Just the mention of goals or planning is usually enough to send most artists running for cover to the safety of a warm duvet. The main objection and fear arises from the restrictions and limitations that goal setting implies. The romantic image of the artist - whether you're a writer, painter, sculptor, songwriter or any other kind of creative artist - suggests you should be free to experiment and explore, creating as your muse takes you, unbounded by any restrictions that society may try to impose.
But goal setting needn't be limiting. In fact, it can be incredibly liberating and freeing. Once you know where you're heading, you're free to focus your energy entirely on creating without worrying about why you're doing what you're doing and where you're heading.
Here's a painless 5-step plan to setting goals for your creative future:
- What are your creative dreams? Take a large sheet of paper and write in the centre "My Creative Dreams." Then fill the page with words and pictures that represent your ultimate creative dreams. Be as imaginative and free as you can, aim high, don't be shy and modest. This first step is just to get your creativity flowing and in touch with what you really do want in your creative life.
- Are these really your dreams? This is a crucial step. We often latch onto wonderful dreams and ambitions that we think are "best" for us, but really they're not our own. They're actually the things that our parents, our work colleagues or our friends think are best for us. Be completely honest with yourself. Which of the dreams you wrote in step 1 are actually completely your own?
- What will reaching these creative dreams give you? This step is to connect with your dreams and goals as strongly as possible. What will your life be like once you've reached them? How will your life be different? How will it have changed for the better? How will you feel different from how you do now? This will help you realize which goals you absolutely HAVE to reach...
- When will you achieve these goals? It's unrealistic to expect to be able to set 20 creative goals and reach them all by next weekend. For each of your goals, set a reasonable time scale when you'd like to achieve them by. Some may be a month, some may be 10 years. Be realistic but be ambitious and trust that once you're focused, you can do more than you think you can.
- Take your first step today. Pick just 3 of the goals or dreams you've come up with and really connected with. For each of these, what 3 possible steps to move you forward could you take in the next 48 hours? They needn't be huge steps, just a way to get you a bit closer to your creative dreams and strengthen your belief that you can reach them.
This 5-step plan is a great way to start setting and reaching the creative dreams you crave to reach in your life. Once you have a clearer picture of where you're heading, you'll naturally channel your energy, focus and efforts in that same direction. Creating will become easier, your motivation will increase and you'll procrastinate less.
One final tip: Our dreams and goals change as we evolve and become more experienced, and more knowledgeable about ourselves and what we're capable of.
So repeat this goal setting technique every month or two to keep in touch with the goals that are truly important to you. It's perfectly natural that your goals will alter slightly, become more specific and so on. What's most important is that you stay connected to your dreams as they evolve and aren't striving for something you wanted 3 years ago but now have far less interest in moving towards.
There, a goal-setting technique you can put into action today. That wasn't too painful after all, was it?
And to get your creativity kick started right away I invite you to download your free copy of the powerful and practical "Explode Your Creativity!" Action Workbook. Head over to http://www.CoachCreative.com now.