Monday, August 11, 2008

Setting Goals, Take 2

After a month of creative conferences, one on writing and one on metal clay, I've come home to get back to work on jewelry. I'm enjoying experimenting with the new bronze clay (pix to come later this week).

I'm also looking at my goals again. I've found a couple of good websites on goal setting: and
I'm rethinking the main areas in which I'll set goals. Each of the above sites has slightly different breakdowns, but they helped me focus my own thinking. So far I've come up with Personal (Health and Spirit); Career; Relationships (Friends and Family); Home/Environment (by this I mean personal surroundings, not improving the world's environment--that falls elsewhere); Financial; Pleasure; Public Service. What areas are other people choosing to set goals in?

Everywhere I look, experts on creativity, organization and even health are emphasizing the first two hours of the day. My nutritionist says everyone should eat breakfast within an hour of waking. The creativity guru at the writing conference, Eric Maisel, made a compelling case for doing your creative work right after you get up, while you're still in almost a dream-like state. Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way says you should do your Morning Pages first thing. FlyLady wants you to get dressed to the shoes and do some housecleaning priorities. I found myself stressing about what I should do first, and stumbling around trying to do it all. For now, I think that going to water aerobics is going to win at least 3 mornings a week simply because that's when they offer it. I'm going to use some combination of rituals (like listening to music or lighting a candle), practice (sketching or a Morning Pages-inspired Brain Dump), and BIC (butt in chair) for getting into my creative work.

What are you working on in your life? How are you setting priorities?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Year's Goal Setting

Here we are 5 days into the New Year already, and I haven't made any resolutions, nor do I intend to. What I am doing is setting goals. What's the difference? In a way it's just semantics, but playing the semantics game works for me. Ignoring the dictionary definitions, for me a relolution is just a determination to do something, with no plan of action. And we all know what happens to most resolutions. You break them once, and soon they're forgotten. A goal, on the other hand, is all about a plan, about thinking about the baby steps that lead to actually attaining the goal.

The good thing about a goal instead of a resolution is that you don't break a goal. Think of a hockey game. The team sends the puck down the ice. Usually they don't try to make the goal in one big whoosh; they make their way down the ice, sometimes running into obstacles along the way. They shoot. They miss. The goal hasn't gone away; it's still there waiting for another attempt. The team doesn't give up (well, usually). They regroup and make another stab at the goal. And if they don't reach it this time, they have a team meeting, rethink their strategy, and try again the next game. A goal is something you strive towards, keeping the end in sight, but with strategies to get you there.

I wrote up a two page list of goals in every area of my life--health, relationships, home, career, art, etc, and I'm putting steps towards those goals on my calendar each day.

I want to be more creative this year, to make my art a priority. What's the first step? Well, it's really got three smaller steps. First is to reclaim my studio from the clutter that got tossed in during the holidays. At the same time, I am insisting on including a few creative minutes in the studio daily. Otherwise, I could get lost in cleaning and organizing, and easily delay the scary business of creating. However, I haven't set any huge requirements for myself this first month. The idea is to start small, get some confidence, and work towards more. My focus is on building stamina and confidence. In other words--just make something! I'm allowing myself to be imperfect. The third part of my plan for making art a priority is to submit something--a contest entry, a tutorial, a book or article proposal, each month. The first step towards that piece is to decide what this month's submission will be. I've got that on my calendar for completion by Tuesday.

Writing this first blog entry is all part of the plan, too. It's part of becoming more serious about my art career. I'm not insisting on writing an entry daily, but I'm committing to once a week for now. And if I don't make the goal? Maybe it's not the right one, or maybe I just need to have a chat with my inner coach and come back with a new strategy for success.

Happy New Year!