Goals, failure and growth

kites-nest-drawing-white-webThe New Year is a time to celebrate, look back on the previous year and look forward towards the future. I sometimes wonder why in our culture we place so much significants on this time, January 1st as to the examining the direction of our lives, what we’d like to improve on or change and reflections on the past year among other things.

I remember last year being really excited about 2015 and all these things I wanted to do as far as my art and music. I set out to release a blog, song and piece of art a week which I did for a couple of months and then completely let go of. Here’s what I learned from that:

1. Set attainable specific goals. I have many different things that I do and my life fluctuates day to day, week to week and month to month. I recently listened to the SocialMedia Examiner podcast and the host Michael Stelzner had on John Lee Dumas who is launching a new book this year called The Freedom Journal. John spoke about setting a SMART goal. A SMART goal is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound. What I like about this is it helps define what a goal is and gives it some meat, something you can dig your teeth into.

2. Accountability. I’ve had some help over the past couple of years with people helping hold me accountable for what I set out to do. This has helped me though with the initial goal I set out for last year about what I wanted to create, I fell short on, way short on. I know for myself that I get lost in tasks and the day to day stuff and lose focus on the bigger picture and things I’d like to accomplish. This is where being held accountable is key in having someone to bounce things off and not feeling alone in your decisions.

3. Time management. Distraction is such an old friend. It’s fascinating that when I have more time to do something, I’ll find ways to distract myself. I do get things done, especially for other people but when it comes to something for myself I get lost in the details or find something else that grabs my attention and focus away from actually accomplishing something bigger then myself. There is plenty of room for improvement here. I’ve been reading the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss and listening to his podcast lately. It’s been helping open up ways in which you can maximize your time and output when doing something and minimize the little tasks and shit that gets in the way of your productivity. One take away that stuck in my head, and I’m paraphrasing here: Humans have much more potential to do something in much less time they think it takes to do. Example: leaving a term paper that you’ve had a semester to work on until the day before it’s due, stay up all night drinking coffee and stressing and then nailing the paper. This is a great book I’ve been meaning to read for years and am thankful to have started it.

There are more things I’ve learned throughout the year from the goal I set last year. All in all, it’s good to remember to be nice to yourself and not beat up on yourself for failing. Failure is key to growth and an important part of living. It’s what you do with the failure where the magic lies in moving forward.

Well alright…I had some other epic personal failures that I responsibly worked through last year as well that I’m not going to share in this post. If you’re interested, leave a comment or shoot me an email at tonykieraldo(at)

With failure comes success. I’ve been drawing pen and ink portraits of buildings and still life since the winter of 2009 when I was living in Norfolk, CT. I am self taught and generally work from a photograph. I do not use a ruler, just my eye and intuition. I hold my breath for long straight lines.

This past December I was commissioned by Kite’s Nest to draw a new building they were just gifted down by the Hudson River. I’m proud to say this was my first commission and I see a future of more commissions. Now’s the point to set some SMART goals to get that going. Here’s to 2016 and all it’s failures and successes!

3 thoughts on “Goals, failure and growth

  1. Darcy

    Cool reflections!! Best of luck on the unfolding of your vision for 2016. I’ve been eyeballing that book and will check it out now.