Goals are not wishes or resolutions. They aren’t things you get around to in your spare time. Nope: if you are serious about accomplishing anything, you have to take action. Your odds of winning the lottery increase slightly if you buy a ticket. Your odds of accomplishing your goals increase dramatically if you take daily action to achieve them.
Each year, I talk about setting business and personal goals. I believe strongly that nothing gets done until you make it a priority and take action. When it comes to your creative pursuits, why wouldn’t you make them a priority too? I didn’t, for example, start typing this blog entry on a whim, just to see what comes out. I have something to tell you and my goal is to get it posted today so you can read it. I’m currently busy at my “other” job, my Go Daddy account seems hopelessly slow, and I have Christmas shopping to do: it doesn’t matter. This little burst of creativity is on my list; it is a goal for the day.
The way I approach goals is serious business and I feel strongly that if you don’t make your creative pursuits a priority, you will drift. Drifting is fine if you don’t mind drifting, but most of us need “a list” to move forward. Deciding to improve at your art or to accomplish certain tasks is a reasonable expectation as you head into a new year. As long as you have the fresh beginning that comes along on January 1st, why not set some goals for your creative passions?
The goal setting process is relatively simple for me. I have some year- long goals that revolve around healthy, happy and wealthy. I try to stay relatively balanced between my exercise, diet, work and creativity goals. I am careful to make sure that the goals are measurable and that they are things I can control. (i.e.: if my goal was to win the lottery, my actual goal would be to buy the tickets, I can’t control the actual drawing.)
The next step is planning my action. I believe in doing 5 things a day towards my goals. Not towards each goal, but towards my goals. These 5 things are my priority every day, some days I have them done by 9:00 AM sometimes I have to stay up until midnight to get them done. My list dictates my daily activities; it takes priority over anything else that comes up that day. Learning to say “no” is a big deal, when I am working on my list, getting distracted is not possible.
“But I’m too busy to get 5 things a day done!” Nope, you are just putting your priority on things other than your list. If you have a job that keeps you busy from the time you get up until you pass out at night, you’ve made that a priority. If you are too busy running kids around, you’ve made that a priority. Nothing wrong with that at all, but when it comes to goal setting, realize your goals are to keep your job or be really good at transporting your kids, that’s what you are spending your time on! If you don’t make your creative pursuit (or anything else) a priority, it will become yet another forgotten New Year’s Resolution.
Your list, your daily actions, are designed to accomplish something. In my new book, “When Do I Get to Be Me?” I talk about some strategies to get the people in your life on board to help you accomplish your creative goals. In short, you are responsible for Releasing Your Creative Beast and I believe you’ll only be able to do so if you make Beast Releasing a priority. Setting long term goals and daily actions is your best way to insure your success.