A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment we contemplate it, bearing within us the image of a cathedral. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Get Important Things Done with 90-Day Goals

Getting things done powers success. 90-day goals are a force of nature. The things you want are within your grasp. Prioritize goals and actions. Make your plans, and then make them happen. You can accomplish much by working on a 90-day project on your own. But having a mentor, coach, or accountability partner will boost your ability to turn your dreams of the artist's life you want into reality. 

How Do 90-Day Goals Apply to Living the Artist's Dream? 

Thinking about the artist's dream can make it seem ethereal or unattainable. It's neither. The artist's dream is your dream. It happens for you when outside noise and influences turn quiet, leaving you to determine what works for you... what satisfies you. Nothing else matters when you center on what it means to be an artist and have genuine indications of living your expectations. Use 90-Day Goals to uplevel actions that move you closer to fulfilling your vision of living the artist's life.

You can be wildly enthusiastic with plans to grow a booming art business or be content to create all the art you want to make with no worries over how to sell it or build an inventory of unsold art. The decision is yours to make and relish when you live the artist's life you want. Oh, and there are no wrong decisions. 

Living the Artist's Life Is Complicated, but You Are Capable.

Unless we are sleepwalking through life, we are all trying to get things done. It's human nature to want to accomplish something. It's also human nature to bite off more than we can chew and procrastinate on what we would most like to do.

What I just said is a dichotomy. How can you want to accomplish your ideas and at the same time be a procrastinator? It's easy. We're involved human beings with many inputs, impulses, and desires.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Temptations Abound

While we might aspire to have great success, we also have enormous temptations. The studio, napping,  family, friends, Facebook, politics, PBS, Netflix, X-Box, and football games are examples that tug at our attention span. So we are pulled in many directions daily.

It takes self-discipline to break out of our everyday routines. Changes cause ripples and effects we have to deal with whether we want to. We often are resistant to change because we fear the cause and effect. Or, we are just comfortable enough to be complacent.

Humans Are Complex Beings

Accept these things about being human. It helps clarify why five-year and even one-year goals are hard to achieve. Human nature takes effect and starts the trouble. We relax, knowing we have months or years before urgency kicks us into action.

While long-term goals are okay, they need setting and accomplishing more minor aims to support them. For example, if you want to become a medical doctor, you know it will take years of education and training with many incremental milestones. Fortunately, learning breaks into smaller segments, making monumental and mundane achievements possible.

Why 90-day Goal Planning Works

90-day goal planning works because it's just the right size. Not too much to overwhelm and not too little to be inconsequential.

First, we all have limited energy and time. Second, 90-days gives you an ideal amount of time to make significant achievements. Second, it's enough time to make progress and produce results for your time and effort. And lastly, it's a reasonable length because you can always see the finish line and what you will accomplish.

The 90-day goal planning process is perfect for getting things done that will progress your career, personal life, or both.

Compare 90-day Goals to Formal Education.

You got through whatever level of formal education you completed in quarters or semesters. There is a good reason for breaking up the year that way. School administrators, teachers, and students can wrap their heads around a 90-day schedule. A quarter is believable and achievable, making it easy to get done, to see the finish line.

So why not go back to what worked well for you in the past? I suggest not going quarter to quarter without a break between. Taking some time off between 90-day goals allows you to prepare for the next 90 days. And a chance to recover from your previous 90-day push. Plus, it provides you with a cushion to finish a project without taking time from your next 90-day period.

A Schedule to Live By

I suggest you use a 90-day on and 30-day off routine. Here is one suggestion. You can modify it to your needs:

  • September – November and taking off December.
  • January – March and take off April.
  • May – July and off in August.

That plan gives you three 90-day on cycles and three 30-day off cycles. Taking breaks in December, April and August seem to fit the lifestyle and coordinate with other yearly plans and obligations.

Artist's Feedback

Lee Hendrickson is an accomplished crystal photography artist and AMTP member; he provided this excellent insight.

"What particularly intrigued me was the 30 day recovery period after each segment. Not to binge on Netflix, but because it defines a period for restocking the subconscious with new ideas. I'm thinking of a period for reading (especially outside my area of expertise), hiking/nature immersion, travel, museum/gallery visits, and social reconnects. As creatives, we need to keep our subconscious charged with new ideas that will allow patterns to emerge and make connections as our art and art businesses evolve."

Put together enough quarters of formal education, and you can get a doctorate.

Keeping steady at using a 90-day cycle will allow you to achieve loftier, more complicated long-term career goals.

Commit to your goals in writing

The primary reason you and others will fail is a lack of a written deadline. The Stanford University executive program found 90% of high-performing people shared these common traits:

  • set specific goals—with expected results
  • set a time frame for their goals
  • writes them down

Start Small

Want to know the quickest way to make this new goal-setting routine fail? Load it up with too much stuff. Start small when you make changes to stay focused on what is essential.

Set one personal goal and one career goal. It may not sound like a lot. But, it's already far more than you were doing before. As your muscle doing things grows, you can add more to it. Taking on three personal and three career goals should be the max, and you should water down the relevant things. Worse, you get discouraged and quit doing everything because you are not making progress on anything.

Do great things with your goals.

Don't let good be the enemy of great. If you set goals for good enough, you will make no significant accomplishments.

Personal Goals

A personal goal can be intensely personal, meaning you don't have to share it with anyone else. You can if you want, but it is unnecessary and may not help you achieve your goal. Ask yourself, "What one thing can I do in the next 90 days that will make me happier with myself?"

I've written about self-belief and confidence often. Committing to a personal goal and seeing it finish builds confidence. A virtuous cycle that will add to your faith and inspire you to keep working on new plans.

Career Goals

Your career goal is something I encourage you to share with others. Your spouse, your colleagues, and your employer, for example. Ask for more than validation, although that's great. Ask for feedback. Sometimes a minor tweak or a different way of viewing a goal can make a big difference in the outcome.

Think, Then Act!

Once your goal is set and written, give it a day to sink it. Then come back to make sure it is your best, highest goal. Then, ask if there is a change you can make to push it just a little higher. You want something achievable, but that is also something you have to stretch to reach.

Set your goals as your top priority. Get a calendar and commit to tasks you will perform every day. Make an appointment with yourself and give yourself the time to get things done.

Schedule action items for each goal. They're appointments you cannot break.

Be Accountable

Be your accountability partner. Review your goal daily and be honest with yourself about what you accomplished. Don't let that you did not complete a daily task throw you off. Instead, use it to double your resolve to get more done tomorrow.

Look for someone in your circle who can help you. Share your professional goal and your to-do task list with this person. Set up a tight schedule where they will check on a regular schedule to measure your progress. I suggest someone other than your spouse or a life partner. You are already accountable to that person for many other things. A third party adds more positive pressure to the situation.

Make it a two-way deal. You hold each other accountable. Set up a weekly meeting and make it sacred. Use Zoom or Skype to see and talk with each other. Both free services allow you to share screens.

Recommended Worksheets, Calendars, Resources

With the abundance of online calendars, there is an option for everyone. You can create a Google calendar that is specific to your goals. You can also share just that calendar with your accountability partner. Find planners in Word and PDF formats below for those who like the tactile experience of writing things done by hand.


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