I have never been much for making resolutions. Such self-promises have lapsed into failure no sooner than I’ve put pen to paper.
Instead, I try to evaluate the past year. I look at where I’ve succeeded and where I’ve fallen short and I try to learn from both. Rather than seeing it as an opportunity to set myself up for a failure that I will berate myself for later, I instead try to reinforce those actions that helped me to succeed. Focusing too much on the things I don’t like has never led to a successful transformation. It’s only when I focus on the actions that get me closer to what I want that have resulted in change.
Take It One Day a Time
Though I have lofty aspirations, I have to accept that I only have so many hours in the day. Though I’d like to be Superman with my to–do list, I have to be reasonable with my expectations and myself. I instead focus on making progress and not repeating behaviors and actions that maintain the status quo. My life doesn’t have to completely change in 24 hours. I just need to know that I’m moving forward.
Ask for Help
Though, I work alone in a home office, I’ve learned that I’m not meant to achieve things in my life by myself. It’s okay to reach out and ask for help, especially in areas where I lack experience or expertise. Whether it has to do with finances or marketing, I have benefited greatly from asking for help from people who are more talented in those areas than I am. It has saved me both time and frustration to solicit the advice and assistance of others.
Just as I would have to be accountable to a boss when I was employed in a normal 9-5 job, I have to be just as accountable when it comes to my own efforts as a photographer, podcaster and entrepreneur. This involves me making an assessment of my progress not only day-to-day, but also week-to-week and month-to-month. When needed, I have asked a friend whom I respect for feedback on my business choices. This helps to make sure that I don’t stray too far off the path that is hopefully leading to my goals.
Be Socially Selective
When it comes to my personal time, I prefer to spend time with people who are pursuing their own creative visions. It’s not good enough to hang around people who share my passions. They also have to be people who are regularly putting in the footwork to make their dreams come true. There are few things that will help light the fire beneath me than the success of my friends and associates who like me started with little to nothing.
Be Kind to Myself
Most days’ I don’t manage to check off all the things on my to-do list. Rather than beating myself up for not have completed everything, I am grateful for the things that I have managed to achieve. And if I have days where I lacked the energy to get much of anything done, I will be kind to myself. I may have just needed the time to rest and decompress. God willing, there’s always tomorrow.
I focus on finding a way to be creative every day. Whether it’s making a photograph, writing an article or short story or making a sketch, I make the time to express my creativity. It doesn’t have to be great art. I just have to work that creative muscle in a way that feels that I have not undernourished one of the most important parts of myself.
Whether my bank balance is where I’d like it to be or I’ve produced a great photograph or podcast episode, I remain grateful for all the things that make up my life. From my family to my business, I remind myself that I am a unique position where I get to focus much of my energy and time on something that I love. Every day that I have the opportunity to do so is something that should leave me grateful regardless of where I am in my journey.
A book that has helped me in my journey as a creative is Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. It a book I read every year and helps provide me the insight I need to meet my goals.