Posts Tagged ‘goal setting’

Hopefully by now, you’ve started to recognize your gift. You might even be beginning to discern your calling. There might even be the kernel of an idea, or a project forming. We’ve dealt a little bit with fear of failure, though for most of us that is an ongoing process. Now let’s direct your attention to the goal. What do you want to accomplish and what would success look like for what you want to do?

For this part of the exercise it is helpful to begin with the end in mind. What will change when you have finished what you’re about to start? What will your life be like when you have accomplished your goal? What does your creation look like? Who will it help? How will the Kingdom be advanced? The list could go on and on. It is always good to visualize these things ahead of time, because the distance between a dream and reality can sometimes be long and difficult. Visualizing the end from the beginning will help to spur you on, even in the most difficult moments.

Once you can envision your mission accomplished, the next step is to “draw” the map. How will you get there from here. Again sometimes it is helpful to work backwards from the goal. The reason for this is simple, looking from where you are currently to where you want to be can be discouraging. The distance can start to look too long. You can start to focus on what you don’t have and after a while that self defeating word “can’t” will start to creep in. Regardless of which perspective you take, starting from your current position or working backwards from the goal. what you are ultimately looking for are manageable steps. There’s an old African saying that asks, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is “One bite at a time.” and so it is with goals.

Goals become a lot less intimidating when we break them down. Stop thinking about how much you have to do and begin to ask “What is the next right thing I can do on my way to my goal?” Stop looking at what you don’t have, and start to consider what you can do with what you have today that will move you closer to your goal.

The idea is simple. Your goal is reachable, especially if it is a God-given goal. The key is to not get intimidated or give in to discouragement and see this thing through to completion. Our faith allows us to trust in the One who reminds us, “He who began a good work in you, will carry it through to completion in the day of Christ Jesus.” If He put it on your heart, He will carry it through to completion. He desires to do this work through us, but it ultimately depends on Him. We need just to move forward in faithfulness.

Assignment: Start to formulate your goals. At this point, do not allow negative thinking to enter the picture. Instead, visualize your goal accomplished and begin to write down some steps on how to get there.

I’m only making one resolution this year and that is to avoid getting caught up in things over which I have no control. Things like politics. My word for the year is “REVIVAL” and the plan is to work toward things in Christ that will reach people and bless them, pointing them to the only real hope, Jesus Christ. He can turn this nation around, and frankly, He is the only One.

Now onto the focus of this site. First of all, I apologize, I got really busy this year and my posting here as suffered, as a result, my readership has shrunk a bit. So if you’re still here, thank you and my goal is to do better in 2019. I honestly feel like the things I do in ministry and in encouraging all the people God puts into my life to use their gifts to serve Him is probably the best way I can work toward revival. Hopefully you, dear reader will reap the benefits of that. So here are a few of the goals I have set for the year.

On this blog: I hope to post at least five days a week this year. I also plan to post creative challenges based on Scripture on a regular basis. I am unsure of the frequency of these, but I was thinking about daily. If you decide to do these, don’t feel pressured to do them all, just all them to inspire you to create. I would appreciate your feedback on the frequency and the content.

As far as the other content, I am hoping do more informational content as is usual, but I am also hoping to create more downloadable content that people can use in churches, etc.

Some of the art I have been doing over the last year or so, has not really fit into the content of this page so I’ve decided to move that over to a page a started a long time ago and left got dormant. It’s called Beware of Artists. The title is based on a quote attributed to Queen Victoria that said, “Beware of artists, they mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous.” That’s the kind of “dangerous artist” I want to be.

Creacher, my webcomic also continues. I hope you enjoy it.

My hope is to do even more speaking this year. I have set a goal of 40 engagements this year, Lord willing.

On the personal side, I want to finish the class work for my Masters and get to work on my thesis. The theme I am planning on is one that is near and dear to my heart, namely “The Imaginative Church.” I also want to finally finish my novel “Masterpiece Max” and I have outlined another book of prompts which will be available soon. In my church ministry, my big goals include encouraging the people to be in the Word and to find new ways to use their gifts to serve the Lord and reach out community.

