Mid-Year Goals Assessment for Creative Minds

Evaluation and refocusing are two essential pieces to accomplishing goals, especially for someone like me, who often comes up with tons of creative ideas, but never seems to have the energy to complete them all.

Last week, I posted regarding my goals for 2010 and the plans in place to achieve those goals. This week, I reflect on what’s worked, what hasn’t and where to go from here. I am doing this with just a few simple steps.

  1. Review my best laid plans to remind myself of all the things I want to accomplish, both large and small.
  2. Assess which goal paths I have been following and how much progress I have made.
  3. Look for other goal path opportunities.
  4. Act.

Learn

Assessment: I have utilized my free time very well and integrated learning into my work life with much success. I have accomplished a lot in the way of reading (books and blogs). I have deepened and broadened professional relationships, both through my office and no my own. I am extremely grateful to have a great new mentor and other professionals in my network whom I consider positive influencers, teachers, and colleagues. I’ve discovered areas of interest I didn’t know I had, uncovered talents and built skills I didn’t think I had the capacity for.  I view every challenge as a learning opportunity. I’m grateful and determined, working hard on every creative project and taking every chance to develop skills as a young professional. I’ve started journaling (on paper, in ink) again, launched this new blog to catalogue my progress in creative ventures and I am keeping the conversation going on the creative process across disciplines and fields and various platforms. I haven’t made it to any of the finish lines for my learning goals, but I’ve made huge strides.

Next step: I need to get out that 35 mm film camera and take some photos!


Create

Assessment: I’ve started this new blog about the creative process and have been successful with posting fairly regularly. I’ve cleaned out old clothing and have a huge pile of things to donate to charity… soon it will be time to make my own pieces. Though I haven’t completely succeeded here, I’m encouraged to do more the second half of the year. I’m excited about more opportunities to create blog content, my own clothing, jewelry for my roommate (who’s allergic to any metal except for gold), and putting together a cohesive and comprehensive offline journal. I used to carry around a Moleskine, which was not just a journal, but a living piece of art – I’ve started to get back into this practice and it’s amazing what a difference it makes in my life. Even if no one else ever sees it, “Art for art’s sake.”

Next step: Design my logo and put together a site. Completely finish cleaning out my closets and get my art and craft supplies in order in a workspace.



Invest

Assessment: I am doing MUCH better with eating well and have been shopping almost exclusively at the farmer’s market and only at Trader Joe’s aside from that. I have invested money into a personal trainer and this morning I started working out at the gym with her. The monthly membership and training sessions are expensive, but I’m looking forward to getting into shape and staying that way. I felt great this morning and, though I will be sore tomorrow, the investment in my future health is the only motivation I need to keep going. I’ve done a terrible job at keeping track of the accomplishments, but I certainly have been keeping up with the goal of doing something every week that I’m proud of – I think I’m going to start writing them all down for future reference and motivation. As I said above, I’m working on cleaning up and out and getting rid of any clutter (this one still needs quite a bit of work). I’ve been doing great with paying down what little debt I have and hope to continue on that trend throughout the rest of the year.

Next step: Writing in my journal the accomplishments I want to remember, work at better balancing my budget.

Image Credits: Learn – Rachael Ashe; Create – jessica wilson; Invest – connie zhen.

I’d love to know where you are on your goals for the year. How do YOU assess your progress? What adjustments have you made? How do you feel about the rest of the year?

Why I Like A Challenge

There are several reasons why I like a good challenge:

rock climbing

image from Flip D

1. If forces me to think. A good challenge forces me to really think. In order to overcome a challenge, I have to be present, set aside all other projects, and concentrate on the one and only challenge that occupies my brain. It requires a clarity that isn’t always present in the everyday routine. It’s centering, grounding. It draws me from my own selfish thoughts and requires a peace of mind, something that shifts my thought process and makes me a little uncomfortable. A good challenge forces my brain to grow.

2. It forces me to use my resources. When there is a true challenge, I am forced to draw on my knowledge, utilize my skills, pull together my assets and put everything on the table. Not only do I bring my pens and pencils, my everyday experience, but also those untapped springs of talent, those yet unused or undiscovered assets. A good challenge shows me that which I did not know I was capable of.

3. It forces me to be creative. When a valuable challenge presents itself, not only does it demand time and attention, but it makes all I do take a back seat to the creative process. I have to think outside the box – or reinvent the box – or break down the box altogether – or put the box back together again. A venerable problem or issue is not something I have ever encountered before; it’s something completely new. I like to think of it as an adventure. On this quest, I may surprise myself. Ideas flow forth from that moment of zen, of complete quiet, where my brain has never ventured before. While the process and the solution may well be influenced by past experience, each one is new and completely unique to the situation. A good challenge brings about change.