, "questioners" question all expectations, and will meet an expectation only if it’s justified, so that it becomes an inner expectation. Questioners are motivated by reasons and logic.

So, they will do something if it makes sense to them.

Questioners will want to know why they are doing things in a certain way. They will ask me a dozen questions before enrolling in a course (totally cool, I am a questioner and I am the same way)

However, the upside is once something makes sense to them they have less of a struggle staying motivated. If you are trying to lose weight, a questioner will be motivated by research.

Poppy painting by Miriam Schulman - now in private collection

Poppy painting by Miriam Schulman - now in private collection
Discover similar floral art on

3) Obligers 

Obligers respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations. Obligers are the type of people who put everyone else first.

If you are an obliger, there will always be some sort of task or chore that needs to be done for your family before you take care of yourself.

If you are an obliger, you are in good company as more than half of us are obligers.

Self-care is hard for you and so is making time for your creativity. Fortunately, there are some great strategies to overcome this. You will do well with deadlines, accountability partners, and scheduling. An online class is helpful, but even better is to do one with a friend. 

Make painting playdates

Make painting playdates, challenge yourself to share art to facebook groups or make paintings as gifts for your loved ones. Believe me, they rather have a painting from Grandma than a new nightgown.

4) Rebels 

Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. They want to do a task their own way. Rebels make great artists because they are very creative and are always on the lookout to break rules and think outside the box. Strategies that work well for other types, like scheduling will be a disaster for a rebel which is why it is so important to know yourself better.

No matter what tendency you are...

Do you want a place to 

  • Keep you accountable
  • Remind you of your goals AND
  • Give you reasons why 

join The Inspiration Place email list…

(You can choose your own free gift just for joining!)

For more strategies for getting motivated to create art, join me LIVE July 21 2017 (replay also available) 

For more insight, tips, and practical advice on how to get motivation to paint you can join The Inspiration Place Facebook group (it’s free) and tune in for the live broadcast of How to Get Motivated


About the Artist (Miriam Schulman)

In case we haven’t met yet, I’m a watercolor and mixed media artist. My art has been featured in numerous publications such as Somerset Studio, and Im the founder of The Inspiration Place  where I give my students stepping stones to create beautiful art as well as the emotional support they need to stay inspired.

See the art I create at or learn how to paint with me at

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