Now of course all of these are goals, and as I look at the list, I’ll be the first to admit, it looks aggressive, but it gives me something to shoot for. I will break these down into manageable steps and hopefully will accomplish.

What about you? What are your goals for 2019?

A long time ago I came up with the idea for a book called The Elephant Cookbook. Ironically, based on the topic, I never finished it. I came up with a format that was clunky and a cute way of presenting the material that I just couldn’t quite make work. It’s still in my idea file and I pray that it can come together one day, but I had other projects that were ready to go and succeed so I changed my focus to bring them to life.

The idea behind The Elephant Cookbook was based on the idea of working on multiple deadlines, constant pressure and a to do list that seems like it will never get done. The title was conceived from the old joke, “How to you eat an elephant?”

“One bite at a time.”

I’ve been there often. There is so much work to be done and you don’t know how you’ll ever accomplish it all. It all gets very daunting and if you look at it as a huge pile, the discouragement can become crippling. But what would happen if you ate that elephant one bite at a time, i.e. What if you broke the project down into small manageable steps and then set about to check each of those steps off your list one at a time. All of the sudden, each step accomplished feels like a victory and the more you check off the better you feel until all that’s left of that “elephant” are the bones.

Breaking things down into manageable steps is often the best way to reach your dreams and accomplish your goals. Now I just need to work out the bugs in The Elephant Cookbook. Oh and by the way it is okay to put a stuck project aside. Just don’t make a habit of starting without finishing. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. Most of the time, you just need to take another bite and keep chewing.

One last thing, don’t leave God out of this process. He has come through for me when I was in over my head so many times it’s not even funny.

goal222It’s getting to be that time of year when we set our goals for the coming year. I know some of you have been all over this for weeks already, but the rest of us are catching up. The thing with goals is they are kind of like those New Years Resolutions we make that are all broken by the end of the month, if it lasts that long. Why is it that we fail at meeting our goals so often. I think a key is sustainability.

My wife follows a number of fitness people online. The one person said she is frequently asked what diet people should follow. Her answer was telling. She said the diet you should follow is the one you will follow. This is amazingly accurate. The key to setting goals is to challenge yourself to go up a level while considering the time and resources you have available to meet those goals. The best goals to set are the ones you are passionate enough about to complete.

Case in point. I set a goal last year to create a piece of art every day this year. I knew I could get this done, but I also came at it realistically. I knew there would be days when I would not have time to create, and I try to take a day of rest each week, but I also knew there would be many days I would create multiple pieces, so it all balanced out. I have actually already gone well over 365 pieces this year, as my coloring books alone have gone over 400 pages. Also this is a daily blog, but I know there are days when I won’t get it done. (I am about three or four days behind as I write this, sorry.) My reality is, with all the diverse projects that I do, there are days where the time just gets away from me. Of course, there are other days where I get really inspired and write multiple posts. The point is at the end of the year, I will have posted 365 or more posts, the goal keeps me on task.

This year as you set goals, try to set goals you are passionate enough about to complete. Set god goals and follow through, then do all you can to make it happen.

settinggoalsWe’re just a few days from a brand new year. It’s a great time to consider where you’d like to be at the end of it. This is big picture time. Don’t worry about the details. They will only bog you down at this point. Where would you like to be? Where do you feel God leading? If you don’t know the answer to this question, pray! Next look at where you are. Are you happy? Satisfied? Feeling good about the future? If you are, there are still goals to set. You need to maintain forward trajectory, and keep on going.

If you need to make some changes, where do you want to go? The first step in getting somewhere is knowing where you’re headed. Let’s help each other out. Share your goals here and we’ll try to help each other formulate steps to reach our goals.

Share your goals in the comment below.

