Thanks to a brief comment recently made by a friend, it spurred me into coining the phrase 'Creative Near-Sightedness' to describe something I've battled with and continue to battle with, throughout my journey. I hope that this might make some sense to others out there and shed some similar light on your situation like it has mine.
I have achieved some of the big goals I've set myself in life, but have always had trouble with achieving some of the more creative goals, due to the fact that, they are often rather ambiguous to begin with, for example:
How do you quantify / visualize a goal like 'I want to be a good artist' when being good is completely relative?
So firstly I want to break it down into a couple of things that might seem simple commonsense, but in my case something I need to constantly remind myself of:
The first thing is: Keep the major goal clear and simple!
Something you can understand and describe to someone simply when they ask you 'but what actually is it?'
Using the example above 'being good' is not acceptable, because it's just so damned nebulous.
But saying 'I want to produce artwork like this *insert example*' is perfect, because its tangible, it's clear, it's something you can see, or feel or touch, it's a clear set of 'goal posts' to plonk into the ground, see from a distance and attempt to kick your ball toward.
The second thing is: Don't move the goalposts until you've kicked the goal!
Now, this is me with many of my creative goals: Before I've really given myself a chance to kick the goal, I've made a new set of goalposts.
Because during taking aim for my kick, I realize I have no idea how far away I am, how hard to kick, what way the wind is blowing, I'm trying to gauge distance, and before I know it, I've made a new set of goalposts. Hopefully this new one isn't so unclear! Rinse and repeat this process, and before long, I'm standing on a green grassy playing field, soccer ball at my feet, a tonne of goalposts in every direction around me. On top of this mess, my chaotic artist brain starts thinking about crap like 'what are the consequences of shooting for one before the other?' 'Which should I shoot for first?' …..ARGH!!!
Now, most of the non-creative goals I've set, like owning a specific car, getting hired as a video game artist, working overseas as a video game artist, shipping my first game, shipping an mmo, I've nailed. So long-range goals? No problem. But personal artistic / creative goals? They seem to constantly elude me and I never knew why until fairly recently.
It's because I suffer from Creative Near-Sightedness. I just can't focus on something I know is miles away in a creative sense, because my experience tells me the pathway toward it will be chaotic.
When the goalposts for a large personal artistic / creative goal are too far away, my vision is blurry, the path toward them is uncertain, and subsequently it becomes much easier for me to lose my way. The temptation to change / move / create new sets of goalposts is strong, and without conscious effort to keep things structured and inline, well, it's easy to end up in a place of total chaos - goalposts everywhere. If that sounds familiar to you, then maybe you can try this, because it's working for me so far.
Take your large creative goal, ensure its something very clear. Set those goal posts up, it doesn't matter how far away they are (ie how crazy your goal is), because focusing on it, is not important AT ALL.
Now make a massive list of tiny goals that lead straight towards it, not deviate away from it. Break down your big creative goal into mini goals, and set those goalposts only as far away as you're able to keep focus. The idea here is to setup a string of success that keeps you moving toward the big one. This will play right into your creative near-sightedness. Keeping the major goal in the back of your mind and the smaller mini goals at the forefront, instead of the other way around, will keep things in better perspective, and destroy the urge to keep shifting, or creating a whole bunch of new goalposts. Providing you take the time to plan these mini goals out to begin with, if you keep hitting them, you'll have a clear and visible path of winning behind you, which will in turn build up your confidence & drive to keep going toward the big one.
Something critical to remember, the distance from you right now, to the goalpost of your big goal, doesn't ever need to be measured, or even be worried about, just set it and leave it, no matter how far away it seems, that distance is irrelevant. If you're creatively near-sighted like I am, the tiny mini goals between you and the big goal that you set up? The ones you can keep in focus? Kick those one at a time! And before long, you'll be making progress narrowing that distance. Effectively you will have turned what was a 1 in a million super goal from miles away, into a 100% gauranteed simple kick.
Luck is for loosers. Progress is for winners.