It’s Ok to Change Your Mind

Hello Fuzzbutts!

Are you struggling with a goal? You keep putting it off that you make no progress on it? Does you feel guilty for not doing it but not guilty enough that you actually do it? Is the thing on your worktable just staring at you… watching you… expecting you…

Sometimes you embark on a goal with intent! You’re going to do this thing and it’s gonna be awesome. Then you start to run into a hurdle. Maybe you pass that hurdle or your struggle to get over it. Then another one pops up for you. Then another… and another… Does the final idea even seem like something  you still want? Here’s a test. If you accomplish the goal, will you feel a sense of pride and joy or will you feel a sense of relief? The former means you should keep working at it. The latter means you need to re-evaluate what your goals are.

I’ve gone through a lot of these kinds of things. I wanted to make furry stuff to make some cash and thought it would be a fun creative pursuit. I started making tails and making a little money from it. As time went on and I made more, I found it difficult to expand my designs and it appeared there was less interest in my tails. I exhausted the small pool of furries who wanted very basic and cheap tails. Eventually, I took the tails I couldn’t sell and gave them out at the next furry meet so at least they didn’t go to waste and some people were thankful. It never truly bothered me. I have my own career and the tails were side-money but at least I sold a few, learned quite a bit, and people were happy to have some free tails. What had bothered me was having them around for so long!

Much later, I decided pre-made partials were worth a shot. I knew about sewing and cutting fur already so I wanted to build on that. Only problem was I had no idea where to start with foam. I hung out with fursuit makers, gleaning what little advice I could. Then I started going for it. I cut up foam, tried to shape it as best I could. I spent probably 10 hours just on shaping the foam. I probably spent 15 hours on figuring out how to make handpaws. I learned a lot more about these things. However, it was starting to drag on and become even more difficult. The time invested into it was looking really bad for how much money I thought I could get from it. Even if I did finish this goal, I wasn’t going to feel great. I sure wasn’t going to put myself through this again to make another one!

Time is not a chain

Just because you’ve invested a lot of time into something doesn’t mean you should stick it out. It’s the equivalent of “throwing good money after bad.” An example is the game Paragon. They invested a lot into it but it flopped to the competition. They invested more into it to try to distinguish themselves and kept things running as long as they could. Eventually they couldn’t do it anymore and the best they could do with their 12 million dollar investment is earn some brownie points with the gaming community as they released all their assets for free to let other developers use them.

My point with that example is you’re spending your time on your goals. If your goal has lost all of its luster and no longer brings you any excitement, don’t stick it out just because you invested that time. Take what you learned and move on! You have my permission so don’t feel guilty either!

I do a lot of things and change my mind a lot!

Do you make a habit out of exploring a new thing and then you eventually decide it’s not for you? Do you hop from project to project, never finishing one? Some might say you’re undisciplined. That very well might be true but I think exploring and trying new things is incredibly important to personal growth and discovering what you want out of life. When you find what you really want to do, the hurdles won’t be obstacles. They’ll become challenges. It won’t be easy but keep thinking about that awesome goal until your eyes sparkle and stay productive!

I would much rather you be productive at something you enjoy that forcing yourself to be productive at something you hate!

So What Is Your Goal? Why?

What a great week! Now that you have some energy from the last post, what are you going to do with it? Let’s have a chat about goals, fuzzbutts!

Goals are important. They give you something to work toward. Without goals, it’s easy to just exist which, more often than not, will then lead into depression as you unwittingly stunt your personal growth. It’s not just the having of goals that will provide a sense of fulfillment, but you need to work toward them. So we have to be productive!

So how do we set goals? Most will refer to SMART goals. Specific, as in there is a specific think you want to accomplish. Measurable so there is some actual way to prove you accomplished your goal. Actionable, meaning there are very specific things you can do to get you to your goal. Reasonable goals mean you can actually get it done. Time-specific, meaning you need to set a deadline for yourself to get this goal done which puts a little pressure.

