My Break Up with Goal Setting
My breakup with goal setting occurred in 2020. Year after year, I would setup goals and get so motivated and hyped by all these podcasts and books that I've read, I just got sick of it and I dumped it. But this year in 2021, my reconciliation with goals occurred. My boss, Nick Bynum at Canyon Ridge Church told me this amazing quote that I'll never forget. He said, "You do not rise to the levels of your goals. You fall to the levels of your systems." (from James Clear and his book, Atomic Habits).
That was a light bulb moment for me. I realized that I just can't set up these goals and not be accountable to myself, not follow up with it weekly. I need to set up a system. That way, when a storm of disappointment or whatever life throws at me, I can always get back up and get back to work with my goals. A system will help you accomplish your goals and weather the storm. Now, quick disclaimer, I'm not sponsored by these guys at all, but man, I just want to share with you what's been working for me. It is the Full Focus Planner.
So this was given to us by our church at Canyon Ridge and it was Nick's idea. So I give him full credit for this. This has really helped me accomplish goals, really keep myself accountable weekly and follow up with my goals. Now, some of my favorite things of this book is the goal detail. What are my key motivations? What are my next steps? What's my reward at the end once I achieve the goal? And then also the streak tracker. This helps me make sure that I'm actually making progress with my habits, progress with my goals and actually making a difference.
Another favorite part that I love is the daily rituals. What does my ritual look like for the morning? What does my ritual look like for the workday and when I shut down from work? What does my ritual look like in the evening? Am I implementing my goals throughout the day to where I can accomplish and be more of a productive human being?
My other favorite thing is the weekly preview. This is where I can list out what my wins were, what were my losses, what could I do better, what worked, what didn't. Also here in the weekly preview is the self-care planner. This is where I can actually brainstorm on how can I sleep better, how can I eat better, how can I move better, exercising, how can I connect with my loved ones, how can I relax.
Do you know there is power in relaxing? I find the most creative moments when I rest, when I disconnect, when I'm out on the mountain hiking, when there's solitude. That is the best time where I can find myself and find connection with my faith and find new ideas. What's cool about this thing here too is that you can completely disconnect from technology. I don't know about you, but when I get on my phone or when I get on my laptop, I try to do a quick to-do reminder or check my calendar. Something always comes up! It's an email or a text message. Then what happens? I get distracted. I veer off and then I veer off to social media. Then what happens? 15 minutes passed by and I'm just like, "Man, what happened?!"
Now, I'm a dreamer and a lot of creatives are but someone said "goals are dreams with work clothes on." How are you creating goals in your personal and vocational life? Here are some tips that have helped me setup goals. I drew inspiration from Zig Ziglar's Wheel of Life. Number one, physical: what are some of your physical goals? Number two, social: what are some people that you need to connect with? What are some family members that you need to connect with again? Number three, career: what are your career goals? Do you want to get out of the job that you're currently in and be full time in photography or filmmaking?
Number four, family: what are some of your family goals? Number five, faith: what are some things that you want to do in your own spiritual life? Are you a person of faith? Number six, financial: would you like to save more this year? Would you like to pay off your debt this year? Number seven, intellect: what can you do to expand your knowledge? Is it reading books? Is it going to seminars? Or is it going back to school?
I know for me, I've been practicing this entire wheel of life and it's helped me set goals for them. But what's been super crucial again is setting up a system. Setting up a system will help you weather the storm of life's challenges! It will help you deal with disappointment, depression, confusion, and much more because its guaranteed those challenges will come at some point through out your year. Build a place of refuge, a system where you can face anything!
My Four Keys to Effective Storytelling
So what makes a good story? For me, it needs to have these four key components, a stated theme. The theme to this particular story that we shot was was reconciliation. Number two, a catalyst. Her discovering that her beloved mother had terminal cancer. Number three, a dark night of the soul, the despair of losing her mother and her marriage all within the same month. The break into three, finale, how she found hope and healing in her faith. Now, not every story needs to have a wonderful ending. Some of the best stories are still the ones that are still in process, people that are still learning, still grieving, still discovering. We want to make sure that we pay attention to those types of stories as well, because honestly, that's real life.
How did we achieve our visual look to compliment this story? The overall look began when we brought in these quasars as our background lights. We were wanting more of a warmer tone, but honestly, when we were going through setup, I switched it on to this daylight preset, and then all of a sudden I heard a "whoa." I looked back and I looked at Connor, my fellow filmmaker, at Canyon Ridge. He was really liking what he was seeing. So I stopped right there, took a look myself, and it was such a beautiful color contrast between warm and cool that we decided to stick with it. So that was a happy little accident. The quasars also served us well as our edge lights and hair light. So something fun and out of the ordinary was when we created our own promist look in-camera. So we wanted to create something subtle that would compliment the quasars in the back. So for our key, we went with a 2x1 Gemini with a half stop diffuser and a 40 degree egg crate, and then another 2x1 Gemini bouncing off of foam core as our supplemental fill light.
When implementing b-roll for this film, we were really trying hard to figure out a location that didn't look so Vegas looking. If you ever lived here or visited here, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There's a lot of tan tones. It's the desert. You don't really see green anywhere. But luckily, we found this location called Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, and literally, it's an oasis in the desert. So we shot in golden hour, and honestly, you can never go wrong shooting golden hour in Las Vegas or in a desert. Seems like those hated tan tones that we don't like just brings in a nice, subtle fill for your character. So one of my favorite shots of this film was this ultra slow move where unintentionally the sun lit her eyes, which visually paired perfectly when she was talking about her experience with God, her experience talking to God. Visually, I believe this is the height of the film where we see hope start to come alive in her.
I'd love to hear how you're telling stories through filmmaking wherever you're at. If you haven't seen the film, make sure to check it out below. Special thanks to my fellow Canyon Ridge filmmaking crew, and a very special thank you to Tamara for sharing her story.
header photo by heather butler and canyon ridge