So, I made a list of goals, turned my back, and the trolls took them off in a sack!
“Write out your goals” “Do you have a goal?” I’ve heard said this forever and a day and I bet you have too!
Some people are simply good at goal setting – you know them, they faithfully write their goals on a list, add some secret fairy dust to get them done, while others… their list gets shoved in with a miscellaneous stack of papers somewhere and never seen again (those trolls took them! 😉 )
Guess what!? I found the fairy dust! And I want to share it with YOU!
(psst! I’ve made it simple for you and created a system and checklist called, Dream to DONE!, that you can download at the end of this post)
What good are goals and lists that if they never become your reality?
The magic fairy dust for setting goals is … Structure!
Yuk! Structure!! I know, I know, structure and artistic chaos, creativity and freedom seem to be at odds, think about this quick example:
If a river has no structure, it would be a swamp; the ocean, we’d be swimming in Iowa.
If an artist has no structure, work is often in an endless state of incompletion, clients are rarely spoken to and income comes from other sources.
So, how do you dip your toe into creating structure for yourself? Well, one way to dangle the carrot is by setting real goals – the ones that you dream about and secretly squeeze your heart and brain to try to force them into reality.
If you haven’t read the post on Focus, you can get the set-up for talking about goals and structure with this quote: “Structure and focus are not big hairy monsters – salivating at every opportunity to squash creativity and freedom!”
Think about these three basic umbrella ideas to understand why setting goals are the key:
- Goals without structure are quickly tossed.
- To create structure you need to be motivated.
- To be motivated you need to be inspired!
Now, let’s create an outline and set up a system (simple steps) that takes you from starting with your dreams to making them a reality. Don’t worry about writing this down right now – you can download this outline as a pdf in the link at the end of this post. (This is a general process to building a good foundation for your goals and one you can follow for all of your creative projects).
Outline: Dream to Done*
>>Think of this outline like the framework of a house – the skeleton and guide that show where the rooms will be:
DREAM: No boundaries or rules, dream like a kid, doesn’t have to make sense or be connected to survival.
ACTION: Draw or write them down. Moleskine’s or blank sketchbooks are nice.
INSPIRATION: Ideas pop in, write them down. A conversation with friends, looking over your dream sketchbook, make notes about them or sketch them out.
ACTION: Color or highlight the one’s you’re most excited about.
MOTIVATION: Look over those ideas and dreams you’ve highlighted.
ACTION: Write them on a separate sheet of paper – all by themselves.
FOCUS: Of the ideas you’ve written on a separate paper, which ones are most exciting? Which ones are easiest to see actually happening?
ACTION: Make notes by each one of them and a date when you want it to become real. Put a star by the ones that you are really excited about.
STRUCTURE: Put your ideas in order of the ones you’ll focus on first, from top to bottom.
ACTION: Start calling these ideas “Goals” and stop shoving them in a closet.
CREATION: Make a commitment to working on a task that supports your goals everyday. When it rains, when you’re happy, when you’re pouty, when you’re crying.
ACTION: Do at least one task every day that leads to your goals. Even if you only review your goals and schedule for the next day – do that. (There is a system you can follow below that might help).
JOY: Each time you check off a task or item on your list to do, recognize that little spark of joy that you feel when that item is done!
ACTION: Celebrate EACH step you complete. Pick a big treat if you like for getting stuff done. Hey, maybe a weekly gift to yourself for what you’ve accomplished that week!
MONEY: Give priority to a goal that will bring in income.
ACTION: Pick the thing you’ve put off, that call, the painting, the showing up and DO IT. Huge win, huge treat waiting for you!
FREEDOM: As you complete tasks, they magically disappear from your next day’s list! You make room for greater things and you gain your confidence from your own accomplishments. You’re doing things that make you feel good and pay the bills. ACTION: Celebrate and keep it up! Don’t get lazy or stop moving forward – the momentum you’re building is a living ‘thing’ and if you stop, it stops.
DREAM: Play, dream, no boundaries or rules – keep the dream funnel open.
ACTION: Schedule time to just dream and play to feed your new dream structure machine! Start at the top again – such fun!
*If you follow that line, and the checklist that you can download below, Your dreams will become real things to enjoy in your life and you will find your freedom that you crave.
Think of structure as your superhero suit to fly to freedom.
Keep this in mind: Exercises are about building confidence, defining and restructuring your belief in yourself. This isn’t a test, it’s an opportunity to begin again with a fresh focus.
Got any good tips to add to the list? Please share them in the comments below.
Got a daily routine?
Up early, stretch/exercise, meditation/visualize your day, writing/journaling.
Be fiercely protective of your work and rituals.
Go get ’em!
A Few Extra Resources to help you get things done:
photo: Kevin Dooley