By Terri St.Arnauld
We have all heard about the importance of goals, so you might already be regularly writing/reviewing/rewriting your goals. If this is something you struggle with, here is another way to approach it. It is a four-step process that evolves from self-understanding. You work on the steps in order, but when you finish one, you can go back and change others because your self-understanding might change. As you work on them, it might help to talk with those close to you about them, or maybe just some of the goals, depending on the person.
- Success Inventory
- Analysis of Skills Assets/Deficits and Endure/Prefer Activities
- Components of a Goal
- Goal Setting
- Ten-Year Goals
- Five-Year Goals
- Three-Year Goals
- Short-Term Goals – A short-term goal is one that can be accomplished in 1 year or less.
1. Success Inventory
Imagine you have achieved success, maybe even at the end of your life. What does that look like for you? Does it mean money, family, home ownership, travel, health, creating artwork, spirituality, etc? What do you want to have accomplished in your lifetime? Write out those components as an inventory. In this inventory, it’s important to be clear. (Travel might mean around the US, to specific places, countries or continents, or to visit friends and family.) Keep your list with you and add to it as you think of things. When you’re ready, or at least in a week, review your list and regroup your ideas, if necessary, to help you think about them more clearly. Remember, you can always change your list.
This is a list of goals, in the broadest sense.
2. Analysis of Assets/Deficits and Endure/Prefer Activities
First, spend some time thinking about what work and business activities you are good at – Assets – and which ones are not your strong suit – Deficits. (You might be good at talking with people one-to-one but not at speaking to a large group.) Don’t downplay your strengths and don’t beat yourself up for the things you’re not as good at. Make lists of each of these.
Then, spend some time thinking about past work experiences and types of activities, situations, schedules and people. What did you like – Prefer? What did you dislike – Endure? Make lists of each of these.
Again, these activities and experiences do not have to relate to your art practice or even to paid work.
3. Components of a Goal
A well-written goal is measurable, achievable, worthwhile, identifies potential difficulties, and states strategies or action steps you can take to achieve the goal.
- Measurable – What will be accomplished? When will it be completed? How will you know it is done?
- Achievable – Is it in your power to do this?
- Worthwhile – Does this goal relate to one of your long-term ideas of success?
- Difficulties – Is there anything that might get in the way of achieving this? (Deficits, endured activities)
- Strategies – What can you do to prevent or minimize the difficulties? (Use your assets and preferences.)
4. Goal Setting
- Ten-Year Goals – at least one
- Five-Year Goals – at least two
- Three-Year Goals – at least three
- Short-Term Goals – at least five
While you are not required to write your longest-term goals first, it can be helpful. After setting a 10-year goal, you will likely see shorter-term (5-year, 3-year and short-term) goals that need to be reached to get you there. Try to develop multiple goals for each category, especially the shorter periods.
A goal might relate to an achievement on your Success Inventory; ways to make the most of one or more of your Assets, incorporate Preferences; improve a Deficit and/or avoid or minimize situations you’ve had to Endure.
As you write each goal, follow the criteria in number 3, paying attention to Measurability, Achievability, whether it is Worthwhile, as well as potential Difficulties and Strategies.
SET A DATE TO REVIEW AND UPDATE YOUR GOALS AT LEAST ANNUALLY!
This is information I learned in a professional development seminar called ArtistINC. The program was developed by Mid-America Arts Alliance and offered by the City of Austin to teach artists the business of art, an important aspect that is often overlooked in formal training.