Creating Good Actor Habits

Author of Creating Good Actor Habits

Why my cat being stuck in a closet reminded me of how powerful habits can be – and ways you can use habits to get ahead in your acting career.

I am exhausted! My husband Matt woke up last night at midnight cause he felt “something was wrong with our cat.” Our cat BUG usually sleeps with us, but he wasn’t in bed. So, Matt got up and searched the whole house and couldn’t find him anywhere so of course he woke me up and I searched the house too, adrenaline now pumping.

Author of Creating Good Actor Habits
Creating Good Actor Habits Blog

Could he have gotten out? Where is he? Is he OK?

Turns out he was stuck in a closet. He was FINE. He must have snuck in when Matt opened it earlier. But my god – not a fun feeling!

You see BUG has a habit of coming into our room every night and sleeping with us so when Matt woke up and Bug wasn’t there, he intuitively knew something was wrong.

I’m currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear and I’ve been thinking A LOT about habits – my personal habits, my cat and husband’s habits and the habits of the actors I work with. Have you read it?

Not only am I reading Atomic Habits, but I’m also working through The Artist’s Way with Barbara Howlin’s Guided Group at the same time. The two books could not compliment one another more. 

Good habits eventually give you more freedom, which means more creative freedom, which is what The Artist’s Way is about. If you have good habits like taking care of your finances, you’re more likely to have time and energy to be creative. If you have good habits around creating positive supportive relationships, you won’t have crazymakers distracting you from your creative goals…and so on. 

Good actors habits can build Healthy Relationships

Bad habits of course do the opposite for us. If we as actors create habits of drinking to “feel something” or doing drugs to numb our pain instead of positive habits like going to therapy – our lives are going to be very different. 

If we create good habits around acting, like for example, doing one self-tape a week (whether we have an audition or not) we will be much more prepared when that cmail hits our inbox. James Clear says it’s not big changes, it’s minor 1% shifts in our lives that eventually add up to make a big difference. 1 tape that first week probably isn’t going to do anything for your career, even after a month, 4 tapes won’t have much of an affect, but over the course of a year, 1 tape a week would be 52 tapes. You can definitely learn something from that! 

 

This past week in my Rise Ups group I was working with a client who got his first Broadway audition and he was excited, but also a bit nervous and unsure of what to do next. It just felt like this big “I don’t want to blow it” kind of opportunity. We’ve all been there! He said his main goal for the week was to really focus on crushing this audition, which was a GREAT goal, but there was no plan to take action around that goal. No habit created on what exactly to do when you get an audition.

Without a plan, sometimes we easily spiral out, get overwhelmed and panic. So, we worked together and made a plan with small simple actionable steps:

Work Routine
  • Email X coach to schedule time to work after this call.
  • If X coach isn’t available, reach out to Y coach.
  • After call, memorize for 30 minutes tonight.

And so on… 

Immediately after making this plan, he felt a massive sense of relief and was able to take action and reported back to the group he’d done the first two action steps that night as planned. 

I don’t think James Clear would be surprised by these results. He says you must make your habits small and rewarding and also schedule a specific time to do them or trigger them after a habit you already have. 

Most of us make great goals for ourselves, but we don’t create habits for ourselves and we don’t plan WHEN exactly we’re going to do these new habits.

Believe me – I am totally guilty of this too. I keep saying, “I’m going to work on the newsletter earlier in the week…” It’s a great goal, but because I haven’t been specific enough about when “earlier in the week” is … guess what? It’s currently 8:41pm and here I am writing this note to you.

If you’re feeling at all overwhelmed and you don’t know where to start with new habits to help you towards your goals, don’t do it alone. This is a career you really can’t tackle yourself. Stop trying. Get yourself a mentor, accountability buddy or coach to help you create new habits and hold you accountable. 

We can do incredible things. We just need to create new small habits to get us there. 

What do you think? What new habits are you ready to implement for yourself? 

Blog originally published on Actors Rise republished with permission from Jenna Doolittle.

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