And until recently, I was apt to share them with whomever would listen.
I’m doing “this and that,” I’d say. Sometimes my goals would change, “actually, I’m doing that and this.”
I loved sharing my goals because it was like it was proving to others (and perhaps more to myself) that I was “on my way” and going places.
But then I came across this thought-provoking video over at Ted Talk.
This brings a whole new meaning to the term, “sharing goals.”
You’d think that would be the thing to do, too. You know, have someone else hold you accountable so that you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
But you know, after watching this video, I began to realize that my own goal-sharing and telling others of my plans had, over time, backfired.
Instead of people getting excited about my goals, they’d become apathetic. Perhaps it was because I sometimes got a little over-zealous and would share my aspirations like crazy.
Or maybe it was because I reminded people of their own goals and what they’d like to accomplish…but had not.
Or maybe they were so wrapped up in their own goal-sharing, that sharing mine was like overkill.
Any way I looked at it, the goals I HAD shared, more often than not, fizzled out. I didn’t achieve them.
The personal goals I hadn’t shared? I looked back and I think I accomplished more.
For example, I never shared with my parents my goal to graduate college early. I can’t recall if I shared that fact with anyone else. I knew what I wanted to do and I went for it.
I graduated college (the first time around) in 3.5 years.
Similarly, I never shared with my family that when I graduated college, I was going to move out and find a place of my own (I admit here that this was because I didn’t want them to take offense at my wanting to leave; it was time to spread my wings, though.)
I graduated on a Friday. The following week I lived 3 hours away and had found a job there, too.
But the goals I have shared? I feel like I’ve accomplished less.
Last November, I told everyone I was writing a novel for NaNoWriMo. I was sure I was going to publish it, and told everyone that was my goal.
Two days into December, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. My novel became rather autobiographical and I just wasn’t feeling it. At all. And so much for that goal. Oh well.
But having goals is what drives me.
So I’m experimenting. People can share their goals all they want. But I am keeping mine to myself.
To be sure, I actually have hundreds of goals.
Awhile ago, I decided to get really serious about some goals for myself.
I found a notebook/journal and didn’t like the cover.
I wanted to decorate it myself. I got a piece of canvas, glued it to the cover, and used Sharpie markers to write on and decorate it. I glued on four beads and a felt sticker to add to the design.
It came with a pen and I used Sharpie markers to decorate that, too.
I also made a bookmark out of hemp rope and beads.
After I finished making this notebook all my own, I sat down to work out all my goals for the year 2013.
And yes, having a fancy notebook motivates me to want to use my notebook and consult it for all my goal-making desires.
Working Out My Goals
The first thing I did was to write out all my yearly goals.
The trick is writing things that you can actually achieve while still pushing yourself a little more than you think you can do.
The way to do this is come up with where you want to be in one year, and be realistic. If you’re making $30,000 in a given year and in the next you want to make $1,000,000, well, I don’t want to be the bearer of sobering news, but that’s probably not going to happen. Note I said “probably.” Stranger things have happened.
But, let’s say you wanted to make $50,000 in the next year and you’re at the $30,000 mark.
That’s rather achievable, don’t you think?
Here’s another example:
Let’s say you want to write a book. A yearly goal could be “Finish Writing my Memoir.”
So, think of goals that you feel pretty comfortable achieving in one year but that will make you push yourself, too.
Then, onto the monthly goals
Once you’ve figured out where you want to be in a year, start with the current month and figure out what you need to accomplish to help you achieve your yearly goals.
Going back to the above example, how are you going to accomplish writing that book in a year?
If the average book is 80,000 words, you can break down your goal into month-by-month time frames: each month you’ll need to write just over 6,500 words and each week you’ll need to write over 1,625 words and each day at least 240 words.
So now, you have yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals that you’ve given yourself.
The trick is to configure your monthly goals into smaller achievable bits that will help you achieve your yearly goals.
Once you have figured out the current month’s goals (and perhaps a few months after that), begin working on your weekly goals and then your daily goals.
But don’t just write down your goals and forget about them. COMMIT to doing them, at all costs.
You read that right. If it gets written down, commit to achieving those goals, no matter what.
If they change, that’s okay. Just cross off the goal and rewrite the new one and why you crossed off the old one.
As you achieve your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals, check them off.
Read your yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals aloud to yourself each day.
By doing this, you’re committing your goals to memory, holding yourself accountable to them, and etching them into your subconscious mind.
Then tell people what you achieved if you want, or just show them, but after the fact.
And that’s what I’m doing with this blog. So as you see each post, it’s a reflection of a goal I had or something that I crossed off my list.
I woke up to find that over 30 (at least that’s where I stopped counting) of the articles I write for HubPages were copied and put on other websites.
