The New Year is a time for reflecting on the highs and the lows of the past year and it is a time for looking forward and making plans. I’m an advocate of giving yourself milestones and punctuating the year ahead with things to look forward to. One of the first things I did when I returned to work after the seasonal break was to book some time off for a holiday in the summer!
At the start of last year, I set myself the goal, a resolution if you like, to do something creative every day. But as with any goal, it needed to be more specific. If a goal is specific, it’s easier to achieve and to measure, it is realistic and when we give ourselves a deadline we’re can make a commitment to do it. It becomes tangible.
Setting a daily goal may seem a bit ambitious, but if you link your daily activities to a theme, you establish a direction and then it’s just about one small action after another.
You don’t need to plot out all 365 actions, in fact I would discourage this, the pleasure in taking small steps is that each one opens up further ideas and opportunities. If you want more structure you could set a monthly target or perhaps a weekly one that can inform your daily activities.
Last year, as I was writing the last few chapters of a novel, ‘books’ seemed to make sense as a theme and I completed Project Book 365 on New Year’s Eve
Part of taking on a project like this is that you need to share it with others, if you don’t, there is no accountability, except to yourself, and that’s not enough to stay motivated. I started a Facebook page for the project and it’s amazing how encouraging it is getting likes and comments on your work, it kept me going in the inevitable troughs between the peaks. https://www.facebook.com/ProjectBook365
In the final days of the project I didn’t feel so much a sense of relief, but one of anticipation. It becomes part of your routine, almost an addiction to achieve one small thing every day
If one small thing at a time appeals to you here’s how to kick off a 365 project:
Step 1: Decide on a theme – keep it fairly loose so that you allow scope for creativity and variety
Step 2: Decide on a day when you’ll start – a milestone date is motivating, i.e.: 1st January or your birthday, for example. But it really doesn’t matter, as long as you start the countdown and keep a note
Step 3: Tell people. The moment you share something with someone it becomes accountable, otherwise it’s only ever something that will float around in your head. Decide on an appropriate medium to make your project public i.e.: Facebook, Blogging, Pinterest etc.
This communication channel is fundamental to the project. The mission for a project like this is ultimately to raise awareness of your business and your profile but it’s also about creating a narrative that your customers will identify with and inject some personality into your business.
Step 4: Go for it! On day one, a good place to start the project is to mind map and list a few initial ideas so you don’t run out of steam early on.
I have since made a decision about what my next project will be.
If writing is something I am serious about, and one day I’d like to make a living from it, I need to put more energy into it – So my 365 project for 2014 will be:
Operation Author: A daily commitment to succeed as an Author in 365 actions
I pledge to complete a blog post weekly (http://ideaism.blogspot.co.uk/) and hope that other creatives will be motivated and inspired by my actions to come up with their own ways to move forward with their business.
Here’s to a successful 2014, in 365 simple steps.