The title might be a bit much, but I wanted to catch your attention. It seems like it worked. So stick with me here; I promise I have a point, value to add, and a few of my goals and passion projects you might want to hear about.
Every year I set goals and find ways to create opportunities. It's a big part of what's let me make significant strides forward in my career and combat the ugly feelings of burnout. That doesn't mean this comes naturally to me, though. I wouldn't consider myself a fan of the process of setting goals.
I love reaping the rewards of achieving, and I'm very driven, but I lack those crucial ideation muscles that help set goals and dream big. I know it's essential, which is why I set so many goals, dig deep, and push through the parts I hate.
I will share some practices that have helped me, some goals, and passion projects and why this is worth your time.
So where do goals come from? Anywhere.
Setting goals is essential for personal and professional growth, yet many creatives need help navigating the goal-setting journey. As a fellow creative and business owner, I understand the struggles you face when defining and achieving your goals. Now spending more and more time coaching, I've realized we're not alone in this struggle. It's hard to wrap your head around.
My advice is to have fun with this. Remove the pressure.
Keep it simple.
Dream a little.
Now for some guidance. Most goals are career and financial-focused. But theres more to life than work, and all things interconnect. A book that I've enjoyed is "Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals." by Michael Hyatt. It's full of great goal-setting advice, but my favorite aspect is the ten domains. He lists these domains, which give you direction to dream and think more.
The next challenge comes from the way we think. Now this is far more nuanced, and personality, situational experiences, and mindset all play a role. I want to simplify this and ask you to reflect on the type of thinker you are, as this will reveal shortcomings in how you create goals.
Theres a fine line between what's possible and impossible. Most goals are boring. Mine are, and more than likely, yours are too. You could be leaving a lot on the line if so. Why?
Goal setting suffers from being too realistic. I come back to this "dreaming" idea. I'm not a big hype guy, and because of this, I dream too realistic. So what's so wrong with this? I reach many of my goals too easily or stop caring because the reach needs to be more. Dreaming bigger and pushing hard keeps us motivated.
I've become more engaged with more significant thinking, from books to podcasts. Adopting a 2x mindset has helped. Sure, I don't always hit my goals, but I make more progress than my realistic mind lets me. All I'm asking is you push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Big goals drive us.
Another point that's helped me is having more purpose-driven goals and attaching them to something bigger than myself. For example, when I look at the financial side of goal setting, it's been difficult because I don't care much about money beyond supporting my lifestyle; however, when I started thinking about money as a resource, this changed and made setting financial goals more exciting.
Exampling being around having better tools would empower my team and create a more robust experience for our clients. Suddenly I saw why we should value our work more, set bigger goals and drive revenue and profit higher (read our blog on Profitable Creatives: Benefits of Turning Passion into a Thriving Career). Taking it beyond myself has helped me set those goals.
The same has gone for my health. I'm relatively lazy. I'll choose bad food, relaxation, and chill out any day. I'm an instant gratification monkey here more than anywhere, but realizing I have a wife that loves me, kids that enjoy time with their dad, and a drive to make an impact, I've learned my health needs to be a top priority, so that helps me stay accountable.
Ways I've Broken my realistic thinking
Physical & Digital Writing
Go for a walk
Journal feelings, Frustrations, and thoughts
So let's get into the nuts and bolts.
Most people have heard of SMART Goals—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals. Break down your long-term aspirations into smaller, actionable steps. This provides a clear roadmap and helps you celebrate milestones along the way. In addition, by focusing on achievable goals, you'll build momentum and confidence to tackle more significant objectives.
It's a great format to set goals, but I wanted to share how I do this in my notes app and add valuable ways to look at short- and long-term goals differently.
Goal: lose 20lbs by July 25th
Walk/jog 3-4 miles 5 days a week with Knox after his nap
Include 10min kettlebell on M, W, and F during lunch
Soda or snacking only once a week
Fast Normal | 12-6p window
24hr fast twice a week
Increase water to 60oz daily
So this is one key example, but what about everything else?
This one qualifies as a short-term goal for now, and once the goal is reached, these habits will continue into what I call maintenance mode. I'm not looking to stop these activities.
A big part of why goal setting is overwhelming is because some are focused on outcomes, whereas others are more about habits and becoming the new norm. You must ask yourself if theres an end or if it's to become a new normal. Launching a new business model, product, or service has a clear outcome of reaching, but general health has evolutions.
The To-Do List vs. War Boards
I separate my goals by short-term (90 days or less) and long-term (90 days-3 years). I call my long-term goals the "War Board" and keep it on a separate note on my phone. I don't want to look at things that have more weight next to my daily, weekly, and monthly to-do list. This killed momentum and created disappointment in the past, so keeping them separate has been crucial to my success.
Now outside of how it can be disappointing, my War board is super helpful in purging thoughts. I love reorganizing and filtering my goals here into an extensive list. I've found it beneficial to have at most ten big goals each year but keep a comprehensive ongoing list of goals on my war board. Occasionally I will discover many goals and start crossing off others organically.
So for the to-do list. I keep an ongoing list I review nearly daily, including my short-term goals. These are much smaller milestones to bigger goals I have. I aim for less than five items daily and build my schedule weekly.
My Time Management Method
Manage each Sunday (30 Minutes of review)
2 Digital & 2 Physical
Google Calendar time-blocking tasks
Apple Notes App manager
Weekly Whiteboard (3-5 tasks daily)
Daily Stick Note Prioritizing tasks
This can be a hard habit to build, but breaking goals into small sections helps manage the bigger goals and go from that impossible feeling to more possible.
In addition, here is a 15-minute Friday I did with Ross Theisen on his podcast What You Don't Hear. We dive into a quick conversation around goal setting and give some advice. This conversation will crystalize some of the ideas shared above in a more approachable way.
As we close this up, I wanted to share a few of my goals. We're already hitting some of which, and others are in progress, while some feel far off... for now.
Read 3 Books a Month in 2023
Launch Myelin & JECP Podcast by March 2023
Produce and DP a Documentary by April 2024 (Shooting now - Learn more about Frostbite here)
Shoot 10 Short Films by November 2023
Upgrade Edit Station by April 2023
Purchase RED Komodo X Package by October
Increase Personal Revenue by $60K in 2023
Eliminate Business Debt by Jan 2024
Guest Speak at five events in 2023
Hire an Admin Assistant, Content Manager & Jr Editor by May 2025
Produce & DP 2 Feature Films by June 2025