I have no idea if it's like this in other cities, but in Albuquerque improvisers like to set "personal goals" before a show.
Like, "My goal is to make strong choices" or "My goal is to break out of my 'stock' characters." Stuff like that. It's pretty cheesy and cult-like, but it helps you to focus on doing at least one good thing when you're in front of an audience making shit up.
For some reason over the holidays I started thinking about zombies alot, in fact I often think about zombies year round, is that wierd? Anyways because of this I already know what my personal goal will be tonight -
NO FREAKING ZOMBIES!
It's weird but a good deal of the comedy I've done over the last few years has had something to do with the undead. I'm not saying every single scene is a rumination on reanimation, but it happens more than you might expect. From one perspective it makes perfect sense, because whatever brooding thoughts are in your subconscious, ie books, movies, songs, relationships, etc will find thier way out onto the stage during a show, but I think it's good practice to avoid visiting the same topics too often lest they become comfortable and stale.
So hopefully tonight I'll have the discipline to resist turning a scene about a boy and his abusive-alcoholic father into a scene about a boy and his abusive-alcoholic ZOMBIE father. Then again, there IS something really inherently funny about that.