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.

elephantcookbookYou’re not going to learn anything from today’s post, but you could gain a lot. You see the math here is so simple any second grader could do it, but the outcome of learning this simple truth could be astounding.

Is there something you would like to accomplish? Does it seem like it may be too large for you to do. Does the size of it seem daunting? Does that “dauntingness” make you give up? You need to change your thinking with simple math.

Here’s an example from my real life. I am wanting to create one of those adult coloring books, with the really complex designs that are a gateway to creativity for many people, some of whom have long since put creativity out of their minds. It looks as though I will need about 100 pages. At that level of complexity 100 pages of art would be enough to make me say, “Forget it.” Of course if you’re a long time reader here, you know that’s not my style and it doesn’t have to be yours either. While 100 illustrations seems daunting, I can easily do one or two a day, three on a good day. That means I can finish the project in one to three months. That feels a lot more doable doesn’t it. It’s simple math 100 divided by 1 = 100, 100 divided by 2 = 50. You get the point. 365 blog posts feels really huge, one a day is really manageable, and guess what, in one year, 365!

Want to write the great American novel? 320 pages is probably about an average length. Seems like a lot, but can you write one page a day? Of course you can, and your novel with edits and everything else can be done in less than a year. Want to create a body of art for an exhibition. Figure out how many pieces you need. Set a goal of when you want it done and do some simple division. It’s really all about goal setting and dividing that goal into manageable chunks, then faithfully carrying out your goal each day.

So what happens if you don’t meet it? You get busy. You get lazy. Something unforeseen happens. Simple, you pick up where you left off and keep moving forward. If the deadline is self imposed, it’s really just a matter of pushing back your goal a bit. If it’s imposed by someone else, you have some catching up to do, but you can do it.

You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t start. So start, set a sensible goal, a sensible deadline and do the math.

It really is that simple.

This is one of the hardest things for me and it probably is for you as well. It is for many creatives. Our brains are usually going 90 miles a minute through 60 different ideas and to be clear, having a lot of ideas is a great thing for a creative. Ideas our life blood and they are a blessing from God. The problem is having too many things going simultaneously becomes distracting and can actually keep us from our goals. Here are a few things you can do to keep focused:

1. Post your goals.

Remember yesterday we talked about writing your goals down. Having them somewhere where you can see them will help you to run your ideas through a filter. Each time you get a new idea, run it by your vision and your goals. If the idea will not move you closer to those goals(and be tough about this) it will become a distraction so put it aside.

2. Store your ideas.

I did just day that ideas are a blessing from God. That means they have immense value. You don’t want to trash them just because they don’t fit with your goals. Write them down. Sketch them out. I have a shelf filled with sketch books that contain drawings that I can return to at a moments notice. I also keep a sketch book with me at all times for when inspiration hits. In this wayI can store the idea and get quickly back to this things which are priorities.

3. Prioritize.

We all have limited time so look at all the things you have to get done in a given day and prioritize them. DO NOT look at your huge pile of things and get defeated. Pick the things you can get done and do them. Each step toward your goal is a step forward.

4. Breathe.

God commanded the Israelites to take a Sabbath under penalty of death. Seems like rest is pretty important to Him. Taking a break allows us to remember something very important. It all depends on Him and we depend on Him and it doesn’t all depend on us. If you think that everything rests on your shoulders, the wrong one is on the throne in your life. Remember these goals are God-given. God is not a vicious task master ready to step on you if you fail to keep them. He loves you and he’s allowing you to work by his side. I’ve shared this picture before. I share it here as a reminder.


I had to paint the shed. My son was three years old at the time and he wanted to “help.” I knew it was going to be a mess. I knew I could have done it faster myself. but every time I look at this picture it brings me unspeakable joy. My child wanted to be like his daddy. This is our efforts at serving God. He doesn’t need our help. He could do it better and faster without us, but it brings Him joy. Don’t burn yourself out serving the Lord. That’s actually a form of idolatry. Instead, love and serve Him and rest in Him.

