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Already Blew Your New Year Resolutions?

It’s that time of year when the reality of great intentions to shift our life into the fantastic lane is about to crash.

Welcome to the world of your actuality. It’s really a good place to be about now because it gives you a real and true look at who you are in all your and imperfect beauty. Set the record straight for yourself right now. If you were going to be that person, make that art, look that way, have that lifestyle or that person in your life wouldn’t you have made bigger strides in that direction by now?

If you’ve hit the end of January or anytime that caught the backsliding sense of I’ll never be good enough to reach my new year’s resolutions or any other goal … grab it, because you’re probably meant to be greater than all of that dreaming and wishing.

Now what do you do? Take a strong look at what you honestly want and go for it in realistic steps. This does not sound like “I’m going to lose 20 pounds or paint twenty masterpieces by the end of January.” It looks and feels like, “I’m going to eat healthier portions and go for a few more walks every week and plan out my paintings and paint for an hour or two every day.”

Take a closer view of the differences in the statements I made.

In the first one (that rarely works) grandiose and non-detailed words are used. Some of you may actually succeed this way, but most of you won’t, because without looking specifically at the baby steps necessary to actually get you from here to there, you won’t know what to do next. Here’s the real conundrum: If you don’t know what to do right now, how will you figure out what you’re supposed to do, to get where you want to be?  Okay, pause and reread that one as many times as you need to so you understand what I’m saying.

It’s really just making a big circle. Try it now with your finger in the air. Point to what you want. Twenty masterpieces!  Good now move your finger in a circular direction towards to what you have to do right now to get that goal. Paint a lot. Great! Now get more specific. I need to clear my studio and organize my paints and brushes. I need to gather a few more supplies and canvases. Get even more specific. I need to sketch out each painting. Now go really deep.  I’ll work on four this week and begin painting one every other day. Imagine each step you must take as a mark going around completing your circle.

When you get to the opposite side from where you started, ask yourself this very important question: Is this approach realistic?

Be honest, because if it isn’t actually something you can do at this time, you have a great clue about what you need to have for the goal to succeed.  If twenty masterpiece paintings aren’t really possible in one month, you’ll need to ask yourself why? Do you need more time, paint, experience, training, what do you need to succeed?  Now adjust your circle with the steps you need to take in order to reach your goal and keep doing this while you work.

Did you catch that important last part? You must continue to work on your goal while you’re planning its success. This could be a no brainer, but for most of us simple humans it feels more realistic (and probably soothing) to stop working and figure out a new plan rather than keep working and adjust the one we thought up. Enter the creativity coach approach: I tell my clients to keep working even if they feel they’re failing. Failure feels crummy, no doubt about that. But, it teaches you exactly what you need to learn. Sometimes you’ll need to talk to a good coach about your creative goals, so you can sort out your lessons and probably your feelings, too.  Much of the time you can find your answers if you bother to look and are able to allow your feelings to float about while you continue to work.  Just keep working and you will gain much more than you set out to achieve.

Reaching for goals is one big circle of little steps. Riddle solved!

Sandy Nelson is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.