Goals can be a double-edged sword. They keep you motivated, but they can also drag you down too. So sometimes you need to take a step back and regain your perspective.
Lately I have been getting really stressed out about our house. I spent my whole life growing up in rentals that our family could never fully settle into. We never painted, hung too much art or did anything else really permanent. I always wanted to have a place that was perfectly personalized – and with no white walls. Now here we are two years later. Both bedrooms are painted, but the living room and dining room are only partly done. All of the curtains are still original to the house. They work, but I hate them. Luckily, I love the house itself. The structure is in great shape and the layout is wonderful. It just doesn’t really feel completely like home yet.
I spend all week on wonderful and inspiring design websites. Seeing so many awesome spaces and products gets me excited for the possibilities that our home holds. Plus, I love the idea of every room in the house having little handmade things all over. Inspiration is a good thing, but it is starting to spill over into just being a tease.
So that got me thinking about what the root of the issue is. When we moved into the house, we had a three month old baby. After that, it seemed like one thing after another always got in the way of getting anything done. Holidays, two surgeries and a flood scare, all on top of the regular day-to-day obstacles. And it’s just so easy to say “I’ll take care of it next weekend”. But it’s more than just getting things done. It’s about having a realistic view of your goals.
No matter what goals you have set for yourself, when you are feeling discouraged you just need to look at what you have done so far. No matter what area of life you are working at – your health, an art project, home improvement – anything. No large goal is going to get done overnight. That’s why we set goals. So we can get someplace larger and better one step at a time. So keep taking steps back and see how far you’ve already come. When we moved into our house, every room was a blank canvas waiting for us to make our mark. We may not have the living room painted, but I have an awesome piece of art made by a friend on the blank wall. The house may not be picture perfect, but I have a lot of fun with my family and gets lots of cuddle time with my little girl. So all in all, things are good.
As far as my creative goals go, that’s why I have a project list and this blog. When I feel like I’ve done nothing creative or productive, I look at what I have made recently and already kind of forgotten about. There are so many different ways you can track your progress. Depending on what kind of project you are tracking, photos can be a great way to start. Taking a before photo and hanging it somewhere you can see it regularly is a good way to visually remind yourself of progress. You can also make a list of the parts of your goal, and cross off the steps as you complete them. If you have good friends or family that is supportive of your goals, tell them what you are working towards. Then when you get frustrated and vent, they will remind you how far you have already come.
In addition to tracking your progress, you also want to be sure you don’t get sucked too far into the idea of working really, really hard. Hard work and staying on top of goals is a really good thing. But when you work and work and work to the exclusion of everything else, it starts to become counterproductive. Taking a break and doing something different will recharge your batteries and get you back on track for actually getting things done rather than spinning your wheels.
Now I need to take my own advice and keep repeating it over and over in my head. So my mantra for the week is “Things don’t have to be perfect, just better than before”. And hopefully constant improvement will get me somewhere awesome. Like a home I love every square inch of that oozes handmade appeal.
Have a great weekend everyone!