Goals aren't single-step, go-out-and-do achievements, they're more of a consistency thing. You sculpt your actions in small or big ways so that, over time, you get the outcome you desire. If you have a goal that only takes one step (e.g. sweep out the garage or don't overeat), that's not really a goal—IMHO—it's an item on a to-do list.
A goal is an y-variable over an x-variable (with x usually indicating some sort of time or frequency metric).
One of my current goals is to post weekly updates to the Drawg, which was going pretty well till it wasn't. That's post/weekly. I can revisit that and correct it starting now because the goal is set up constructively.
On the other hand, the two goals I'm struggling to work toward have to do with drawing. I have a hunch that those goals are out of order because they were built like this: drawing/whenever. The denominator is vague—probably subconsciously on purpose—because I routinely make "whenever" a lower priority than paid work, fitness, relationship time, family time, vacations, eating and doing nothing. So then it's just "drawing," the to-do item that feels less important than keeping a hygienic home or staring at the wall cuz I'm tired.
This is the part of the post where I get to crow about how well I'm doing in areas of my life not related to art goals or work goals or diary-writing goals. The success of these goals does, I believe, really showcase the sloppy goal-setting employed in the areas (see above) where I'm floundering. Check out the before and after:
- Improved Goal No. 1: Stop Eating Like Crap --> Log Nutrition Daily
While I'm keeping track of all kinds of nutrients, what this really boils down to is a commitment to meeting the low end of my calorie target each day, while meeting the mid-to-high end of my protein and fiber target. I carve out time every day (just like the goal says: nutrition/daily) to do this accounting, and to budget my consumption.
- Improved Goal No. 2: Improve Fitness --> Lift Heavier Weight at Every Opportunity
I have been really good at getting to kettlebell class 2-4 times a week (which is a goal in itself) but I want to make sure I am not selling myself short by choosing a wimpy weight. This goal is heavy/opportunity, and each opportunity is pretty easy to spot (usually I'm standing in front of a pile of weights).
- Improved Goal No. 3: Make good choices --> Go Alcohol-Free from May to September
The Third Annual Summer of Sobriety is really healthy for my body, and has saved me from dozens of wasted days. Also it saves a heap of cash. It is easy to implement because the parameters are clear: no booze/all summer.
There are other goals besides these that I'm successfully observing, but these are the first three I thought of. They are also helpful in illustrating how details and a time axis can take a goal from lame to laser-focused. And also they illustrate how, as with any goal, nothing is actually lost when you have a little lapse. Because it's not a to-do list item, one bad episode isn't going to create total failure. Just acknowledge your fall from the whatever-wagon, then hop right back up there and roll on.
P.S. This blog post was supposed to be about how I really did meet my goal of having Dipsy Doodle sketches to show on May 1. I scanned them and everything, just haven't put them up.