How to Set Your Goals for 2016

Posted: December 11, 2015 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
Tags: , , , , , , ,

settinggoalsYesterday we talked about your vision for the coming year. Now we need to look at goals. These are the steps to take to get to your vision. Think of it as breaking your vision down into manageable steps. Think back to the “simple math of success” post from a few weeks ago. For example, if you want to write a 320 page novel this year, writing a page a day will get you there with 45 days for edits. If you want to build a body of work for a portfolio, figure out how many pieces you need, divide that by 365 and you will see how many days you have to complete each piece, etc. Basically we are taking large things and breaking them into smaller things and then checking off those smaller things until we reach our goals.

Once you know where you want to go, and what you need to do to get there, the next step is to do something. Here are a few things you need to know:

1. You will not always meet your goal. There will be times when life happens and you miss your goal. This is not fatal, but how you react to not making your goal might be. If you set a goal to write a novel in a year and it takes you a year and a half, you have still written a novel. If on the other hand you have to miss two days in a row of writing and you give up, you have nothing. Keep going. The only thing fatal to a vision is quitting.

2. Set realistic goals. I know, I hate that word realistic too, but sometimes you just have to be realistic. If you are a young single person with minimal responsibilities, you can go for broke. If on the other hand you are a young mom with 2.5 kids, your working time is going to be impaired. This does not reveal a lack of commitment. It’s simply a reality of life. Do what you can with what you have, which brings us to my next point.

3. Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Phrased positively, focus on what you do have. In other words, very rarely do we have everything we need to accomplish a goal when we start working toward it. As a matter of fact if you do have everything you need to accomplish your goal when you start, I might be tempted to say your goal is not aggressive enough. Start with what you do have and keep moving forward.

4. Do not compare. There is always a real temptation to measure yourself by someone else. Avoid that. It may be okay to admire someone, even go to them for pointers, but for the most part, the people we admire are further down the road than we are. To try to be them is usually a fool’s errand. Instead, bring the best you have to your own work each day and be the best you, you can be.

5. Be as prolific as you can. There is no substitute for hard work. The more you do, the better you become. Practice, practice, practice. That being said, do not neglect the other important things of your life. The creative life is supposed to be a balanced life, sometimes it’s a balancing act, but an unbalanced life will damage your creativity.

6. Share your work. Nothing is more maddening to me than creatives who hide their work until it reaches some level of perfection. Usually this level is unattainable, especially when you bring number four into the mix. Your creation is your gift to the world, but a gift ungiven is not a gift. At some point, you have to let the world see what you have done.

7. Have a thick skin. Rest assured, there was someone who thought Michelangelo’s, DaVinci’s, Rembrandt’s, Van Gogh’s (fill in your favorite creative’s name here)’s work was pure crap (can I say that here?). Not everyone will like your stuff. With critics, you have two choices, learn from them if they have something of value to offer, or ignore them. Art is subjective. Some people will hate it and many will have no problem telling you they hate it. Glean what you can and move on.

I was going to share my goals for the year here, but I decided not to. I don’t want you to emulate my goals. Some people say I am very prolific, sometimes I think I’m crazy. I want you to create healthy, attainable goals that will stretch you, but not break you, not make you quit. Instead I will confess something. I didn’t make all my goals this year. I got really close, but a couple things just took longer than I imagined. In some cases, my life changed and goals changed with it. Here’s what I will say though. This has been among the best years of my life and probably my most successful. Want to know how I did it?

I trusted God and I kept going.

You can do that too.

  1. Awesome post. Thanks for the tips.

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