I mentioned a while back that I was working on creating long-term goals for myself. I still haven’t decided on any specific LightWave projects or concepts, but that doesn’t mean that I should procrastinate working on improving my artistic skills. To help stoke my creativity, I have created goals that provide simple structure to my day/week.

Write in a Logbook (every day)

I got this idea from a book I recently read (more on that in a future post). Basically, I plan on adding a new entry every day to log what I did. It doesn’t have to be long or detailed, it’s strictly a log book. I can write as much or as little as I want, as long as I at least cover the main points of what I did that day. This is a quick and easy way to reflect on the day, hopefully to revel in the positives or, if necessary, to help work out any negatives.

Meditate (every day)

I have tried meditation on and off for years but I am never able to stick with it. There is a mountain of scientific evidence showing the benefits of meditation and I genuinely enjoy the feeling of quiet and peace once I am done with a session. Considering that a session can be as short as 10 minutes, I am disappointed that I haven’t pursued this more actively. Taking 10 minutes out of my day should be easy, as long as I can muster up the discipline to initiate that meditation session each day.

Exercise (twice a week)

I hope I don’t have to explain why exercising is beneficial! In my mid-twenties, I was exercising nearly every day and I was in great shape. Ten years later, I’m in decent shape but I don’t exercise enough (especially now that I’m in the suburbs and don’t walk around nearly as much). I exercise sporadically, but I want to get back into a more regular exercise regimen. So, my goal is to work out at least twice per week.

LightWave (four times a week)

Although I don’t have any specific goals for creating within LightWave, I want to explore the software more in depth and get better at using it. So, my goal is to use LightWave at least four times per week (where each session lasts at least an hour). I hope to exceed that minimum, but I think four hours per week is a good start. For now, I’ll come up with simple ideas to practice and improve my skills. For example, I just started working on a simple outdoor scene which I will try to light in multiple different times of the day — early morning, afternoon, sunset, and night.

Tracking My Goals

Setting goals is meaningless if you don’t have a way to track your progress. I am using another idea from a book to track my goals — I have created a weekly checklist to track my progress. The checklist is on paper, with empty boxes for all of my tasks that I need to complete that week. I cross off the empty box when I complete one of the tasks.

I created the checklist in Excel and printed it out, so I am able to fit 8 weeks worth of goals onto a single piece of paper (printed in landscape mode and folded in half). I hope that seeing my previous success (and the filled boxes) will motivate me to stick to my goals, and to keep filling in more boxes to avoid breaking any streaks I have going.

I started the checklist last week, and so far I’m doing pretty well. I met all of my goals except that I missed meditation twice, but even 5 days of out 7 is a good start for my first week.