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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SMART Thoughts, Authentic Aims

At this time of year, we all start thinking about big things, like goals and targets. Even if we're not working, whether for someone else or for ourselves, we still like to plan out what we would like to get done in the New Year. Lots of us jump straight in there, making lists of what to do, and when to do it. SMART, if you haven't come across it before, is an acronym which is meant to remind us of the best way to set goals. Goals, it says, should be;

-Time bound.

And that's true. The only way to be sure that you do what you want to do, is to be as specific as that. So, we move from, 'I want to do more dyeing', to ' I want to make x metres of hand dyed fabric by February, and another x metres by August. For more about SMART goals, try the site here for a clear explanation.

I know all this, I've taught lots of other people to work that way, too, and I know it is a great way of managing and measuring performance. The downside, for me, is that it focusses on what I'm going to do. For me, there's a bit more to it than that. I also want to think about how it is I'm going to be. I want to continue to be healthy, for instance. I want to be sure that I'm working authentically, too, making the work I want to make, and not work that I think might be commercial, or might suit this or that market... I've done a bit of that this year, and I don't want to do it any more.

So, I'm starting my goal setting, not with the specifics, but with the general. I'm asking the question, 'what do I want to achieve this year'. After all, if you don't have the big picture clear in your head, you might well miss something. That question, 'what do you want to achieve' is one of my favourites; I use it often when I'm coaching, or talking to people about a problem they have. We jump too quickly to 'fixing' things, without really getting a clear picture of what it is we want out of the situation. We get swept up in the issue, and forget to ask ourselves what is important to us.

What is important to me, this year, is this idea of authenticity. Most of my work comes from my inner landscape, or from talking to other people about theirs. For me, that means trusting myself, listening to my intuition, taking risks, exposing parts of myself that I might have kept hidden before. If you like, I'm defining the way I want to work, before I sit down and write up the goals. I want to work openly, honestly, directly, clearly. I want to continue with the themes I've been working with recently, of scarring, cracking and erosion. I want to work with other people, too, to help them to work out what they need to be authentic, how they need to work, and what they need to work on, to achieve that aim, or whatever else their aim turns out to be. I want to fill my life with joy, and share that joy with others.

Now, I'm ready to start thinking about goals, the specifics, such as the two books I am committed to writing this year. If you are going through the goal setting process, just give yourself some time first, to being clear about what you want to achieve this year, and how you want to achieve it, before you start listing what you are going to do. I'm sure it will help.


Chauncey said...

great post, Marion. Much to think about.

Piggy said...

Great tips! Something to think about for the New Year :)

SecretMe said...

sounds great! I have just posted about my healing arts journal I just started.

Its all exciting - a new year! and with it new ideas and fresh thinking!

The Filigree Garden said...

Thought-provoking post!

On a Whimsey said...

Pretty thought prevoking, as usual!

Diane Elizabeth said...

Just what I needed to hear, Marion. And I'm happy to see that you are focusing on your authenticity rather than the markets. It is easy to get distracted from the path tha is "true north". Happy New Year's -- Diane

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Marion. I have been pondering myself on what I want to achieve this coming year and your points are helpful.

I hope 2009 is a happy, healthy and creatively successful year for you

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Thanks for sharing your goals :) I'm working on thinking through mine right now!

Sixsisters said...

Thanks for this post Marion. Setting goals has not always been a strong point for me. I want and will do
better for 2009 !

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Quite interesting and thought provoking.
My work is intuitive, so for me to set a specific goal is hard. But I can set the goal of following what leads me with the work, of producing a body of work as long as the feel and thought remains frsh and true.
I have always shied away from New Years Resolutions; yes, I need to lose weight and get in shape and eat better and LESS...those are the norms and they last about a week, or month for the determined and not easily distracted.
I guess, if I had to sum up what I want for this new year as an overall goal is following the authentic *me* even if that means making some folks unhappy. Things that I know NEED to be done, and not asking permission---doing the right thing both in life and work.
And here in the U.S.--at least at the moment--that's not easy!
May we all follow our inspirations and succeed!

Myfanwy said...

Goals, not resolutions! Yes! That's the way to do it! Thanks for the pointers, my dear!

Judy Alexander said...

My daughter and 1 were just talking about SMART goals yesterday. I have always loved this term when it comes to goal setting. I am in the process of finalizing my artistic goals for next year. I will post them on my blog in the next few days. Happy new year!

Bonnie Samuel said...

Relevant and most helpful post, Marion. I've reviewed what I thought were my goals in 08, laughed at a couple and revised somewhat. 08 was a year of experimenting on the net with a few things and now I can paint a better picture of what 09 should be and what objectives to strive to achieve.

lyptis said...

Great post!

Love goal setting and even more, to achieve them! what a sweet feeling!:)

Drew said...

Funnily enough, given the situation I find myself in - you know what I'm talking about, Marion, today the house positively shook on several occasions - I hadn't even thought about goals. I was concentrating more on the ephemeral nature of life. I guess that looking forward is the only way to get through the day. As for goals, it's a great idea - the achievable bit might be difficult since not a lot is in my hands. However, focusing on what IS in my hands could be a good start!
Thanks, Marion!