Thursday, November 22, 2007

Setting Goals

Copyright Tattered Edge 2007
The year is beginning to wind down and as is my habit at this point, I start thinking about goals for the new year. I find it really helpful to have a game plan for what I want to accomplish with my art for the year. It helps me decide which projects I want to take on and which ones I will take a pass on to keep from feeling overwhelmed.

Here are some of my suggestions about how to set goals:
1. Put your goals in writing. This dramatically increses the likelihood of achieving them. How can you know what you've accomplished over time if you can't remember what you wanted to do? Writing them down makes them more tangiable.

2. Choose goals that are meaningful.Think about what you would do if you knew you would not fail. Those are the true dreams of your heart. In order to achieve those goals you must feel passionate about them. Don't be afraid to be specific!

3. Remain flexable. Sometimes goals will change over time. For example, I thought this year, I should have one of my goals be to create a portfolio of my work to use as a tool to secure teaching contracts. I later realized that rewriting my CV to reflect my work as an artist was sufficiant. Sometimes goals may get left behind. I have a theory on this: sometimes the journey is more important than the goal. You may find along the way you got to a certain point and that was enough. This is not a failure. Sometimes the learning was in the process so you learned what you needed to and then moved on. This is OKAY!

4. Cultivate a support circle. I can't stress enough how helpful it is to have folks around you who will help you remain accountable for your goals, aid in troubleshooting when you get stuck and celebrate your accomplishments with you. Everyone brings their own strengths and body of knowledge to the table and this can be a powerful resource. You know that old saying "Two heads are better than one"? It's true!

5. Take stock. Throughout the year have pre-set times when you will read through your goals and report in to your support circle. I like to review at 6 months (June, if you are running by the calendar) and then again at 9 (September) and lastly at 12 (December). At the 6 month point, the year is half over and it's a good to see how much you got done in 6th months. This can help motivate you for the remainder of the year. At 9 months, you have 3 months left to work on anything you didn't already get done-make the final push. At 12, it's time to see how far you've come in a year, talk about what worked and what didn't and use that experience to formulate your goals for the new year. It's amazing how sometimes you feel like you didn't get much done, but in reviewing your goals, you will often find you really did accomplish more than you thought. The part I enjoy is seeing how, if at all my priorities changed.

I have found this process to be invaluable in helping me move foreward with my dreams and aspirations. I hope that some of what I've shared strikes a chord in you and moves you to action. Don't be afraid to start living your dreams. The time is NOW!

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