My 2021 System

I’ve never been a practitioner of yearly goal setting since it goes against my tendency to go with the flow, but this year I’m taking a new approach. I do have some general goals in mind, but instead of putting any energy toward them specifically, I’m implementing a system of habits whose byproduct will hopefully lead to them. My system is diabolically simple. Every morning before work, I will exercise, stretch, make art, read, and write. That’s it. That’s the list.

I have a check valve built in to avoid potential burnout, which is a pattern of six weeks on, two weeks off, but I’m playing that part by ear. I don’t want to do fewer than six weeks, but I’ll allow myself to extend it, spirit willing.

The principals of this system are in service of the birth of new ideas. Much of my creative energy serves the needs of customers & coworkers, and I’m enthusiastic about the prospect of adding some selfishness to the equation. I’m not sure what, if anything, will come of this, but I can guarantee I’ll sleep better at night knowing that I’m giving myself at least a puncher’s chance of finding out.

With that, here are my goals for 2021:

Make make a complete art series

This one is pretty ambitious considering I struggle with bringing a piece of art to a ‘finished’ state in general. Accomplishing that for an entire series raises the stakes even more. I’m clinging to the hope that the first piece will be the hardest and within that effort, I will grind out a mini-system that I can apply to the rest of the pieces in the series.

Read more books than last year

Not very ambitious and probably pretty easy to achieve. Perhaps simply reading more will lead to more focused and domain-specific reading goals in the future.

Post something to this site at least twice a month

After storming out of the gate last September, my writing production slowed quite a bit, though I’m very happy to say it never stopped. I have utterly zero clue how writing will benefit me over time, but I have blind faith that it will. Also, I enjoy writing immensely, though it’s one of the harder things to do well consistently.

Move back up north

This one is not a creative pursuit as such, but will likely be a huge milestone in my adult life. I grew up in Pennsylvania / New Jersey and moved to Florida to get my design career off the ground. I know, Florida doesn’t sound like a mecca for design, but as they say, it’s not what you know but who you know, and I knew someone here who offered me my first design job in 2005. Anyway, I’m ready for a change and I couldn’t shake my north-eastern roots. It’s going to be interesting with the pandemic, but by this time next year, I hope I’m already tired of shoveling snow and begging for spring to arrive.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but for someone who never even makes one, I think it’s a good start.