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What Can You Do?

We humans love lofty goals. It makes sense. When you do something huge, it feels great, and it makes for great stories. We love those big success stories, and we want them for ourselves!

And really, there's nothing wrong with aiming for the huge wins. Why not? We just have to remember to keep our definition of success flexible and wide, give ourselves time to do the work, and stick with things that are in our control.

That last part there? That's the most important. Don't measure your wins with things you have no control over. For example:

  • Is your goal to be an author? You can't make a big publishing company choose your book. You can make a writing schedule and stick to it, send things out to agents and markets regularly, join a good writing group, keep taking next steps to be a better writer and reach out to those agents and markets with new work.
  • If you want to lose weight, don't say "I'm going to lose 5 lbs. a week until I reach my goal." That exact number is not actually in your control. Instead, choose getting in a certain amount of exercise each week, making sure to get produce in at each meal, drinking enough water every day. You can control all of that, and it will move you toward your goal.
  • Want to get a new job? Don't tell yourself you'll get a new job that pays X amount of money by a certain date. Instead, make small goals with steps like refreshing your resume, sending out a certain number of applications each week, taking classes to boost your credentials.

I see a lot of people in my creative circles and in the schools I teach in making goals that are outside of their control. And all this does is set you up for failure, which in turn leads so often to giving up. So if you have goals, yay! It's great to have things we're aiming for and things to focus on. And there's nothing wrong with keeping a wishlist that includes having your novel picked up by a big publisher or getting a new job that pays twice as much as the one you're in. But don't make those wishes your goals. Make your goals things you can control, break them into small steps and take those steps.

So what would you like to do? What steps in your control will move you in the direction you want to go? I'd love to hear your dreams and plans. Drop me a note in the comments!

Until next time,


8 thoughts on “What Can You Do?

  1. Susan

    Crafting goals are small like the ICAD at the moment. Although a few years ago I challenged myself to make an ATC every day for a year . I achieved this but not tried anything similar since.
    Our big challenge at the moment is to design a house which we will have built on the block we have bought...

    1. Kim

      I love small goals! It's so nice to get things done and repeat it, and the small goals make it a lot easier but it's still really satisfying. I have done some full-year challenges, and they are also gratifying, but they take a lot.

      The house thing is a huge challenge! Creatively, logistically--it's so exciting, though!

      1. Susan Renshaw

        We think we are about there with the house design - but next it all has to be approved. I don't expect we will be moving in for a year - but wherever we go we see features in other houses that we might adopt - and plants for the garden. At the moment it is just rough ground!!

        There is always the losing weight goal!

        1. Kim

          The house planning is so exciting! So much inspiration all over the place, and such a wide canvas to work with right now.

          Ah the losing weight, health, etc. I have too much to say there, I think I'll be quiet for now! 😀

  2. elle

    Small regular challenges are my small goals this year, so the 100 day project (done) the ICAD challenge (nearly halfway), Inktober (October) and so on, plus I have other personal challenges I set myself. My big goal is to move to another place but that might take a bit longer and a lot of it is out with my control lol

    1. Kim

      I love all those small goals throughout the year. Always something to look forward to!

      It's hard when there are parts of what we want that aren't in our control! Good luck with it all!

  3. Lisa Andruszkow

    I am trying to learn to take smaller steps with things, smaller goals. To make smaller goals to get to the big goal. If I just go for the big one, with an all or nothing thought pattern I'm doomed to fail I think or at least it's my perception. But if I make the big goal and then break it down into smaller goals, I can see the progress.

    1. Kim

      Oh yes! Small steps you know you can take, and then you get that boost from accomplishing things. It's so good!

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