Tag: goals

Routines

Small actions, when they’re done consistently, can really add up.

A group of these small actions makes up a routine. Routines are amazing. Why?

 ① You are improving whatever actions you choose to do consistently. For example: a sketch each day.

An existing routine makes adding potential new habits much, much easier. You can simply fit it in with something you already do, and you instantly have a plan for accomplishing it and a built-in reminder. (That doesn’t mean it will be easy—just easier.)

𝓠 : But what if you have no routines to start from?

𝒜 : Do you eat lunch every day? Wake up? Watch a favorite TV show? These are mini-routines and can be built on to create longer routines.

🟩🟥🟦🟩 Routines are POWERFUL ways to reach your goals a little at a time. Small things are easiest to add and continue to do.🟥🟦🟩🟥

🌟How have routines helped you reach your goals?

Progress Report

We’re about halfway through the year, and school is finally out for the summer. My children are already receiving progress reports from school. I think it’s a good time to step back and look at how I’m doing on the goals I’ve set for this year.

Sitting down with each of my goals, I can see that I have made some progress. There is positive growth in almost every area. However, there are a few things I haven’t even started.

It’s interesting to look at my goals now and realize that I had forgotten some of the things I had hoped to do. It’s also interesting to see how some of the things I worked on led to other things I hadn’t expected.

One of the cartoons I have published in the New Era Magazine.

Perhaps I need to revisit some of my goals and see if they need tweaking. Have my goals changed? What are my priorities at this point?

I’m making progress, but there’s room for improvement. It’s time to recommit to the changes I hope to make. I need to look over my schedule and figure out when to attempt to add new tasks and habits. Maybe I can start checking in with my progress when I journal on Sundays?

I think regularly checking in will help. Also, I think that some of the goals are a little broad and need to be broken into more manageable tasks. For example, I need to decide how to approach editing the novels I wrote. Breaking it into smaller tasks would be a lot less intimidating. No wonder I haven’t started!

I thought about giving myself grades for each of my goals, but in the end I wasn’t sure if that would be motivating or not. I think that overall, I am doing well. If I was grading pass/fail, I think I pass.

Do you have goals you’re working on? How often do you check in with them to see how you’re doing? Are you making progress?

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My Plan to Achieve My Goals

I’ve been thinking of my goals lately, as I mentioned last week. Working to achieve my goals is a bit like problem solving. The goals are where I want to be, and the problem is how to get there. Just like when putting together a jig-saw puzzle, there are tools I need to solve my problems. For a puzzle, I need a large, flat surface and good light and, if I’m lucky, maybe there’s a picture of the completed puzzle. For a goal, I need tasks, habits, and attitudes.

Tasks are the steps I will take to reach the goal. But, if the steps are too large, they are overwhelming. They need to be broken down into smaller steps. I have read that you need to break down the steps into smaller tasks until you look at the task and think, “I can do that.”

It works best when I schedule a time to regularly work on the tasks. This means developing a habit. A habit is a regularly repeated task. Unfortunately, developing a habit is a little harder than simply completing a single task.

There are little tricks that help. One thing I do is try to piggy-back off a habit that I’ve already established. I’ll add the new habit before or after it or some other daily milestone, like lunch time. It’s easier to only add one or two new habits at a time and keep it small. It’s easier to convince myself to spend five minutes on something on a busy day than to try to spend half an hour.

Of course, on really busy days or weeks, I may drop the habit altogether. At that point, I need to pick it back up when things have calmed down. This is not as easy as it sounds. I have to remember my motivation. Why did I want this habit? It can help to write it down and post it where I can see it.

And this leads to attitude. Sometimes I am too stressed to add one more thing. If I’m self-critical when that happens, it will make things that much harder to pick up again. In an article I recently read, https://www.fastcompany.com/90357248/procrastination-is-an-emotional-problem , it says that the more self-critical we are, the more likely we are to procrastinate. Negativity and stress are huge roadblocks on the path to achieving goals.

The more often we have negative thoughts, the more accustomed our brain will become to that response. It will affect our outlook on life and the work we do. But, we can train the brain to follow different, more positive paths. https://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessaloder/2015/03/18/how-to-rewire-your-brain-for-happiness/#401ada8359ef

Some ways to do this are practicing gratitude, thinking two positive thoughts for every negative, mindfulness, exercise, and creative activities. As we feel more positive about ourselves and our work, it will be possible to get more done. We will feel positive about that, and that creates a positive feedback loop (To replace the previous negative loop).

When putting together a jigsaw puzzle, there is some structure to the process. For example, edge pieces first, sky or other large single colored patches last. Other than that, I tend to take things as they come and work a little bit here and a little bit there as I find pieces that I can fit into place.

