Goal Evasion

Lately I’ve realized that the best method I have for accomplishing goals is setting them to begin with. Revolutionary, I know.

I’m a big goal setter. Usually. At the very least, I firmly believe in the concept. But occasionally I lapse into this weird space where I’m terrified to set any goals, because that would mean I’ve committed myself to accomplishing them. And sometimes I just don’t want to accomplish things. Sometimes I want to live in that place where anything is possible and I can dream REALLY big because there’s no deadline looming in the future that will prove my goals were too big to accomplish in the first place.

Which is how I see the world when I’m lost in this space. It’s fear, really. One moment of avoidance becomes another, until you have a long string of goal-evasion that has replaced all you’ve previously accomplished. When you have no goals to meet, nothing pressing on your mind that you must work at, ANYTHING is possible! I can be a princess! On a unicorn! On Mars!

This past year, since my last show, I’ve been avoiding planning another one. There’s a lot of work involved and honestly, I didn’t want to think about it. Instead, I wanted to paint freely, without the pressure of show-planning. Do a bunch of art for me, without time constraints and distraction. So I did. And now I have all these great paintings I’m working on, and a full collection that, once completed, I will inevitably want to show people. In public. With promotion. And wine. And fanfare.

Oh. I see how that works.

The goal was always there, I just refused to commit to it. It’s an interesting reflection of life, too. Things will always happen, whether we plan for them or not. Some people take initiative and do their best to choose (at least some of) the events in their life. Others close their eyes and shut out the process, waiting for life to choose things for them, suffering the repercussions of not taking the reigns, getting dragged along wherever the spooked horses and decrepit wagon takes them.

My favorite goal setting method is the tried and true, commit-to-things-without-thinking-and-worry-about-it-after-the-fact method.

Pick a goal. Then pick a date. Throw something out there spontaneously without too much thought and stick to it. Say it out loud so that people outside of you know it exists. Remove any ability to back out quietly. Commit yourself. Then, relish in all that beautiful pressure!

Knowing that this method works, I just recently I came up with a date for a show. Later this year. That I will have to promote and plan and figure out. Yikes. I guess I better get started on that. There’s pressure. There’s deadlines. There’s people who expect me to complete this goal. I’ve successfully done this before, so that’s reassuring. I know I can do it.

And the strange thing is, now that I’ve committed myself, I feel an overwhelming calm about it. Having something to work with is certainly better than the dark unknown. In retrospect, the solution was so obvious, and so easy. The hard part will be remembering this (again) after my next show is over.

Written by Shayla Maddox for Art & Musings

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