A short time back I presented the idea of short weekly goals as a way to help boost your creativity when you’re feeling a bit down. I called it “Zoink’s Challenge” and you can hear more about it on Episode 062 of the podcast right here!

A short recap if you aren’t familiar.

  • Set a simple goal or two for yourself that you want to accomplish by the end of that week. The thought being that small, short term goals like that are much easier to accomplish.
  • Write down the goals at the start of the week then at the end of the week (or whenever you hit the goal) write down a few thoughts about if you hit it, what went well, what didn’t, etc.
  • The benefit being that not only will you more than likely accomplish most, if not all, of these small goals, whenever you are feeling down or stuck, you can look back at a whole stack of amazing things you’ve accomplished already that year, which just may be the motivating kick starter to get rolling on something new.

Since I try to practice what I preach, I’ve put this strategy in place myself. So far it’s gone well. Very well in fact. The first week I missed just one of my goals due to being down for the count with an unexpected illness! Gotta love cold and flu season… The second week I smashed the goals I set, so the third week I added a few more things to the list.

I have a total of 4 goals rolling this week, two that would push me to keep creating for you here, and two that were more personal projects I had been putting off for ages. Those last two I set a goal to simply get started on the two projects. That was it. Get off my butt and just get the ball rolling.

But here’s the thing about goals…

I found that as I started the first project, a big cleanup job of an absolute disaster of a corner in my basement, I got on a roll and before I knew it I had the whole thing not just started, but totally cleaned up and finished!

Not only did I meet my weekly goal of just getting started, once I got started I just let myself get caught up in the flow of the project and next thing I knew I was putting the final touches on the full clean-up!

Lesson learned: It felt great! I felt so good about getting this stupid project done that I had been putting off for literally a year or so. There was only one thing to do…

Smash the second goal by getting started on my second goal of beginning the process of laying out a simple Blurb book I’d been meaning to make since August. My parents and I had taken a weekend fishing trip and I had been wanting to throw all of my photos from the trip into a small book for them.

If you’ve ever worked on self publishing a photo book you’ll know the process can be a bit tedious. I already had all of the photos edited and selected, so that part was done. Now I just had to sit down and finally start the layout process. This was the week!

As I sat down and got started with laying out the book, jamming to some good music as I worked, a funny thing happened. Before I realized it, I was laying out the final 2 photos and I had the project completely finished. Keep in mind, I had only set a goal to get the project started. I hadn’t planned on actually getting it finished this week. But that’s exactly where I found myself, book finished and the second of two goals not just accomplished but exceeding the expectations I had set for myself.

What was happening?!

I was learning a valuable lesson that I’m now happily sharing with you, that’s what.

What I’ve learned about Zoink’s Challenge

  1. The process 100% works. As the weeks progress and the successfully accomplished goals stack up, those small victories start to have an impact.
  2. That impact is both in being able to get much more accomplished AND starting to truly feel like I’m not just spinning my wheels. The progress week over week is now tangible.
  3. Setting, and hitting, these small weekly goals is helping to bring a much needed element of structure to my practice of creativity. It’s not a schedule or strict set of rules. Rather it’s a couple of loose guidelines that I can work toward, which is helping me be more productive.
  4. It’s training me to BELIEVE that I’m capable of far more than I realized. Even though these are small victories, minor goals, it’s a tangible document that affirms all the hard work is indeed paying off. And each one of the small goals I achieve leaves me feeling like I’m ready to tackle the next one.
  5. Which means that hitting small goal after small goal is addicting. I love feeling like I’m succeeding in accomplishing the things I set out to do. Sometimes those large goals are so far away that we feel like we aren’t good enough to hit them. But small steps forward, celebrated as a victory in our march towards the distant finish line, let me stay excited about the journey.
  6. Success breeds success, and the failures breed larger successes as we learn more about ourselves and the processes of what we are trying to achieve. If I can stack 10 successes, then experience one or two failures, the failures don’t hurt as much. Rather, because I KNOW that I CAN succeed based off a stack of completed goals, I’m able to examine it and keep trying until I get it.
  7. Starting the week by actually taking a minute to sit down and plan a couple goals for that week is a fantastic time for reflection about what I want to achieve without feeling completely overwhelmed by a total 5 year plan all at once.

Have you taken on Zoink’s Challenge yet?

No?

What’s holding you back?


David (Usually Dave) Szweduik is a photographer, podcaster, and all around geek from the great state of Minnesota and can be found weekly on his podcast Adventures in Creativity. There you’ll find him having conversations fueled by curiosity around the amazing world of all things creativity. If you want even more terrific creativity based content, feel free to join the fun with the Newsletter!

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