Making goals can be hard. Luckily, BogusRed has supplied a number of great ways to approach your goals in methodical, thoughtful ways!
These methods can make it easier to accomplish what is often the hardest part of goals; the beginning!
Once you’ve started on your goal, you may notice that new difficulties start to crop up; life gets in the way, school gets in the way, motivation dries up - bearing all of that in mind, as creators we have to understand that (most of the time) goals can’t be reached without a little help. That is, without some kind of support, a goal might not make it past the planning stage.
Luckily there are a number of ways to get super helpful support! We’ve broken these 10 (Plus 1) methods down into two types; external sources (coming from someone else) and internal sources (coming from yourself).
External support is, for a lot of people, really hard to ask for and really hard to find. Luckily, you’ve taken a vital first step by joining a community (our External Support #1) and giving yourself access to other creative people.
#1) Join a Community/Group:
Finding a community or group to work with/around is a huge help! Whether in person or online, having others around helps encourage motivation and energy, and lets you know you aren’t alone in your quest for creativity! Sign up for our newsletter to get notified of our monthly Discord meetups or look for in-person meetups on Meetup.com
A buddy who is there to help with accountability (for a fun portmanteau: an accountabil-a-buddy) someone with whom you’ve shared your goals, who is then waiting for you to deliver! If you say 2 sketches a week - this is the person who wants to see proof of those two sketches. If you say 4 tweets, or one study, or 2 images, or 2 sculptures, or one blog, or oR OR, etc - your accountabil-a-buddy is there to see your product, see the proof that you came through on your personal goal. If its someone you’re close to, they may even be the person that asks the all-important question; "shouldn’t you be drawing (or writing, or sculpting, or painting) right now, instead of watching TV?"
This kind of support is of the “cheerleading” kind. The person doing this for you is just there to let you know that you CAN achieve your goal! It's something you want to do, and have it in you to do. Sometimes is may sound like “I know you can do this” when you aren’t so sure of yourself. And, for those with a close relationship, this might be the person who quite literally hands you a cookie when you’ve met your daily/weekly/monthly goal!
Feedback support gets a little more in depth, as this person is actively partaking in what you produce; they take an honest look at what you’re working on, and give their opinion. This kind of support should be rewarded (maybe with their own cookies)!
As a happy addendum: During PaperDemon's monthly Discord meetups, time is always set aside for critique sessions!
Lastly, and most important of the external support types, is respect - respect of your goal (that it is worth your time), respect of your time (that it is worth applying to your goal), and respect for your space. When you set aside time and space to work toward your goal, its extremely important that those around you let that time and space be.
The next, and arguably harder, category of support is the internal kind - the kind that you give to yourself. Even with all of the external support in the world, all goals need at least some of internal support to have any chance of happening.
There has to be at least a spark of enjoyment in what you are doing. If you need to, take a moment to remember why you started in the first place - that spark is vital to keep you going.
Being flexible is vital, as this skill is hopefully what is going to help you get to the end of a goal that might be hard for you. Having a large goal, over a relatively-long period of time, allows for goals to evolve and shift.
Say you have a goal of being more present on social media, in order to practice self-promotion (a true-life goal of a member of my Writers’ Group); the year starts going by, and you find yourself on Twitter more often! Goal achieved! But it's only February?? Well, the goal was large, so there is room to evolve; perhaps social media isn’t just Twitter, but also a blog, or writing book reviews on Amazon once a month? And you may find yourself with the opposite: its February, and you’ve not quite made it to the first segment of your goal. Maybe it's boring, maybe it’s more complicated than you anticipated? That's okay! Remember, large goals are great because you can switch around the parts you are working on, or take some time off if you need it.
As important as it is for others to respect your goal, your time, and your space - you have to do the same. You have to believe that your goal is worth achieving, that the time/space you set aside to work on your goal is worth maintaining (no doing laundry during creating time!). In addition, it’s important to be honest with yourself - in particular, be honest about your capacity/bandwidth. If you aren’t reasonably going to have the time and energy to get 10,000 words down in a month, it may only serve to discourage you from getting any work done at all! And no one wants that.
#4) Self awareness and self care:
Listen to your body and subconscious, because both will try to tell you what they need. Do certain activities or situations trigger bouts of inspiration, or the loss of inspiration? Keep an eye on both of those. If you need to, take a health day - if your goal is to do something everyday, recognize that you aren’t a robot; sometimes you just don’t feel well and it's time to rest. Also - eat, sleep, get fresh air, stretch, rest your eyes, drink plenty of water, and remember to take bio breaks. Supporting your body is the best way to get it to support you back.
Related: Anxiety & How to Do the Thing Anyway
Related: Being a Creator with Depression
#5) Cultivating Inspiration:
Inspiration is the mana of the gods, and is worth its weight in gold! Which is why it's important to find ways to encourage it, and take advantage when it appears. Pay attention to which of your actions cause inspiration to arrive (taking a walk, listening to music, a longer-than-normal shower) and using those actions to encourage/cultivate this incredible resource; much like you would cultivate a plant by giving it what it needs to grow. Similarly, if there are actions that you know deplete your inspiration (not sleeping enough, binge watching TV, etc) work on trying to avoid or mitigate those actions. And, lastly, when inspiration strikes - work hard to keep it around as long as you can! Take a moment to recognize what it is, and take steps to get creative while its around, and take steps to keep it around (don’t exhaust yourself, ask those around you to give you some space, get some snacks in place so you don’t have to take too many breaks from your work area, etc). Cultivate, to help inspiration grow.
Related: Finding Your Muse
And now - a Plus 1! This type of support is the bridge between External and Internal support - and it may be obvious, but is something that a lot of creators have trouble with. It's worth practicing - so, if you have to, start small and work your way up.
+1) Willingness to ask for help!
When you need help, you’ve got to find it in yourself to seek it out! This one is super hard, but just as important as every other type of support that you can give yourself or get from others. You are just human, after all, and sh*t happens; sometimes you have to edit a goal to match your reality. Also, remember; you aren’t alone! There are a lot of other creators - even professional ones - that struggle with goals and sticking to them.
With these 10 (Plus 1) ways to support yourself, your well thought-out goals are within your grasp! But this certainly isn’t everything! PaperDemon Community; what other types of support have you found to be helpful? External types? Internal types? Please share!