I find that the time between Thanksgiving and New Years is the perfect time to get a little introspective and to think about what you'd like to accomplish in the coming year. There are many reasons to take this time and actually write out your goals.
First, by writing out your goals, you help clarify them to yourself. Is it more important for me to show in as many shows as I can get into or do I want to pick and choose? Or do I want to forego a real push for exhibiting this year and work on developing my style and voice in my work? By looking at where you'd like to be by the end of a particular period of time, you increase your ability to pick actions that will help you get there.
Similarly, if your goals help you pick proper actions, then you reduce "scope creep". When asked to do something, you can evaluate how it will help you with your goals. I know it's important to learn to say "No", but it's not always something I'm good at. So, perhaps if I get really clear on my goals, I'll be more likely to recognize when a request isn't going to help me with the direction I want to go. When you're busily working towards your goals, you'll find yourself presented with more and more opportunities. You know the old saying, "If you want to get something done, ask a busy person!" By focusing on your written goals, you can find keep yourself working towards them, rather than getting distracted by other potentialities.
As part of goal-writing, it's a good idea to come up with a plan to help you accomplish the goal. While there is plenty of data on the power of just putting the goal down on paper (and even then just sticking the paper away in a drawer somewhere), I personally believe that you get much further towards accomplishing your goal if you have a plan of action to accompany it. Even if it's just a list of to-do tasks, that will get you on your way. If you want to go further, you can set objectives to accomplish for each goal, then make timelines, and evaluate what could potentially trip you up in your plan and how to overcome that (aka risk management) if the 'risk' occurs.
Ah, this is all sounding a bit dry. I think it must be time to hit the sewing machine. Before I do, I thought I'd share a link and a few photos from a fabulous textile tour to Guatemala I took a few years ago with my mother. The hostess, Priscilla Bianchi, is a Guatemalan quilt artist. She uses traditional Guatemalan textiles in her amazing quilts. Tonight I found a book called Arte Textil Guatemalteco- Trabajo de Priscilla Bianchi, or Guatemalan Textile Art- the Work of Priscilla Bianchi online. It is just beautiful, even if you can't read Spanish, check it out!
The photos here on today's post are ones which I took when I visited Priscilla's home in Guatemala City in February 2009.