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One of my photography mentors was huge on goals. We had to all set 6 month, 1 year, 5 year and 10 year goals. We were told it is what successful people did. So I did it.

I felt like it was a lot of bogus though. I found them hard to make. All I knew is that in 6 months I would be in the opposite season I am in now and in 10 years, who knows. I wanted to be a well recognized adventure sport photographer, but didn’t want to set a 10 year timeline for that to happen. I wanted to work as hard as I possibly could every day for that.

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Always strive for the best. Work hard every day. Don’t limit yourself.

I wrote my goals anyways following all the directions about making them quantifiable, measurable and all the other things that a good goal setting article will tell you do to. I put the goal on my whiteboard, on my fridge, on my desktop background and everywhere else I look with any regularity.

After months of looking at them all the time, they became meaningless. Like the drive to work you do every day, you just stop noticing the same old.

I wrote goal setting off. It wasn’t my thing.

Not long after that I ended up getting an iPhone and started falling in love with the Calendar App. I became obsessed with planning. From 5am-7am I would do emails. 7-7:30 was breakfast time. Then I would take RainDog out for a walk for an hour. I’d get home from that and make 15 minutes for, well, you get the point.

Working/Exploring

Working/Exploring

My planned days soon turned into months and years of mondaine daily schedules and no real direction. Sure from 8am-12 was scheduled for “work stuff”, but many days went by when all that “work stuff” was sitting in front of my Facebook Page, refreshing my browser to see if I got another like.

It was another app though that really changed things for me. It brought my belief back in goals. But maybe not as all the self-help articles tell you about goals. It was the Reminders app. A very simple checklist app on the iPhone that allows you to write short lines and check them off. I’m sure the original purpose was to use it to write your grocery list, but when you live off bread, peanut butter and apples, you don’t really need a fancy app to remind you what to get at the store.

Okay, no work going on here, but sometimes you just need to relax in the daisy's

Okay, no work going on here, but sometimes you just need to relax in the daisies

What the app was awesome for was setting what I called my “daily goals”.

What is a daily goal? It is just what you want to accomplish in the day. It is different than a plan. It is much simpler than a plan, doesn’t have a time set to it, and it is something you can check off when you complete it (which feels pretty damn good).

I would write my goals up the night before. I think that’s important as you wake up with your list and are eager to start checking them off. There would be anywhere from 3-10 things on the list. The average goal list would look something like;

•Plan next week’s photo shoot
•Get through all emails
•Pay outstanding invoices (cell, internet, accountant)
•Hike to Luskeville Fire Tower
•Complete Joby Blog

Now that we live in the van, our goal list looks like:

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Our daily goal list

I don’t set timelines to the goals, except for getting them done that day. What it means is I can move things around when I feel the most motivated for them or when the time is more ideal. Like if it is going to rain the the afternoon, I would hike the morning, and do the office work in the afternoon. Or if I wake up and am motivated to go through emails, I  do it and get it checked off the list.
All that matters at the end of the day is that there is a check mark beside everything on that list, and it feels pretty good.

Making art happen

Making art happen

I challenge you to give a it try. Instead of saying what is tomorrow’s plan, say what are tomorrow’s goals? Write them down and do them!

#FoundSero
John

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