When setting goals, why not set goals that depend on you and you alone? Goals that aren’t dependent upon someone or something else?

A goal you can control–a control goal–would be something like, “I’m going to write a book.” You and alone can achieve that goal. A similar goal, but one that you cannot control, is to write a book that will be published and make you money. Not a bad goal, but one that leaves you at the mercy of others.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be published or signed. Heck, I want to be published! But I have found that when my goal for writing is to be published, instead of just writing out of pure passion and for the love, my art suffers. My writing loses something very important–me.

Do I want to be published? Yes. Do I write to be published? No. I write because I write.

My control goal is to write, enjoy writing, and write for the sake of writing. I can achieve this goal every single day. And I can keep my writing untainted and pure. I can get better and enjoy the process.

The real issue with out-of-control goals, is how they affect people. I’ve seen so many artists quite what they said they loved because they sat goals that they could not achieve without someone or something else. I know writers who no longer write because they only cared about getting published and their first two projects didn’t. I know singers who no longer record because they’re first couple albums didn’t get them notoriety. I know songwriters who don’t write songs anymore simply because their old songs haven’t made them any money.

And then there are the other artists, who do what they do because they love it. They write, sing, record, and paint for the sake of doing it. They are still going at it when all the other artists drop out. They just want to enjoy what they’re doing and spend more time doing it. And when they’re one of the last one’s still standing and they’ve achieved their control goals perpetually, good things come to them.

Control goals lead to longevity and independence. Longevity and independence lead to success.

Look at these words from Jeff Goins:

Please do not write to get published. Write because you’ve been given a voice and something to say. Write because you simply must do so. Write because someone else will not.The paradox is that if you write for these reasons and with daily discipline, you just might get published some day. In the mean time, write because you love it.

Even if you don’t write, how does this relate to you? Your art? Why do you paint? Why do you do photo sessions? Why do you do graphic design? Why do you record?

Paint because you love it.

Take pictures because you love it.

Design because you love it.

Record because you love it.

Those are good goals.

Control goals.


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