Setting and realising your goals
Last week we looked at letting your imagination and goal setting run wild and the week before we looked back at 2020 and the major positives and negatives of the year.
This week, I want to help you with setting your goals and making them happen. Don’t panic if you have never done anything like this before, I plan to hold your hand throughout 2021 to help you make it happen. There are lots of different approaches, but I will repeat what I said last week: “A goal without a plan is just a wish” and “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”.
How you approach this is very personal. You may be someone who loves to have everything on your computer, or to write everything down. It could be that you like a mixture of both, or you may be struggling to work out the best way to keep records and are surrounded by bits of loose paper which you can never locate when you need them. I’ve been there so I hope I can help you get things working well for yourself.
Hopefully, one of these ideas will work for you but before we start, remember to keep it simple. If you have never done anything like this before just plan out the next one or two months ahead so that you are not overwhelmed, and I will check in with you to keep you going throughout the year.
On the practical side, once you have identified if you are a techno wiz or a technophobe you can start to figure out the best approach for you. I use a mixture of different ways to organise things, which works really well for me so let me explain why.
I keep a series of notebooks for a specific activity I am involved with. Each is colour coded so that I can quickly identify where that information is located. Some of this information is then handed to Mr. S for him to put into a database so that he can produce labels for me when I am preparing artwork.
But I also use Notion, an excellent online system for setting up everything you need as an interconnected workspace. You can set up a ‘to do’ list, diary planners, note taking and well as being able to download data which links in with what you are using the program for. Other similar systems are Trello, which I tried and didn’t really get on with and Roam, which I haven’t used. I use Notion (www. https://www.notion.so/) because it is really easy to share meeting notes with people when I have been on a Zoom call with them. But I love writing too.
Just this year I have discovered the wonders of journal making and have made a gorgeous journal for myself to use as I have been meaning to fully engage with ‘Bullet Note’ taking, a system set up by a designer called Ryder Carroll. (www.bulletjournal.com) Bullet journaling is a particular method of organising your ‘to do’ lists, diary scheduling, planning, and brainstorming amongst other things, in one single place to help you achieve your goals.
I know that many of you who read my blogs are not artists; actually I think only about 60% of you are so each of your goals are going to be very different, but let me help you with some ideas for things you might like to set as goals and how to track them in order to actually fulfill them.
Initially, it is useful to set up on paper, or using an online system, an annual planner and a weekly one. You don’t need to write it all up yet as we are only going to focus on the next few weeks. List out the goals you want to achieve, some of which will come from your big dreams ideas we looked at last week. List them all out and leave a few pages so you’ll be able to add to the list as you go through the year and new things come up.
I would organise them into sections like:
Health and Fitness/Beauty
Career and Work
It is your list, of course, so it should reflect what is important to you.
Anyway, within these headings you set your goals. Health and Fitness for me would be simply to start going for a walk a few times a week. I spend hours at my desk or standing in front of an easel. I don’t actually move around very much at all so setting an achievable goal in this category would be really simple, otherwise I won’t achieve it. I will set the goal and put it in my weekly planner.
Currently I spend all day Monday doing admin tasks. So, having a break for half an hour to walk around a park will not only be good for my physical health but also for my mental health too as I love walking near big trees; it makes me feel go grateful for what they do for our planet.
When you are clear about what you want, commit to it, and begin recording it in your weekly planner. Ticking off your achievements each time is equally powerful as you can see that you have achieved your goals.
At this point I should probably tell you to be realistic in your goal setting by not filling up your ‘to do’ list with multiple big items to achieve. If you are an artist, you could set yourself three big goals for the year, say:
- Getting your website up and running or updated;
- To start on a new collection of work; or
- Identifying which competitions are running this year and applying for them.
These big goals are clear, and they each have a beginning and an end.
If you are a blogger, or you want to start blogging, your three big goals could be:
- Planning out your weekly blogs for the year ahead.
- Finding an editor to make sure that what you write makes sense (mine is brilliant, btw); and
- Planning a design or theme which will identify your brand.
Maybe you are retired and, after the year we have had, you want to be able to make better use of your new extra time. Your big goals could be:
- Sorting out the attic.
- Going through all your photos and putting them in order; and
- Getting all your paperwork in order, so your partner/children don’t have a headache when you die. This isn’t morbid; it will be cathartic for you and very much appreciated by them.
Most of us have numerous life goals but, realistically, we can only handle three big things at any one time. So, don’t over commit. Be sensible about how much you can do at one time and be realistic about being able to achieve it.
If you have big goals you have been putting off for whatever reason, think about why that is and what could be a solution. You want to clear the attic, but don’t like climbing ladders these days? So, find a young person to bring down the stuff for you and only put back what you really can’t live without.
Bloggers, you might be finding sorting out a brand difficult. There are lots of tools out there on the internet to help you; you can take online classes; or you can pay someone to figure it out for you. There is always a solution.
Artists, I know getting a website up and running is your biggest nightmare, so find a knowledgeable young person and pay them to help you. I have used my younger son and he used to help others, too. Right now, though, he is fully engrossed in his MSc studies, so I have had to find other people to help me instead. The point is there is always a solution.
Next week’s blog will be about my featured artist as it always is on the first Sunday of the month, but the week after I will come back with some more ideas about setting, recording, and celebrating your wins. Remember keep it simple for now and we can add in other elements as we go.
Here’s hoping we will all have a better New Year.
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