One of the things you constantly read online is that as home recordists we should always use a reference track when we are mixing. I couldn't agree more but I think that a stage is often missed regarding this and that's the stage before we start making music.
So picture this, you sit down and get ready to start making music. You make some music and it sounds good to you. Then you listen to your preferred reference mixes and you sound......terrible. At this point you start mixing and try to fix the issues there. Nothing is working. What is the problem. Well I have some suggestions.
If you are anything like me you listen to the vast majority of your musical input on headphones. I have a couple of pairs of cans that see the most action, my bose in ears at work and my bose noise cancelling quiet comfort 3's out and about. The problem with this is that we get our reference of music from these. Chances are, the sound of this same music in your studio on your monitors is very different. In my case it certainly is as my headphones are nowhere near flat but my studio monitors are.
Now im not proposing that you bin either your headphones or your speakers or that you stop using either. That would be crazy. What im suggesting is that before you sit down and start recording a new track, take maybe 15 minutes to a half hour to listen some of your favourite mixes in a similar style through your studio monitors. This does two things, firstly it resets your ears from your headphones and secondly it also inspires you, listening to great mixes BEFORE you start making your mix is uplifting. Listening afterwards and feeling that your mix doesnt stack up actually has the opposite effect, you end up feeling down about your work !
Hope this top helps and stay creative,