It's that time of year again where you think over what you have accomplished, or not, during the past few months. For most of us, you probably set yourself some New Year's resolutions late 2014 or early 2015 with the aim of ticking something off the list and, perhaps, rewarding yourself.
Of course, most of the time, the list is abandoned or simply forgotten come the start of the new year. Why bother, right? Well, you should, for yourself most of all. It helps you avoid getting or at least wasting time being in the doldrums and more time doing things other than being in a total funk or a permanently bad mood!
Where To Begin?
Start off with two lists - yes, two, one for short term and the other for long term goals.
Now, take your list for long term goals for the new year and write down only three goals. Why only three? No real reason but, think about it, one goal doesn't seem like enough and five sounds like torture so three sounds about right. Ask yourself where you would like to be or what you would like to be doing this time next year. What's your overall focus for the new year? Improving your health and wellbeing? Changing jobs or upskilling? Starting or returning to a creative pursuit? For myself, I focused on health and wellbeing and my hobbies. I had been neglecting both for a while as evidenced by my increasing inability to fit into any of my works clothes and the dust collecting on my drawing supplies and half finished writing pieces.
My long term goals for 2015 were:
(1) Run a half-marathon
(2) Become confident enough to display my drawings or show family and friends
(3) Get some of my writing published
Don't worry if your goals don't seem lofty enough or, on the flip, overly ambitious. This list of resolutions is for you and you shouldn't feel the need to justify your goals to anybody. You have the whole new year to plan the next steps out. That's where your list of short term goals will come in handy.
Set your list of long term goals aside and go to your list of short term goals. Think of what you can do in the next one to three months that can get you on the way to achieving goals (1) through (3).
Here is what my short term list of goals looked like:
(1) Register for a half-marathon at least six months out
(2) Sign up for drawing classes, in person or online
(3) Contact publications, websites, etc I would like to write for
With goal (1), I signed up for the Run Melbourne half-marathon held yearly in July. That's rights folks - I registered for a running event for the middle of the Australian winter. Luckily winters are relatively mild in the southern hemisphere so, really, there was no excuse not to.
The next step was to create or find a training schedule for a half-marathon. You can find training schedules for all sorts of running distances online or in running magazines or books for free. I actually used the training schedule provided in a special lift out in The Age newspaper for a promotion on Run Melbourne and it worked out great, well, maybe except for the parts where the schedule asks you to do hill repeats...
For goal (2), I signed up for drawing courses on Craftsy (see www.craftsy.com), as I didn't have time during the work day or after work to attend actual classes. Craftsy courses are very affordable and your access to the courses you've purchased never expires. Definitely something worth checking out if you want something more structured, with regular classes or sessions you can return to time and again. You are also encouraged to post your art projects on the Craftsy website to share with your classmates.
With the third short term goal, I looked around for websites, rather than publications, that were looking for reviews and general content or filler. Some websites will pay you per piece, while others will pay you a portion of their advertising revenue, and then there are some which provide you no compensation at all but will give you exposure via a contributor or writer profile or bio. I tried the third option to begin with to get a feel for what sort of work was out there but I soon transitioned to publishing on websites that give you a portion of their advertising revenue. Working for free is okay for a little while but, personally, I believe you should be compensated something for your time and effort.
Now I hope you go out there and set yourself some goals for 2016. Remember your lists of short and long term goals are for you. You will learn you are more than what you think. Be it being able to get past that pain barrier when you are running or getting past your reluctance with showing your artwork to a friend or family member. You can do it!