Is it just me, or did it feel like all of 2020 was spent just "waiting it out". It kinda reminded me of my childhood in the 1970's on the Tug Hill Plateau in upstate New York. (And when I say Upstate NY, I don't mean 45 minutes north of New York City, but the truly Northern end of the state) We would get these ridiculously huge snow storms where you were lucky to make it the mailbox more less to the grocery store. You just spent the next few days, just waiting for the weather to break long enough to get shoveled out....or the sun to come out...or both. That's what 2020 felt like to me....just marking time
But honestly! Enough is enough. It's time to stop sleep walking through the weeks and set some goals. Now, don't get me wrong. Goals are different than resolutions which tend to point to everyday life improvements. Goals are specific deadlines or targets. It's a tangible finish line to reach too.
Apply this idea to your creative life and see how much you get done in 2021.
Okay, got it! So how do I do it?!
1. What are the results you want to see? Is it project driven like finishing two large quilts in 2021. Or maybe its technique driven...learning how to hand dye fabric. Or maybe its productivity driven...spending 20 hrs a week in your studio. Really the possibilities are endless. I suggest you sit down and think what is REALLY important to you! Brainstorm and make a list. Now prioritize it. Set the top few and file the rest for another time.
2. Now that you know what you want to do, you need a plan. You might have seen the acronym SMART around.
- SPECIFIC- Exactly what you want to accomplish
- MEASURABLE - Set up a way to keep track of your progress towards your goal. Set up milestones or "mini-goals" to meet
- ACHIEVABLE - Make sure that your goal and in extension the way you plan to obtain it are actually attainable. This process is meant to be empowering and productive not discouraging and depressing. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Is there someone knowledgeable that can help you with what you want to learn? Or maybe a friend or mentor that can hold you accountable to reaching your milestones. Set up the tools that will make your goal achievable
- RELEVANT - This is more important that you might think. Okay so say your goal is to make two full size quilts this year. Well that's all fine and good but why? Is it just to say "Hey look at me. I covered two beds in 2021!?" Or are those two more installments in your latest series of quilts? It's the difference between just randomly doing stuff just to have a goal for 2021 and using the goal to further the decade and eventually your whole creative life.
- TIME BOUND - Set a deadline....a REALISTIC deadline. I myself do well with mini-deadlines and treats along the way. With a deadline looming, it's easier to complete the goal.
how you intend to achieve them and exactly when they are to be done. I would also use visual ways of measuring...think GOLD STARS or Days to Christmas ... you know what I mean.
4. Take Action. Put your plan into practice. Use a charting system or calendar to mark off mini-achievements. Brag to your best friend how you're doing. Have her help you when ambition lags.
5. Reevaluate. Once the process starts, don't be afraid to reevaluate the goals and achievements. If the timeline needs to be changed, do it. The idea is to accomplish the goal, not to give up because it proved too unrealistic.
Writing this all out gives me hope that I will actually get something done in 2021. I'm still playing with the idea of putting my action plan on the blog and publicly being held accountable. Now THAT'S scary. But honestly after 2020, a little boot in the pants toward a bigger goal is a NOT a bad idea!
Anyways, I hope this helps you as much as it's helped me! Here's to a more productive 2021!