Every January, we take stock of our successes and failures and promise ourselves that this year will be different. This is the year we will do that thing we’ve been talking about doing forever or finally losing that 10 pounds. For some, just saying it is enough and they spring into action and make it a reality. For others, the days and months tick by, and all the good intentions and motivation they initially had, turns into a sense of disinterest, frustration or an overwhelming feeling of failure.
So why does this happen? What is the factor that turns all of our positivity and willpower into a deflated balloon of despair? Ok, that might be a bit dramatic, but the point is that for some another year of not following through with something can be really discouraging.
In my opinion, the biggest reason for this is not having a clear plan to execute the goal. For example, it’s not enough to say, I’m going to lose 10 pounds. How are you going to achieve that? What are the specific actionable steps you’re going to take to make that happen? Most people don’t get specific enough or they set steps that aren’t attainable.
As an artist, if your goal is to draw more, but your current schedule is packed from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. You are likely not going to meet that goal. Not without some sort of compromise or change in your current schedule. Ask yourself how important achieving this goal actually is to you.
It’s one thing to say I wish I had more time to draw and another to say that you need more time because it’s important to your emotional well-being and happiness. One sentiment relies on some magical act outside of your control to allow for more time. The other puts it in a place of importance that requires YOU to take the situation into your own hands.
When I was thinking about my business strategy for 2020, I knew I needed to do something completely different than I had before. Despite tracking to do even better numbers than the previous year, a wrench in my personal life that resulted in a halt of my usual efforts left my end-of-year stats in a less-than-desirable place. The good news is, life goes on, the world keeps turning, and my business didn’t implode because of it. Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you choose to look at it as an opportunity to learn.
Let’s go back to the example of drawing more. When I was deciding to take my art more seriously, it required making sacrifices. I realized I was watching way more tv than I really needed to. At first, I thought, I couldn’t possibly miss one of my favorite shows. So I would draw while it was on. Eventually, I lost interest in the show and had more interest in my drawing. My priority shifted and I eventually moved to my drawing desk instead of in front of the tv.
I truly believe that physically writing things down and making a solid plan is key to success. Now keep in mind this doesn’t mean perfection. Life can take a turn for all of us at any moment so all we can do is try to do our best. A great way to start is to make lists for yourself and keep them somewhere you can look at often. Maybe it’s on your phone or posted on a corkboard in your studio.
No matter what your goals are, breaking it down into specifics is a great way to ensure you stay on track. Using those small steps as mini-goals helps you feel less overwhelmed and increases the chances you’ll actually follow through.