2 Tips to Stay Focused on Your Goals.

2 Tips to Stay Focused on Your Goals.

Throughout the years I have set many goals.  Some I have accomplished, and some I failed miserably at.  Others I wrote down, told myself I was committed to going all in, and then never (NEVER EVER) did anything to move towards them.  Can anyone relate?  Whether it is a business goal, or a personal goal, or a creative goal, I’m sure most of us have been in at least one of these camps before, if not all of them.

As I do more creative work and as my business grows I’ve realized quickly that setting clear goals and processes is the difference maker in whether I am run ragged or whether I actually have time for personal projects and my life.  In the past I worked all the time, never had the results I wanted, and had no time for my art and my family, so it’s been critical for me to set parameters to avoid this in my business now.  I do this through business planning and goal setting.  This is important whether you are already running your creative business full time, but it is even more important if you are trying to transition into a creative business and out of something else.

That being said, there are a million posts out there that teach us how to set goals.  In my experience, it is more important knowing what causes us to derail, so today I am going to share two things to stay on top of to help keep you on track with your goals.

Map out and Schedule Specific Steps.

It’s common to write down a goal or set an intention and then leave it at that.  The problem with this is we have no way to measure and track how we are actually doing, and whether our actions are getting us closer to the desired outcome.  You can say you are working towards a goal but if you aren’t actually tracking it you could be way off course and running in circles without even knowing.  Break down what you have to do into tiny tasks, and set aside time for those tasks specifically.  Add them to your regular to do’s, and also include time to check in and see how you are progressing.

The opposite of this is what I call the “Throwing Spaghetti at the Wall” Method.  Basically you toss enough activity out there and hope some of it sticks, but at the end of the day you don’t know why it worked and you can’t replicate it.  Planning out goals for your creative business means keeping the end in mind and figuring out what you need to do to make that outcome a reality.

Prepare for Obstacles.

I wish that business was all rainbows and ease, but that isn’t the case.  There will be things that work, and things that flop.  You will have to figure out which is which and decide what to do with the things that aren’t working.  Some of this will be in the moment, but a lot of these things can be decided upon in advance.

Common obstacles that we encounter are organization, time, and motivation.  In other words, we can’t remember what we need to be doing, we don’t have time to do the things that we need to do, or we don’t feel like doing anything at all.  I find it super helpful to decide how we are going to deal with these prior to them happening.  Here are some things that work for me:

  • Using project management software or a day-planner to keep track off all tasks and the times you plan on doing them.
  • Blocking off chunks of time for a task that is more than you think the task will actually take (this is especially helpful if you do a lot of your work at home where there are pets, children, spouses, Netflix, and laundry.)
  • Having all of your supplies laid out ahead of time so that if you don’t feel like doing a task, you can use your energy to start the task instead of wasting it looking for stuff.  Once we’ve started a task it is easier to continue doing it.

When we accept the fact that there will be obstacles to our goals, and then prepare ways to handle those obstacles, we are better equipped to deal with them.  If we don’t plan for obstacles, we can easily be thrown off course when they occur.

At the end of the day it is easy to set goals and announce the things we want, but it can be much more difficult to make things a reality.  When we set an intention but don’t break down the steps required to get there, we have issues.  When we fail to consider the tough bits, we can become overwhelmed and quit.  Taking time to plan around these areas makes a huge difference.  For me, it means the work involved in my business is more effective, giving me freedom to live my life, be with my family, and have more time for my art.

Cheers to the creative life!

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