2019, A New Goal.

2019, A New Goal.

So…2018 went by in a flash didn’t it? Honestly, the last year was amazing, hectic and plain great at times and I am so happy to have been able to get all the opportunities I got and experienced all the things I did, but I am so ready to see what 2019 has in store.

One of the things I look forward to the most for this season is the opportunity to set goals for myself and make plans. I don’t really know where this obsession started, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve tried to plan ahead and keep a journal of my progress. I find this really helpful both in my work and in my everyday life. Thus, I thought I’d share some of the thought process behind my goal setting, my goals for the year and how I keep track of them.

Why set goals?
For me, setting goals is the only way to stay sharp. There are so many things in life that serve as distractions and that let your thoughts spiral out of control until you don’t know why you end up where you did. It’s also motivating, as keeping track of my progress makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Being a person who almost always feel like I should do more, keeping track of what I’ve already done can relieve some of the stress. 

Also, setting goals is a way to keep myself accountable. I see it as a way for future-Sophy to live up to the expectations of past-Sophy. As I mentioned, distractions lurk around every corner and it’s all too easy to just lose yourself in a maze of possibilities and opportunities that are not aligned with what you actually want to accomplish. Writing down goals and putting them out into the aether make me feel like I’m almost halfway there already, and that I just have to keep going down that marked path to achieve what I want. 

Furthermore, I find that it’s easier to make good decisions when I know what I want, and why I want it. As a freelance artist, you get approached with a lot of very different opportunities and some of them might sound very appealing to you at first glance, and soon enough you want to jump onto every opportunity that comes your way. As a human, we unfortunately only have 24 hours to utilize every day and some of them should be spent sleeping, which means that eventually, you’ll have to say no to things. Having a goal set, and a why that goal is important to you is a life saver in that situation. It helps you to say no to the things that aren’t aligning with your goals, and, more importantly, helps you to say yes to the things that are going to take you further along.

How do I set goals?
I will not be going into details on how to set long-term and short-term goals, as I am confident that there are people out there that explain that a lot better than I do, but I thought I’d share some of my thought process behind my goal setting. 

First, I usually do a review of the past year. I look back at the goals that I set and how that worked out for me. I usually find that some of them went a lot further than I expected, that some of them weren’t reached and that some of them just aren’t relevant to the direction my life has taken. The reason for this is that I find it equally important to be flexible with goals as it is to set them in the first place. A year is a long time, and shit happens. You might not even know how much you wanted this new thing that was introduced into your life on a whim until you were faced with it, and your goals shouldn’t keep you from doing what you want just because you feel that you have to let some of them go. 

To keep myself from stressing about reaching specific goals, I try to dream sufficiently big to work long term on goals that I want to achieve, but I try to keep them general enough to constantly reevaluate how I’ll get there. I know this might not be what other people would recommend, but for me, this is the only way to go. The long term goal is what is important to me, and instead of setting short term goals for the entire year to get me to that specific goal, I plan my next two or three moves forward. Thus, in the case of me finding other things that will make me stray from the short term goals I’ve set, but keeping me on track for the long-term goal, I can be flexible enough to adapt trace new paths forward. It’s all about the journey, baby, so lean back and enjoy the ride.

I also try and pay extra attention to the areas where I am weak and focus on them rather than paying attention to what is already working. Sure, I can set a goal for something that I feel that I am good at, but I strive to keep all areas of my life in sync. Why do I do this? Simply because that I know that if I set goals in areas where I’m already strong, I have a tendency to keep pushing for those goals rather than focus on the ones that need the most work. Gratification is tricky, and the kick of reaching and exceeding goals is strong (ask any WoW player). It’s super easy to get caught up in the instant gratification and push the less successful bits under the rug but in order to work toward what I want, I need to see the bigger picture and the synergy effects that occur when all areas work together.

My goals?
So, what I am going to focus on for 2019 are the following:

I want to up the realism with ballpoint. Right now, I am starting to get comfortable with the ballpoint pen, but I want to be able to make my drawings a little more realistic in order to get the effect that I want. My work is still going to be fairly stylized and full of fantastical beasts, but I want to make them a little more believable. Thus, I am going to try and do tons of art studies and play around with different ways to draw things that already exists, so that I know what to do to add the magic.

I want to work bigger. I tend to work on A3 and A4 sized papers because they’re easily accessible and I can scan them on my scanner easily, but I want to scale up. I want to have more room to add details, tell stories and find new ways of drawing things. For this goal, my next moves will be to purchase larger size papers as well as make it possible for me to work on them in my studio. 

I want to explore colors. This one I’ve already started. I felt that I was in a bit of a rut around Christmas and decided just let my hair down and have fun for a while. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been doing a couple of studies with red, blue, green and orange. It’s been tons of fun and highly addictive. So next off, I’ll work on finding a way to integrate colors with the work I already do and just allow myself to find nice effects to add depth and life to my work. 

I want to develop a business mindset. I will be honest and say that I’m rubbish at running a business. I work well with my clients and I keep up with book keeping and all that, but I am not very strategic when it comes to the actual business part. I need to balance my passion out with more of a strategic business mindset so that I’ll be able to fulfill my goal of sustaining myself on my art. To get this going, I’ve been setting specific goals for my business as well as found some literature that covers the subject. It’s still a bit daunting, but having a roof over my head and food on the table are pretty nice things. 

There are just some of my long-term goals and since this blog post is long enough as it is, I’ll not list any more of them. I just wanted to share some of my thoughts with you and encourage you to also find some goals and dreams to get excited about during 2019. What do you want to achieve this year?