Stay focused on Him and the goal will take care of itself.

Happy New Year!

It’s the big day, New Years Day, the day that people proclaim their New Years Resolutions. Here’s what I want you to do with your new years resolutions…

Forget them!

C’mon, chances are you’re going to do that anyway. These resolutions are by definition things we are going to attempt to do in our own strength, which is usually the reason they don’t make it past January 31. Instead of making resolutions look toward your God-given vision and mission and set some goals… things to work toward with God’s help in the year ahead. These goals should all be things that move you closer to God’s will for your life. Here are some steps toward setting those goals.

Step 1: PRAY!!!!!

Yes I know all caps are shouting, that’s what I’m doing here, because this is the most important step. Without prayer these goals are just another doomed-to-fail resolution. I know it’s a cliche but if God is your co-pilot, switch seats and let God drive. Don’t pray to invite God into your idea, ask God for his idea, His path, His goals.

Step 2. Write them down.

There’s something about  writing things down that helps make things a little more real. So write them down and place them somewhere that you will see them every day. Be as specific as possible.

Step 3. Break them down.

It’s okay if your goals are huge. God-given things often are. It’s okay if they’re not going to be complete by December 31. Sometimes God defies our timelines and that’s okay because He’s God and is not bound by timelines. What you don’t want to do though is have something that is so big that you feel you’ll never get there and quit. The way to accomplish a big goal is to break it down into small bites, small steps that you can chip away at until you reach your goal. When Michelangelo sculpted his David, he turned an immensely hard piece of rock into one of the greatest works of art the world has ever seen. He didn’t hit the block once and expect perfection, he took his chisels and chipped away. Your masterpiece life is the same way.

Step 4. Be faithful.

Part of chipping away at something is to keep chipping. When you have a God given vision or goal it’s a journey, the key is to keep making the next right step forward, doing what it takes to reach the goal.

Step 5. Accountability

One of the best ways to stay faithful on goals is to share them with others who will check up on you to see how you’re doing. In my case, this year I am going to post my goals here, so that as I work through them, I can share the progress. In addition I work with a coach, who helps keep me on track. This is someone I respect deeply, who respects me, but is also close enough to me to check me and help me to stay on track. I also have a few other friends who will help me to stay on track (more on that tomorrow).

Step 5. Be flexible.

People often ask me, “How do I know if a goal is from me or from God?” The truthful answer is, sometimes you don’t. It’s be nice if it was always a “bolt from the blue” experience, but that is not always the case. I believe it was the band .38 Special who wrote “Hold on loosely.” It was a song about a romantic relationship, but it also applies to our goals. If we hold on to God tightly and our goals loosely, it allows God to guide is from the stuff that is just us and more deeply into the things that are of Him.

As a sidebar, just because things get tough doesn’t mean God’s not in them. Do all that you do to God’s glory.

There’s one more big part of this that we will touch on tomorrow.

In the mean time here are some of my goals for the coming year.

1. To do 50 creative arts ministry programs this year. (Last year I posted a goal of 15 presentations and Got to do 25.)

2. To develop a new full length art ministry presentation and two workshops.

3. To finish my vacation Bible School presentation (It’s booked in one church already, so it will be done, but I’d also like to try to book it in at least three more places).

4. To work up a secular creativity presentation for schools and businesses.

5. To post a blog post here every day and grow this tribe.

6. To finish the book projects I have underway. (1001: A Sketch Odyssey, Running A.M.O.K. II and God and the Creative Process)

7. To post to each day (most of these have already been worked up).

8. To post a Creachertoon five days a week and discern whether it is being effective enough to continue in 2014.

9. To be one-on-one coaching at least five creative ministry people by the end of the year.

There are a few more that I am still discerning and one or two of these may not make it, but this is where I am headed. I know I want to do a few philanthropic things this year, I’m just not sure what they are yet.

What are your goals for 2013? Share them in the comments section if you feel so led.