I promised you all last week that I would do a bit more of an informative post and give you some ideas/advice on how to adapt you goals to the current (rather shitty) situation. Last week I gave you a list of things that I was doing in the hopes that it might spark some inspiration in you, but this week I’m going to go through exactly how I adapted my goals – both big and small – to minimise the amount I’m set back by.
These are scary times and 2020 has been…terrible. We can’t seem to catch a break this year, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed or only just holding together as it is, then there is no shame in abandoning your goals and everything else until the world goes back to normal. I know there will be people out there who, like myself, find it impossible to sit and do nothing. I always have to be doing something, working on something or going somewhere or I get unbelievably restless. If you’re anything like me, but don’t know where to start with adapting your original goals or plans, then keep reading and I’ll help you figure it out!
This post is going to be split into two sections so that it is easy for you to skip to the section relevant to you. The first section is going to be ‘How to find something to do’ (make brand new goals/projects) and the second will be ‘How to adapt your old goals’. If you already have a goal and want to know how to make it work, then skip to section two, but if you need help thinking of one to begin with, then keep on reading.
You can watch the accompanying video here: https://youtu.be/7gMU5sNnSsQ
How to find something to do:
Brainstorm: Sit down and write out everything you’ve ever wanted to try, so that all of your goals/wishes/projects are in one place
You could put anything on the list:
- Writing a book
- Starting a youtube channel
- Learning photoshop
- Learning an instrument/practice and existing one
- Run a marathon
- Travel around the world
Obviously there are going to be some that are simply not possible at the moment like Skydiving, but there are plenty of other things you can do at home, so get them all down on paper and choose your top 3 that you are going to work on during your time at home.
You don’t have to choose 3 and if you have other commitments like a job or kids, then just stick to 1, but if you’re like me and don’t have either of those commitments then choose enough to keep you busy, but not too many that you get stressed out.
Make an action plan:
Once you’ve chosen what you’re going to work on you need to make a plan of action and layout exactly how you’re going to achieve that goal or you’ll likely just never do it.
Let’s use the example of learning an instrument.
If your goal is to learn the basics of the instrument and perhaps learn to play one of your favourite songs, then you’re going to need to put in some practice time. Learning new skills takes time and consistency, so commit to spending 20-60 minutes a day on your chosen skill and gradually you will get better and better.
I find it useful to give myself an easily achievable minimum because if you try and say “I’m going to play guitar for an hour every day”, then some days you’re absolutely not going to want to do that, which usually leads to you giving up. However, if you just tell yourself that you’re going to practice for 5 minutes every day, then suddenly that isn’t daunting and 9 times out of 10 once you’ve picked it up and got going you’ll probably carry on.
If you’re looking at what I’ve just said and thinking that you still don’t really have any idea what you can do because the things you want to do are outside or involve other people, then I’d encourage you to try some sort of 30 day challenge. They say it takes about 30 days to build a habit and this doesn’t look like it’s going to blow over any time soon, so you’ve probably got a little while. I’ve comprised a list of some 30-day challenges you could try:
- Read every day
- Do 10,000 steps a day
- Draw/create something everyday ( you could stick to a theme sort of like Inktober or Mermay or just do as you please)
- Stay off social media
- Spend one hour watching something educational on youtube/similar platforms
Those are just some of the first things that come to mind, but I’m sure a quick google search will bring up 1000’s of different examples, so go and find one that sparks your interest and start building habits.
Now we’re onto section two, which is all about how to adapt that lovely list of goals you had set out at the beginning of 2020 that have now been smashed to pieces; let me help you pick them back up and see what we can make from those pieces.
How to adapt your current goals:
The first thing I want you to do is to just write down all of your goals from the beginning of the year. I’ve made a table full of my goals for demonstrative purposes, but you can lay yours out in whatever way works best for you.
Written them all down? Good.
Now some of your goals you will unfortunately just have to scrap for this year and come back to them once this mess if over. I had to postpone my photography roadtrip until next year because we aren’t allowed to travel and doing so would be dangerous for everyone. If you had anything planned (holidays, visiting relatives, business trips etc) they are probably cancelled for this year. There isn’t anything we can do about that, but although it is endlessly frustrating, we can ensure that they are only temporarily postponed and not permanently cancelled. It may be too early to rebook things, but reschedule where you can and make sure those plans are not forgotten about.
Once you’ve decided which ones are going to have to be scrapped for this year, look at what you have left and start thinking about how you can make those goals work from the safety of your own home.
I’m going to use the example of wanting to build my photography portfolio to show you how I adapted.
I’m a photographer and I am reaching the age when I am thinking about making money, going to Uni and getting a job, all of which requires me to have a good solid portfolio behind me. I have some photos from over the years to put in my portfolio, but I need a lot more. This years main focus was supposed to be on doing lots of photoshoots in the studio at my college, on location (the roadtrip, which was cancelled) and gathering stock photography images.
I’ve seen a lot of other photographers adapt to being stuck inside by doing home photoshoots and using themselves/family as models; however I’m unfortunately not in a place to do that. I don’t have big enough space to do a photoshoot unless I completely upend the living room and while my family are very supportive I think they’d have something to say if I made them all clear out and moved all of the furniture into the kitchen every other day. I also don’t have the correct lighting equipment, which is doubly frustrating for me because I had also planned to buy some lighting this year at The Photography Show in Birmingham except that has been cancelled too, so that didn’t happen.
You can see the theme here of everything having a knock on effect and leaving me feeling rather hopeless because it really doesn’t seem that I’m going to be able to build my portfolio, but now let me tell you how I got around these issues.
I still don’t have the space/equipment to do home photoshoots and there is nothing I can do about that, but I realised that sulking about it wasn’t going to help. Instead I chose to redirect my goal slightly and instead of putting my time into taking a load more portfolio images, I am spending my time getting better at editing/colour grading and learning the practical and digital sides of my craft, so that when I can take the actual photos they will be even better.
It’s not a perfect solution by any means because it is still going to leave me pressed for time to put my portfolio together, but it’s better than sitting in my PJ’s crying about it. I’ve essentially just swapped the two around and I’m doing the research and learning first instead of learning as I edit once the photos are taken.
In the UK, restrictions have relaxed slightly, so we’re allowed to go wherever we want outside providing we use our common sense, which has allowed me to start working on collecting stock photos at least. It still isn’t great because I specifically wanted to do some stock photography portraits, but it is another little thing I can do.
Another thing I’d encourage you to think about before I sign off is to think if there were any smaller goals that you had side-lined at the beginning of the year in favour of doing other things. If you’d narrowed down and prioritised other goals at the beginning of the year, which are no longer possible, then look back at the ones you said could wait until next year because they might be possible within the restrictions and it could be worth bringing one of two of them back.
I know this is a difficult situation and it can be difficult to look at it with anything but disgust and anger, but I can almost 100% guarantee that you’ll feel better if you find yourself something to work on. After months of sulking and being angry at the world I decided to use my brain and adapt because wallowing was doing nothing for me. Try and use it as an opportunity to think creatively and problem solve because not only will it make you happier, it will also look good on a CV/Personal Statement.
I’ve talked for quite a while now, so I’ll wrap it up for you. I hope you found some of what I said helpful and that it’s inspired you to find a way to keep working on your goals even when the world has been turned upside down.
If you want to talk through your goals, then I’d be happy to help, so leave them down below or come and chat to me over on my Instagram: @thephotographydragon
Goodbye for now!
Over and Out