Happy Chinese New Year! Specifically, the Year of the Fire Rooster, very appropriate for this blog. (For a fun picture book about Chinese New Year, check out my friend Andrea Wang’s The Nian Monster).
I haven’t been posting as much lately because life outside my blog has been a little crazy – in addition to the MFA residency, I’ve been focusing on the new semester starting, and I’m teaching two courses: Intercultural Communication and Grant Writing. I love my students – they are smart, engaged, and really want to learn – so it’s pleasurable work, but it has left less time for other things.
Also, I received some sad news: Bev Down, the President of the Creativity Coaching Association, passed away recently. She was also my mentor coach through the certification process. It’s a huge loss to the coaching community, and I’ll miss her wisdom and guidance. She brought a combination of warmth and a spiritual focus with a laser-like ability to see through to the real issue at hand. Like the best masters, she made it seem effortless. I hope my coaching skills develop to that level someday!
We’ve reached the end of January. How are you progressing on your goals? Do you have goals that focus on creating new work? Or goals that focus more on revising and completing current projects? Do you go back and forth? Both take different types of energy, and it can be good to trade off so that you don’t get burned out on one project.
One of the most important things about accomplishing goals, of course, is tracking your progress. This in itself can be motivating. Tracking your progress effectively, however, is crucial. For some goals, a simple X marking that you did it that day is sufficient. For long-term and larger goals, however, you need something more sophisticated. It can be helpful to set goals for each week, and then each day, and do a check-in at the end of the week to see how you did. This isn’t meant to punish you if you don’t meet your goals; it’s meant to make you more focused on reaching them, and help you identify blocks that may be preventing you, both internal and external. If you start to set realistic, concrete goals and achieve them consistently, that will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to continue. And if you’re lagging, it gives you a place to figure out what’s really going on. Is it truly a time issue? Or are you stuck because there’s a difficult scene you need to write, and you can’t seem to force yourself to tackle it?
For even greater accountability, you can share your tracking journal with a coach or friend – someone you can trust to encourage you and also help you figure out those “stuck” issues.
Whatever you do, don’t just state a goal that you’ll achieve long term, and then not set smaller goals and track your progress along the way. Large, vague goals lead to endless procrastination and likely failure. Prime yourself for success from the start, and you’ll go a long way toward achieving them!