Sometimes we just need a reminder of things we already know. I can’t stress how important it is to go through exercises that clarify why you are doing what you are doing. There are more than enough people in the world to discourage you from going after the things that you want. You shouldn’t have to fight yourself as well. That being said, one of the exercises that I use on a regular basis is setting SMART goals and coming back to them every day to remind myself what my focus should be. I’m certainly not the first person to touch on this, but just like the way I remind myself of my goals, its always good to remind others about the things that really make sense. Smart goals can be set by making sure that your goals have these aspects:
A goal is a well defined target that gives you clarity, direction, motivation, and focus towards what you want. Your goal statement needs to reflect this. The goal needs to be significant enough to inspire you to move toward the life you want. It will be either towards something you want, or away from something you don’t want. If your goal statement is vague, you will find it difficult to achieve as the definition of success in this case will also be hard to define. A goal is not a Vision. It’s more concrete than that and should be treated as such.
It’s easier to track progress agains a goal if its measurable. Some goals of course are easier to measure – weight loss, running speed, income. Others are difficult as there might not be any apparent quantities that might define it. In these cases, you might find it necessary to develop a ranking system, or a measure of time spent on the goal. Measuring your progress helps you determine if you are going in the right direction and make any necessary adjustments along the way. This is one of the most important part of the process and is really a self-reflection exercise.
It’s time here to stop being abstract and dreamy about what you want. In this part you need to be able to have a goal that you can strategize and plan for. You don’t need to know all the details at this point but you need to know that when you do start working out your plan that your goal will be able to be achieved through some actions by you and anyone else involved. But it’s most important (and far more attainable) if you create goals that are under your direct control. Being the best actor in the world is not a goal, it’s a vision. Use your concrete goals to move toward your vision, not the other way around.
This goes back to making sure that your goal is actionable by you and well defined such that it can be realistically achieved by you. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you can make a plan to get from point A to point Z without ever having to change it. Keeping your goals realistic means making them small and achievable without being too depended on factors that are out of your direct control.
One of the most difficult parts for a Creative is to bring the time-bound aspect to their goals. In order to do this you need to make sure that you have a deadline for yourself. But you can’t rush the creative process you say?! I know, I know, but you need to make a clear difference between your vision, goals, and tasks required to achieve the life you really want.
Now get out there and create something!