An example of building a smart goal:

I want to get better at drawing. That is the specific goal I want. How do I determine if I’m better at drawing? It’s a skill that is constantly developed so it’s not like there’s some sort of ending to it. To make this goal measurable, I’ll rely on the opinions of others and decide that I’ll be better at drawing once I post an art piece that gets 30 favorites on FA (which gives an idea of how good I am at drawing). Once I hit 30 favorites, I’ll consider the goal accomplished. Is it actionable? Of course! I need to post something on FA that will get 30 faves. Is it reasonable? I’ve gotten 20 faves on a piece before so 30 does seem reasonable. Do I have a deadline for this? I’ll give myself 6 months from now. Now let’s put it together:

I will become better at drawing by posting more art and get 30 favorites on a piece within the next six months.

That’s a solid goal. What happens after that goal is accomplished? I make another one if I want. Maybe go for 40 favorites or work on increasing my drawing speed or draw a certain number of backgrounds.

I want to add that not every goal has to be a SMART goal (but it helps). Sometimes you just want those 30 faves but don’t want to set a deadline. The deadline helps add pressure  to keep you going but if you’re not concerned about how long it takes (so long as you’re putting in the work), then alright.

Have your goal now? Do you know why you have this goal?

Goals are easy to set but it’s hard to stick with them sometimes. What’s most important is knowing why you want this goal. Do your reasons for this goal outweigh the reasons why you haven’t been working on this goal? Saying “I want to get good at drawing or making fursuits just to make money” is a sure way to exhaust yourself when you know you dislike sewing, working with hot glue, or sitting for long periods of time. You may stick with it for a while but burn-out is looming around the corner. To help avoid burning out, make sure your life is balanced and enjoyable (Work Hard, Play Hard philosophy). Your reason for your goal must be your own. Trying to change something about yourself purely for the sake of others will not lead to meaningful, lasting change.

How many goals do you have?

“Hey Wuffles! I already have a ton of goals I’m working on!” you say. “That’s nice but not very useful.” I say as I pat you on the head. Yes you can easily set too many goals. Goals require attention and work and if you have too many at once, it’ll take way too long before you check even the easiest goal off your list. Narrow down what’s on your list and prioritize. You should have maybe 2 big goals you’re working on. Goals are supposed to be reasonable, not simple. Why 2 and not just 1? Because sometimes we enter a waiting period. Making a fursuit was your goal but you ran out of a certain color of faux fur and realized you had to order more which won’t arrive for a few days. Well now you have your second goal to work on while you wait (Read that book that’s been collecting dust on my shelf for the past 2 years or spend that time exercising).

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Assuming you have a SMART goal, you determined your goal is actionable. I’ll keep with my goal of trying to reach 30 faves. So what is the action? I need to post something that gets 30 faves on FA. So how does that work? I need to post better quality art and more of it until I come up with a successful piece. Well how can I do that? I need to spend more time drawing each week, include backgrounds to make the scene alive, and add more variety to what I draw like different characters, angles, poses, etc. I can probably stop there but let’s keep cutting up this elephant into smaller bites: Spend more time drawing how? Dedicate at least 4 hours a week to just drawing. How are you going to include backgrounds? Practice drawing scenery and landscapes so I learn more about perspective and how to place things. How are you going to add variety? Draw character gift art for friends, artists I like, or just fan art of shows, etc. Google up photos that have different perspectives and poses and do my best to imitate it until perspectives feel natural. That is my new plan. Also, maybe 30 faves requires me to draw more than 4 hours a week but the point is to have a plan. You are free to adjust your goals and plans

My goal is to get better at drawing. I could accomplish the measurable part of my goal by just trying to be better at marketing myself as an artist or begging for faves  (which could also technically be broken down into many, smaller tasks) until I had my 30 but my specific goal is to get better at drawing.

I’d love to hear your goal!

Come up with a goal after reading this post? I want to hear about it, fuzzbutt! Click the Contact Wuffles link to the left and tell me about it! I’ll do my best to respond!