How to Set Goals and Ignore Them...

…one of my friends just referred to this past year as “Twenty EighTina” and it made me laugh but as I finally sit down, switch off my camera for the year and look back at 2018 I realise, YES I am proud. This year WAS special.

But what was different? How come this New Years Eve I can, for the first time ever, sit back and look at the last 12 months with nothing but love?

I don’t usually celebrate NYE. Those close to me know that it makes me retreat and dwell upon the previous year in a way that I highlight everything I DIDN’T achieve and focus on every goal I didn’t reach yet again, ignoring all the things I did right along the way.

Tonight, the 31st December 2018, I will raise a glass to improvement, I will acknowledge success in a different way, redefine “goals” and look back at 2018 with nothing but gratitude.

When I look back at 2018 I have to acknowledge that it wasn’t all plain sailing as my social media would suggest. And that alone is a very important fact to remember.

While we surround ourselves with constant updates of smiles, vacations & success we often forget that sadness, loss, bad news and failure are also part of life and that we are not alone in experiencing those.

I started 2018 with a water leak in my house which resulted in my ceiling collapsing and having to spend the first 3 months quite literally without a roof over my head. As a result of this situation I suffered from constant existential fear & insomnia and I was unable to focus and create for a long time. Not very Twenty EighTina, right?

This and numerous other big and small events made me wobble in 2018, I won’t get into detail but my point is that these are all part of the process.

…and there were also the good news, successes and achievements beyond my wildest expectations!

I look back in sheer awe at moments such as being the face for Profoto’s A1 Duo Kit campaign, getting booked twice in a row by MaxFactor, a dream client of mine, seeing my pictures in make up stores across the globe… if you had asked me in January if this was possible I’d have laughed!


But also personal successes such as calling people “close friends” that were once industry idols to me and finding a tribe of creatives that push each other every day.

How did this all happen?

Every year since I started photography I’d set myself goals and resolutions on New Year’s Day.

Hard goals, big goals. Get published, make money, get an agency. We all have them.

And every year, come December I came to realise that I hadn’t reached reach any of them and I’d consequently beat myself up over the fact and set the exact same goals again the following year. And, you guessed it… I’d fail again.

To me it didn’t even matter what I actually achieved each year, my focus was solely on the goals I had set and not reached.

At the beginning of 2018, I finally decided to change strategy.

First of all, terms like “get published” or “make money” are way to vague. They are end goals, not tasks. In order to make progress, MY goals needed to be broken down into small, palatable chunks. What does “get published” mean? What do I have to do in order to get there? What can I do today, this week, this month to reach my goals?

I realised that something as small as a phone call could be a step forward. And if this call was all I did that day, I had still taken a small step toward progress.

List making was my new best friend! I carry a planner and 20 coloured pens with me at all times to the great amusement of my friends.

  • get email inbox to 0 unread

  • update section xyz on my website

  • buy cake for test shoot

…no task was too small to be written down and with every tick on my list, I mentally marked some sort of progress.


This way I never felt like I wasted a day because I didn’t. Every small, seemingly insignificant item I crossed off was one step closer to a bigger goal.

Some days it could be only one tick. Some days 10. It didn’t matter because every day meant progress. And progress to me now means success for the day.

I changed my strategy from big hard vague goals to DO YOUR BEST EVERY DAY. Micro successes rather than procrastinating due to vague goals.

Changing my opinion about the meaning of success and solely focussing on progress changed my life in 2018. With this change of strategy came a change in mental attitude, and this positivity is what I believe made me attractive to clients in 2018.

People ask what my goals are for 2019.

“Do my best.” That’s all. Be a better person than I was yesterday.

I want to consciously respect myself and my free time more in 2019, switch off and recharge more often, surround myself with like minded creatives every opportunity I get, say “no” to things that don’t make me happy and “yes” to crazy ideas more often.

If I ticked one task off with my colourful pens every day, that’s 365 ticks and surely must lead to some sort of success by the end of the year :)


Thank you so much for your continued support, friends!

Any topics you’d like me to blog about in 2019, let me know in the comments :)

Tina Eisen20 Comments