Five Goals for the Creative Soul

light bulbs in the sky

New Year, New Plan

It’s New Year’s. Dang it.

Time to sit and think about what the hell happened to last year and how it got away from me. I am staring at my new beautiful blank 2017 planner that my wonderful sister-in-law gave me for Christmas, and I’m thinking about how I can most effectively use it. It’s too pretty to turn it into a big To Do list.

We all try to start the year off with good intentions. I’m not big on resolutions, however, I did join a gym the other day. Mainly because it’s a bargain this time of year. I have been driving past it every morning when I drop my son off at preschool and I simply ran out of excuses.

I am also running out of excuses on why I haven’t started this blog yet. As I finish up school this year, everything is still in start up mode. And my website and portfolio will always be “in motion”. The plan is to use this space as an outlet for a blogging and design experiment. It should be a creative journal that gets me writing, focused on my creative business and life, and helps me connect with others.

So I want to start off the new year with a new plan. I am kicking off my blog by spending some quality time on goal setting in attempt to help me change my attitude and thinking a bit.

Getting Real About Goal Setting

This year I wanted to find a way to set some meaningful, productive goals for myself that will compel me to actually accomplish those goals. That meant that I needed to get real about my goal setting practices. The truth is, I have never been very good at it. However, if you are like me, you might be a great list maker. I make lists for everything. My Evernote spews out endless lists of projects with action items with lists of more tasks. And there are many, many action items that are spilling over from last year.

But that’s ok, I own that. I am not going to let those lists stress me out and will continue to chip away at them as part of my process. Lists are not goals, they are just lists of stuff to do. I need to actually put some effort into it this year.

I know I need to organize my life. I know I need to work out. I know I need to finish strong in school. I know I need to set professional and financial goals, develop better business plans, systems, and forms. I know I need to work on my branding, finish my website and curate the most amazing portfolio ever. I know, I KNOW!

Seriously? Goal setting shouldn’t have to be this painful. It shouldn’t be a master task list either. I should dream big and chisel out some important life goals that will help shape my actions (and lists) that will ultimately get me where I need to go.

technology and coffee

Align Priorities With Your Life

The last time I thought about priorities was maybe… well, I don’t know. Priorities usually just fall into place naturally because we all have to prioritize our shizzle. Thinking back, I am not sure if my priorities and goals have never been completely lined up. My priorities compete against each other and why I have trouble focusing on more than one thing at a time. School competes with business, and personal competes with everything. I usually just go with the flow and whatever I am passionate about in that moment is my priority. That’s not really working for me and I need to ensure that my priorities and goals are aligned with the life I want to be living.

This year, take a close look at your priorities. Do your priorities align with the life you want to be living? Do your goals then support those priorities? Among my top priorities for 2017: to build a creative life and business that I will love. I have been working my ass off for a shiny new degree this year and I need to step up my game.

 

Five Creative Goals for the Creative Soul

With my priorities in check, I decided to develop a set of creative goals for the year. I can’t build a creative business without focusing on the creative. If I am not pursuing a creative track, I will most definitely be off track from my goals.

If you have a creative soul, you need to feed it. Even if you are not in a creative business, exercising those creative muscles can be very cathartic. It can also help you in other ways,  like taking a more creative approach to your business. Maybe it can help you examine and solve a business problem in a more creative way. Taking regular creative breaks can help you take fresh approaches to other areas in life. So here goes.

Creative Goal #1: Just Start!

“A good beginning is half the task.” -Random Fortune Cookie

The goal of all goals is number one. Just start! Get out of the planning phase and dive into creating, whatever that looks like. If you can just start that project, your creative energy will give you the momentum you need. Give the project a name and let it take on a life of its own.

This first blog post is inspired by goal #1. Seriously, JUST START! This is not only a goal, it is my mantra for the year.

Creative Goal #2: Practice Daily Creative Rituals

I intend to add one or more creative practice to my daily routine. You may already do something to kick off your day like prayer, meditation, exercise, or whatever. You might sit and drink a couple cups of coffee while you plan out your day. Adding a creative ritual can be anything that wakes up your creative spirit. You don’t have to be in a creative business to a creative ritual.

Start a sketch journal or a fun photo project. Write something. Be sure to make the time to do something creative for your soul every day. Pinteresting doesn’t count, you can always take a Pinterest break later for additional inspiration.

Creative Goal #3: Always Learning

I will set aside time every week to learn something new and apply it. During my school journey, I am grateful for the knowledge I have gained. There is so much more to learn and skills to build upon. The world of IT and design is a fluid and ever-evolving industry that will always demand that I set aside time for additional learning.

Don’t let it overwhelm you and try to make it fun. I am going to choose a learning theme every week and schedule time throughout the week to work on it. This week, I chose blogging. I am not sure how I’m doing, but at least I wrote my first blog post.

Creative Goal #4: Stay Open

I intend to stay open to creative forces that will come my way. Inspiration can come from anywhere and all ideas are possibilities. I will not try to create a niche business for myself just yet and will keep an open mind about different types of projects.

I will keep this space open to write about anything that motivates me to write. And I will continue to keep an idea journal.

Creative Goal #5: Be Fearless

I intend to be fearless in pursuing every project or idea. I need to let go of the control that fear can have over me. It is difficult to live a creative existence when fear gets in your way.  My Grandfather will be 90 years old later this month. He has always been fearless when it came to pursuing his passions (and maybe a little obsessive). He fearlessly left his farm heritage in Kansas and took his family to California for a teaching position, later a principal. He retired early to became a watercolor artist full time, then an entrepreneur and later in life, a writer. He held gallery shows, published his own books and fearlessly put his work out into the world.  He took very creative approaches in life and business- it showed in his marketing and even in his business processes.
Grandpa is an inspiration to me on how it is never too late to try something new. It just took me a while. I think I read once that procrastination is based in fear, which can be a problem for me. Be fearless and refer back to Creative Goal #1.

Conclusion

I think goal setting is like a bad map analogy.  You might be driving in the right general direction, but that dang map app will get you exactly where you need to go every time.

I jumped on the New Year’s planning band wagon with my first blog post, but it is a start and also helped me check a couple things off my list. I am now inspired to make my new planner into a creative and editorial calendar.

-Mel

Mel Sweet Design logo with oak leaf and web address

 

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