realistic goal setting and all that...
I wanted to kick off Magical Grit with a topic that I have struggled with, failed at and still have to reassess regularly. And that's goal setting. It's easy to set goals, I love that part. It's fun, especially if you're a big ol dork like me and go wild when its time to buy new planners, colorful pens, etc. But sticking to them and achieving them, that's another story.
In case you have not read my intro to Magical Grit, I am writing this blog to document and share my creative journey to becoming a full time artist while balancing a job in the service industry which I have been in for over 21 years. I have been pursuing an art career for the last 6-8 years but I have done a lot of things wrong. You do not have to be in service to find this relatable or as I hope, inspiring! As great as this industry can be, if you're in it while pursuing a passion or another career and you're not careful it can be really easy to set your dreams aside for the quick, easy money, the flexible schedule, the lifestyle and so forth. And trust me, been there done that and I have wasted A LOT of valuable time because of these distractions. Anywhoo, lets get back on track. Goal setting.
First off, when I talk about realistic goal setting, that doesn't mean you shouldn't dream big! I mean to be realistic about your time and schedule and that can take a little trial and error! I am honestly still working on it. In the past I have set this crazy goals, like I am going to get 3 paintings done this week or I am going to do a whole new website in a week while working 5 days in a job or at times jobs that can be long hours and mentally/physically draining. And I have done this many times over. But what I have learned, is that at the end of each day, week, month when I did not come close to accomplishing these goals I started to feel bad about myself and that snowballs into losing confidence and motivation. You start believing that your dreams aren't possible, that you do not have enough time and it gets easier to be negative and put everything on the back burner. I've done the same with fitness. I'm like ok, I am going to go workout 4 or 5 days a week when I have not worked out in years!! Yea, no. I am not saying it isn't possible but you have ease your body and mind into these new habits and if you stick with them, working out 4 to 5 days a week will be no problem and you will get results. Same goes with creative goals.
So I start the year writing out my goals, creative and personal. Then I break down these goals with lists of ways they can be accomplished and steps I need to take. Then I break down a timeline to achieve each of these goals. I also make a list at the start of each month of what I want to get done that makes sense for my time. I do add a little extra on each month, week just in case I get everything done, I have one or two things ready in the forefront of my mind that I can get done.
This will look different for everyone so here are some key points to think about when setting goals with a your schedule.
1. How many hours are you going to work that week? I always add an extra 2-3 hours on what my scheduled hours are because in service work is unpredictable and what you thought was going to be an early night ends up being an ass kicking shit show.
2. How many hours do you want to commit to working on your craft each week?
Commit to that amount each week, even if you start with an hour. If you stay consistent that amount will grow. That reminds of one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou. She said, "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." It's so dang true!!! That's what I love about creating, the more you do the more it grows and so will your practice if you stick to it!
3. What times of day work best for you to get your work done? I am total night owl but honestly I am starting to shift my schedule to get a lot more done in the mornings/afternoons before work so when I get off, I do not have to stress about having the energy to get everything done and I can either relax or perhaps do a task that doesn't take to long, like newsletter or prep some paintings!
4. What days are best for getting the most done or perhaps the hardest tasks? I suggest getting the most annoying task or what maybe stresses you out of the way first! It's such a relief to get those things out of the way and the stress does not overflow into your creative practice.
5. Most what I think is most important, what brings you the most joy? Another mistake I've made, focusing too much on social media, marketing crap, how I need to master IG, Pinterest and all the things. Paying for courses I don't give AF about cause I felt it would make me more successful. But I spent so much more of my time than I should have been and it made me unmotivated and frankly really bored. So what I learned in a course I took recently from Ekaterina Popova (an amazing artist/mentor/bosslady) was the 80/20 rule. 80% on your craft, what you're good at. Then 20% on the marketing/business. At the end of the day you are a creative and we should be spending most of our time on that. That is what we need to master. We do not need to master the other stuff. Be good at? Absolutely. But master? No.
Working a full time job and trying to pursue a creative career is not for the faint of heart. It's really hard. You're going to want to give up and quit regularly. You're going to want to say fuck it to the work and watch TV, look at social media or whatever distraction is in your way. And you still will. I am not perfect, I still do it. It takes a shit ton of discipline to stay on track and focused. It's hard to tell yourself after a long rough day at work with your feet throbbing to be productive and get more work done. So first and foremost it has to bring you joy and you have to really really want it. There are no shortcuts, so get that out of your head. But I hope these small steps to reach your goals each week will help!
You might be asking, you've been trying to be a full time artist for 8 years and you're STILL in the service industry?? Why on earth would I listen to you? That's a fair question. I have made a lot of mistakes, I've put more energy into working for other people than my own craft, I've let distractions get the best of me and so on. You will learn more as you follow along with me. But I also have not been as consistent as I should have been in the past and it's taken me a long time to find my voice artistically. My goals have changed over the years too. Discipline has been a huge battle for me but I am at a turning point. Like I said, there are no shortcuts. It's a marathon not a sprint. I will always be honest with you and I have 100% faith in myself (I have my bad days, trust). I have the grit to make my dreams a reality. I have the magic in my soul to turn my dreams into art. And you better be dam sure my magical grit will get me my dream life.
Thank you for reading and feel free to message me with any questions or leave in comments!