I spent the next 5 hours telling Google about it in the form of DMCA complaints: my husband cooked me breakfast and the art project I was working on was on hold…for an undetermined length of time.
Then I learned that the DMCA’s didn’t work because they didn’t have “ads” on the sites and that I had to contact the site owners.
This was after rogue sites had “mirrored” HubPages and another site bombed one of my hubs with thousands upon thousands of views in which case it’s entirely possible someone will think that I paid someone to do that, when in reality, I had no idea what was going on. At least it happened to a few other people at the same time as me, so I knew it was an outside attack and I wasn’t alone.
Add to that the peppering of DMCA complaints I’ve filed over the last year and a half and…
It hit me. How would I ever rank well with Google if someone’s always copying my work?
I spent the first half of that Friday upset that, yet again, some twitty looney had stolen my content. I spent the latter half of the day in tears at the realization that I felt taken advantage of, and my vision of being an online writer was….altered. Not shattered, but altered.
I started thinking about Google, too, how they can arbitrarily yank your AdSense account if they even think you might be fraudulent. I had two friends have their accounts yanked recently, plus another two people in the last year that I know. It’s more common than you think and all it takes is some unknown person somewhere who’s a little too click-happy to undo it all for you.
It seemed like everything was out of my control, and that I’d been making everyone else a lot of money via ads, commissions, and my time.
Even through Zazzle. They take HUGE commissions out of every product you make, so a $50 item might earn you $4.
I needed to think.
And I was tired.
Tired of spending 12 hours a day at the computer. Tired of everyone else stealing my work or making a lot of money off of me and my hard work.
So I took some time off.
I still worked. A lot.
In fact, I turned my attention to the Sharpie art I like to make. I resolved to not let the lame side of the internet get me down and pressed on.
I created three sharpie drawings
And I created a new website: The Sharpie Artist, where I finished a commissioned Sharpie window for The Real Housewife. I do hope she likes it – it’s due to ship on Monday. I anxiously await her review. (Yes, these are for sale; go to the website for more information, if you’d like.)
Something else happened: I began to look at all those HubPages copy-cat sites as a blessing in disguise. That one event was the impetus I needed to move on and begin a better path for myself.
I have been thinking for awhile that yes, I enjoy writing and I enjoy blogging, but that I was stuck at the computer way too much.
In the week I took off from blogging, I still commented and visited my favorite blogs.
But I wanted to get outside.
I began going to a greenway in Asheville before I went to teach school and enjoyed it and centered myself.
I’m going to keep doing that.
As I type this, I have four jars of violets waiting to become syrup. I was out in my front yard picking some young violet leaves for salad and some flowers to make the syrup that will go over pancakes, mix with butter for a delicious toast, go over ice cream and be a substitute in cakes and scones.
And it felt so good.
I have missed being outside and connecting with nature.
It’s what I do – integral to who I am.
I am a teacher and I’m feeling like that is integral to who I am, too.
I hadn’t realized it until recently, but I’ve done some form of teaching since I was 12 years old.
It started with church (when I used to participate in more organized religion): I taught Sunday school and vacation bible school and Confirmation classes.
I went on to become a ski instructor and substitute teacher and then went back to school to get my teaching license.
Since then, I’ve taught in public school, community college and now, private school.
I do believe it’s in my DNA to teach.
But it’s also in my DNA to create, as well. I must create.
This last week, with teaching and creating so much, and getting out into nature, I finally felt a real sense of balance that I hadn’t felt in a long while – perhaps since last fall.
And then, like a bag of pebbles hitting my head repeatedly, the following entered my mind:
I cannot call myself an artist. I cannot call myself a writer. I cannot call myself a photographer. I cannot call myself a naturalist – not as stand-alone phrases. I am all of those things at once.
I am not separate entities. I am one being with a calling to use all of these things as tools for something greater in my life.
Do I know exactly what that looks like?
No. I’m still working on it, as I’m sure many people are finding ways to use their gifts in the best way possible. I’m sure many people are finding ways to become their highest selves.
I just know that in order to feel balanced, in order to flourish and blossom with my life, I have to acknowledge everything that makes me tick as a person and integrate them into my work.
That’s why it’s always seemed like I didn’t necessarily have a clear direction with this blog.
I’d try to focus on one area, like photography and shift to another, like writing. I brought art into the mix and I’ve talked about spirituality. But when I focused on one thing too much, I’d freak out and “look for direction,” over and over again.
But the whole “copy” experience, so not fun as it was, actually helped me to embrace all that I am and what I’m called to do.
In the upcoming weeks, you’ll definitely see a change in what I post: and in those posts I hope that you find tidbits of wisdom that inspire you, information that teaches you, words that empower you, images that move you and that you feel love.