Many people think of New Year resolutions as simply a silly list of things to do that we turn around and break within weeks. However this does miss an opportunity in shaping want to achieve.
Some people let life just happen to them while others want to take control and shape their life as much as possible. As anyone who has been through a natural disaster knows we do not have total control over what happens in life but I am one of those that attempts to shape my life where I can and learn from what I cant. For me Goal setting is important and I am currently thinking about what I want to do next year.
Somebody once said to me that
A dream is a dream
A Goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline
For goal setting to work it has to be clearly defined, measurable, realistic and have a dead line.
Instead of saying “I want do more drawing in my visual journal” state that you want to work in your studio journal for 30 minutes 3 days a week.
Measure your goal
An aspect of being specific is measurement. Make sure you can measure your goal. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight” state that you want to lose 5 kilos. Or instead of saying “I want to do TAST” state next year “I want work 20 stitches in the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge”
Set realistic goals
Look at what is possible in your life. I know I am not able draw for 2 hours each day, every day of the year. I am too busy but I can find 30 minutes for two days a week on the weekend. That would be an easy goal. Since the goal is to draw more and to push myself I can reasonably set a goal of 30 minutes 3 days a week. It is a realistic goal with a bit of challenge.
Keep it simple
Focus your energy on fewer but clearly defined goals. Some people have huge long lists of goals that never get done. It easier to simplify a list down and tackle a few things one at a time. I make sure my list will fit on an index card. This makes me prioritise my most important goals and makes for very clear targets to work towards.
Have a deadline
A deadline avoids setting vague or distant goals. Define what you are going to do and when. It is easy to let time slide by but if you set a deadline you are constantly reminded that you need to work towards that goal if you are going to achieve it.
Plan how you will achieve your goal
Think about how you might accomplish your goals. Some folks might say “I want to do crazy quilting” instead of “I want to enrol in a crazy quilt class.” Figure out how you are going to achieve your goal and make a step towards it.
Break your large goal down into smaller parts
Sometimes a goal is too big to envision yourself being able to do it. Break your large goal down into smaller goals. So if you want to make a crazy quilt. Think in terms of making 8 or 12 blocks. Make each block the goal.
It is easy to set as goal but staying motivated can be an issue for some. I have a few tips to stay motivated
Constantly remind yourself
Affirmative repetition reminds you of your goal. Some people make a note and stick it on their fridge door or inside their wardrobe cupboard or inside the cover of studio journal to remind them constantly of what they are working towards. I pin a note on the wall in front of my desk and often also have it an image on computer desktop too. No matter what you do find a way to constantly remind your self what you want to achieve.
Declare your goal publicly and be accountable. If you commit yourself publicly to a goal, through a forum, on a blog or to friends and family apart from the fact that none of us likes to look bad, in voicing a commitment solidifies that goal. Once you have stated publicly that you have a goal be accountable to that group of people and report back to them weekly or monthly, what ever is appropriate and stick do it! This of course is the principal behind Work in Progress Wednesdays on this blog.
Avoiding getting side tracked
I am a great one for getting side tracked particularly online! So when I sit down I ask myself. How does this advance me towards my goal. Be aware of your actions and allow yourself to be deflected from your goal. Spend time planing, but dont use preparations, and research to avoid setting real goals and working towards them.
Be kind to yourself
It takes time to established a new habit. Don’t beat yourself up if you get side tracked just remind yourself of what your goal is and set about getting back on track. This year I took part in the Crazy Quilt Journal Project and many readers watched as I fell behind. Life happens and often life is not lived on timetable. Nothing wrong with that (in fact it can make for an interesting time of it) but once the side track has run its course return to your main goal.
It is OK to change
Goals change and that is OK to. Sometimes a goal is not clearly defined, or its meaning changes. It’s OK to change and often this means growth if you no longer have that goal it is simple set new ones and change direction. In the textile world this particularly applies to projects started and not completed. If something is unfinished ask yourself if you really want it perhaps you have grown in another direction and its time simply to toss it! Radical thought I know, but it is liberating as it frees up time for things you want to do.
What do you think?
What do you do to achieve your goals. Do you set them, meet them or forget them? If you have any further tips share it in a comment. I would love to read it.