Achieving goals is like that. Once I’ve determined the tasks and habits I’d like to develop, it’s time to fit them in place. It may take a bit of work and more than one attempt to find the best fit. And then something might knock all the pieces off the table and I have to start again.

But, if I can keep working on my attitudes in the background and stay positive, I’m less likely to quit. And if I don’t quit, I haven’t failed, no matter how long it takes. That’s my plan to achieve my goals. Wish me luck.

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Collages for Pondering

When I have something to ponder, I sometimes like to make a collage while I think. It helps me organize and prioritize my thoughts. It also gives added insights and helps me make connections.

I usually begin and end with a prayer and listen to quiet music while I work. I get my stack of magazines and paper and scissors and glue. I use school glue or glue sticks. The paper depends on how much time I have to spend, and how big the thing I’m pondering is. I can use an index card or a sheet of printer paper. Either way, I’ll need two. One to assemble things on, and once it’s all just right, I’ll transfer each piece over to the other and glue them down.

Index Card Collage. You can sort of see the outline of the index card angling up slightly to the right.

I use a mix of words and pictures. I just start looking for things that symbolize each element of whatever it is I’m trying to figure out. For example, at the beginning of the year, I’ll put together a collage as I think about what direction I hope the year will take and what goals and plans I want to make.

So, I’ll go through the magazines and cut out pictures of things I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes I’ll see a picture and realize I need to add a goal. Often, I get multiple pictures for each thing. As I assemble things on the page, there is never enough space for everything.

Collage I did at the start of 2018 as I set goals for myself (8½ x 11 sheet)

At that point, I have to prioritize. Which things need a bigger picture? Which ones will a smaller picture do? What can I leave out?

The arrangement of things often suggests connections. I move things around, and as I do, I see how things work together. The symbols often take on deeper meanings and multiple meanings. The arrangement can suggest importance perhaps by what is placed on top when things overlap.

It’s really personal, and anyone else looking at it probably won’t see the things I do. But, when I finish, I have greater insight into what I’ve been pondering, and I usually feel a lot more at peace about things. Plus, I have a visual reminder of my thought process that I can hang up in plain sight. I can look at it and continue to find further meanings without worrying that everyone else can see and understand my struggles and worries.

Collage I did last week as I considered my goals for 2019 (8½ x 11 sheet)

I’ve made collages when I’ve pondered over the plot of a story I want to write. I made a collage when I was feeling discouraged about my progress with my art and writing and wondered if I should continue. It’s not something I do often, but when I really want to sit and think about something, it really helps.

Is there a task that art helps you do? What do you do when you have something you want to study out in your mind? Have you ever used collages to help you ponder?

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Gratitude

2018 has been a great year. Not that everything has gone well, but overall, I think I’m in a better place than I was at this time in 2017.  I’ve been very blessed and seen a lot of little miracles in my life.  I’m so very grateful.

I have continued to learn and grow and improve. It’s pretty exciting to see the progress I’ve made this year. I still have a lot of room for growth, and that’s exciting too.

My creative goals for 2018 were to publish something, make one YouTube video, and sell one artwork.

This is my index card of my creative goals for the year. Also a quote from Diane Ackerman: “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”

I did get something published. One of my cartoons was published in the New Era in September. You can read all about it if you follow this link. I just had another cartoon published in the New Era in December, too! (And I will have one in the January New Era!! Wow!) I know that is a lot of links, but please check them out.

Here’s a look at the cartoons I just had published in the New Era!

My husband helped me make two YouTube videos. I am happy with how they turned out. It was fun to see my work progress at super-speed! You can watch both videos on my YouTube channel. (Yes, I actually have a YouTube channel!)

Have I sold any artwork solely based on its artistic merit? Not yet. But I’ve improved my skill, and that makes it more likely, I think. I’m still working on this one.

I am so grateful for the progress I’ve made. So many people have helped and encouraged me on my journey. To all of you, thank you. Thank you for reading my stories and laughing at my comics. Thank you for telling me that you like my work. Thank you for mentioning my website to others.

Sometimes, when it’s just me at my desk, trying to find my motivation, it’s nice to remember that I’m not alone. The internet isn’t like the empty wells in the cartoons where you shove something in and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait to hear it hit the bottom. There are people out there listening.

If you are reading this, thank you for being one of those people. Thank you for supporting me this year. I look forward to 2019 knowing that achieving my goals and dreams is possible. Best wishes to all of us in the new year!

From Quentin Blake‘s “ABC” Ff, reproduced by me on 6/11/18.

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