Losing Your Way on Goals Already? How to Get Back On Track

Jan 22, 2017 / Photography / goal setting / habits

With goals defined, how do I ensure that I’ll stick to them this year? I’m trying out 3 strategiesäóîbased on observation of my behavior from last year. For 2017, I will

  • track time
  • create habits,
  • and just start.

Tracking Time Gives Insight

I started tracking my hours at work last year because I wanted to understand where my time was going. I was busy, but I felt constantly stressed–as if I wasn’t accomplishing anything. When it came time for my annual performance evaluation, I had a hard time summarizing what I actually did!

So midway through last year, I started tracking my time at work and in the studio. Here’s the time summary for my studio:

[koken_photo label=”Screen-Shot-2017-01-22-at-100658-AM.png” id=”115” media_type=”image” caption=”none” link=”none”]

Before writing 2016 in review, I didn’t think I accomplished a lot of my art related goals. But then I reviewed my time from last year. As you can see, I spent 41 hours in the studio last year creating work for the third part of the series (entitled Wonder). While it could be better (and I will do better this year), I did do something last year and that made me feel better.

I also noticed that I spent so much time preparing for shows (in this case Dimbola Museum show and for Verve Gallery). Digging deeper into the time entries, I spent a lot of time printing. Is there a way to minimize printing time in the future so I spend more time creating art? Yes, I think so. I will look into that this year.

I was lax in tracking time, but I see that tracking time provides value and insight. It provides real evidence that I did complete something, that I’m working towards my goals. Seeing this overview inspires me to keep going and beat those recorded times this year.

I’m using an app called toggl to do my time tracking. The screen capture above is from the toggl report. It’s free and available for desktop and iPhone. What I love about it is that you have separate äóìworkspaces.äóù You can track work and personal projects separately.

Frictionless Habit is the Goal

I also realized that I needed to establish habits. This year I want to establish a studio habit and a writing habit. I’ve read a lot about establishing habits in the past two weeks. James Clear’s website is good for this and also Leo Babauta’s zenhabits.

One thing I’m trying this year is to eliminate friction or inertia at the beginning of the studio day.

As an example, at the end of a studio shoot, I usually tidy up and put away strobe lights, backdrop, camera equipment. The next time I shoot, I have to set up again. This wastes time. I’ve decided to leave my studio as is. I’m not going to clean up. It will just be a disaster area. I have a home studio spread out in my condo. It consists of the den (where I shoot images that will be montaged and collaged later in photoshop), the second bedroom (where I have my UV box for exposing/developing my cyanotypes), and the second bathroom/bathtub (for washing my cyanotypes). It’s hard to picture this i know. I will have a blog post summarizing my studio. I plan to have May as the Photography Month in this blog. So stay tuned for that.

Don’t Think, Just Start

You have done a lot of thinking on what your goals are and how you will achieve them. The important thing now is to not äóìoverplan.äóù Don’t overthink it. Just start.

Don’t even think of the time it will take to finish. Just start. Leo Babauta in his book, The Habit Guide: Zen Habits’ Effective Habit Methods & Solutions, had a great example. If your goal is to exercise more, don’t think, äóìOh my god I have to run for 30 minutes today.äóù Instead, in that moment, the goal should be smaller: tie your shoes and get out of the door. The resistance to tying your shoes and getting out the door is so much less than saying I have to run for 30 minutes.

So in my case, instead of saying äóìI have to create an great image today,äóù the goal becomes äóìPut on the tie and start.äóù

There you have it, the three tips for sticking to my goals this year. What about you? What are you using to make sure you stick with your goals this year?

January is New Year’s Resolution month at A Million Suns blog. During January, I’ll be writing about interesting things I found on the web and how I’m incorporating them in my life at work and in the studio. Stay tuned. Better yet, why not subscribe to my newsletter where you’ll get a monthly summary of the blog posts as well as notes about new artwork, titling events, sneak peak at new shows, inspirational quotes, VIP sale events, and more! Sign up on the form below. Your contact details will never be shared and you can unsubscribed at any time.

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