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It all comes down to you

Achieving goals

We went to an indoor rock climbing place for my son’s birthday. I knew he wanted us all to climb and I was fine with that. I’d done it years ago, so I thought it would be no problem. I was all harnessed up, at the bottom of the first wall, when I realized this was going to require effort! If I wanted to get up there, I was going to have to pull myself up. You’re probably saying, “well of course.” I don’t know what I was thinking! For some reason I thought it was going to be easy.

I started climbing and even though I refused to look, I sensed that I was getting further and further from my family, and higher and higher. I’m definitely more anxious than I was years ago, when I last tried it. I becoming afraid of going too high and didn’t make it to the top of that wall, or the next one. I did make it to the top of the wall in this photo!

I couldn’t help but see the analogy between climbing and achieving goals. We might start out thinking that painting, or writing a book, or whatever, won’t be that hard, but when you really get into it, you realize it is. Even if the process (of painting or writing or whatever) is easy for you, the commitment and dedication to finish a project is hard. And when you put yourself out on a limb and go for a goal, even with your family supporting you, it can still be scary.

One of the main things that helps me achieve goals is focus. I try to think carefully about what I want to spend my time on, what goals are important to me. If I pick a project on a whim, I can lose interest or confidence in the project, and I end up jumping from idea to idea without accomplishing anything. But with a carefully selected goal in mind, I have an easier time staying on task. I may falter for a time but the importance of the project will bring me back around.

What helps you achieve your goals?

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A busy holiday season and how I set myself up for failure

  
After Halloween, I wrote a long list of all the creative things I wanted to accomplish before Christmas. I wanted to make paintings as gifts, do Christmas crafts, and on and on.

I thought with Christmas two months off, there was plenty of time. I was so wrong. The list was totally unrealistic. My life is pretty busy already with three kids, a husband, my own business, running, etc. During the holiday season things obviously get busier with parties, trips to the city, decorating, shopping, baking, etc. 

It’s important for me to recognize the reason why I failed to get these additional things done. Because my first instinct is to feel bad about it. When I realize there wasn’t time I feel better. It’s why most people who create for Christmas (professionally) start in July. 

I will try that this Summer, if I can get into the holiday spirit. I’ll also try to be more realistic and plan ahead – way ahead!


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Self imposed deadlines {and a leaf pattern}

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I remember, way back in elementary school, staring a project early, but never finishing it until the night before it was due. I needed the deadline to motivate me to finish.

All these years later I know the power deadlines have to motivate me. Now, I’m using this to my advantage. If I want to accomplish something I set a deadline. In my work, these soft deadlines are supported by the client waiting for the final product. In my creative life, these “made up” deadlines are supported by you. If I write on the blog, I’m going to do something, I intend to follow through on that promise. Whether anyone remembers or not!

This leaf pattern design is my October surface design. Yes, I’m a couple of days late, but I got caught up in my Halloween creations!

I’ve designed one a month this year! That’s 10 so far! I’m really proud that I set “surface design” as a goal for 2015 and have achieved it. I designed the first one in January. That’s when I committed to “a design a month.’ Setting the monthly deadline has made all the difference in pushing myself and getting it done.

Have you set deadlines for yourself? How did that work out? If you haven’t, are you considering it now? I’d love to hear!

If you’d like to learn how to turn your artwork into a repeating pattern, read this recent post.


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Writing a checklist to help you achieve your Creative Goals

watercolorinkleaves
I’ve learned so much since starting my creative resolution in 2014. About how important setting a goal is. But, not only do we have to set a goal, we need to outline the tasks that will get us there.

My 2014 creative resolution, or goal, was very simply to “be creative.” Early on I wrote (and adapted as I went on) a “weekly checklist” or a set of tasks that would help me achieve my goal. They were:

My 2014 Weekly Checklist:

  • 3 pencil sketches – “5 minute sketches”
  • 1 watercolor
  • 1 acrylic
  • illustration (children’s book illustration style)

As the year went on I added things like “figure drawing” to my list, and, as I focusted more on watercolor, acrylic painting moved to my monthly list.

My 2014 Monthly Checklist:

  • learn a new technique (from a video, book, etc.)
  • 1 acrylic painting
  • “other” project (furniture, wood, etc.)

My 2015 creative resolution or goal was to “continue my creative journey.” Right from the start of 2015 I wrote a list of things I have always wanted to try. Some of these things were one time “tries,” while others I incorporated into my checklist (see the last three items).

My 2015 Checklist:

  • Try one thing from “the list” each month
  • Create almost daily (and post on Instagram)
  • Paint with watercolor at least once a week
  • Doodle with ink almost daily
  • Design a pattern a month
  • Practice hand lettering at least once a month

As the new year gets closer and closer, I’m excited to set a new goal, a new creative resolution. I’ve grown so much, I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings! 🙂