TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 175 Master the Emotional Side of Goal Setting


Miriam Schulman:
Well, hello, this is Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration. You’re listening to episode number 175, and I’m so grateful that you’re here. Today, we’re talking all about the emotional side of goal setting.

Speaker 2:
It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place podcast, an art world insider podcast full artists by an artist, where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the arts. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.

Miriam Schulman:
Now, I am sharing this with you in January. If you’re happening to be listening, when it went live, as new beginnings are on everyone’s minds, but this is something that you can do at any time of the year. When we turn the page in our calendar, or if you’re like me and you have a fresh new planner and those unmarked calendar days stretch out ahead of us with beautiful white space, we know we can fill our days with anything and be anyone. We vow to change, get healthy, eat better, read more books, create more art, wake up earlier, and although we want to sustain these positive changes, without doing the inner work, many of these new habits and changes can be very difficult to sustain.

When you think about your goals and intentions for the year, instead of creating this vague idea of the habits you want to change, think instead of who you need to become. If you stay the same as you were in the bad past, you’re not going to be able to take on new habits. So I always like to start thinking about the person I need to be. Two years ago, meaning in January 2020, I wanted to create more impact with my message. I looked around at the artists and the influencers who I admired, and I decided what they all had in common is that they had written books.

Now, this is just what I decided that may not be the cause, but that’s what I had told myself. So this was the Genesis of my idea to write a book. I said to myself, if I wanted to be the person who had this success as these people, I won’t need to be the kind of person who writes a book. Now, if you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that I didn’t finish the book in 2020. I did work on writing the book, but I didn’t finish it, which is why I changed my goal. I’ll get to that in a moment. I didn’t change it during 2020, but for 2021 I did.

Now, in 2020, I did choose a word for the year. We’re going to talk a little bit about choosing a word for the year as I feel that is such a crucial component of the mastering the emotional side of goal setting. In 2020, my word was evolve because I knew I had to change as the person, I had to evolve to reach that goal. Mastering the emotional side of goal setting is step seven of my goal setting process, and I share the complete process with my artist incubator clients, they get all seven steps, and today we’re just going to talk about the emotional side.

By the way, if you’re interested in kicking the starving artist mentality once and for all and learning how to sell more art and at higher prices, I’ve got some great news for you. You can sign up for a free training and how to sell more art. We’ll talk about the practical steps as well as the emotional side of growing an art business. To sign up, go to Okay. Now when I’m doing my annual brainstorming and setting the vision for the year, I always find it helpful to choose a theme or a word. The theme really helps with that emotional side. I choose a word that describes how I want to feel or who I want to become.
So some of the words for the year I’ve chosen include, like I said earlier, evolve. My other words have been harmony, inspire, purpose. I use the word as a rallying point for creating the goals, and I will continue to remind myself of that word throughout the year. The word gives me that motivational push at the start of the year. But as the year progresses, I also find choosing a word for the day to be helpful. And if I’m having a particularly tough day, not in terms of a bad day, I just mean tough in terms of getting myself motivated. When I sit down at my desk and I look at what needs to happen during the day, I might choose a word to describe the kind of person I want to be for that day or I’ll journal why I chose the word.

I’d like to imagine opening a closet with all the feelings you could put on and pick the emotion that would fuel you. When you need a productive day, you might want to choose a word like determined. If you have a day that requires courage, then choose a word like confidence. You are the only one who thinks in your mind, which means you can choose how you want to feel. All right, now let’s go back to my book writing goal. At the end of 2020, I decided that writing a book was a terrible goal. I still wanted to write a book, but I knew that taking that statement, literally I could always be writing a book.

So in 2021, I changed my goal. My big goal for that year, the year that just passed was to secure a publishing contract. This gave me more specific steps and milestones to work towards. I understood that to do that, to get a contract, a publishing contract, I first needed to write a proposal, and then find an agent to represent me. So these were all very specific steps and milestones, and all these things created more certainty in my mind. Our minds have evolved to crave certainty and predictability. And yes, of course, I know that’s the complete opposite of what we’ve been experiencing during these last few years of the pandemic, these uncertain times, we’ve been really tough on our mental health.

So I want to go back to another crucial component. So within the emotional side, we’ve already said choosing a word I feel is more important even than setting a resolution. It’s really choosing how you want to feel, how you want to become. The next part that has been very important in success and the success I notice with other people is getting a coach. So when you have steps involved in reaching your goal, it really creates more certain in your mind and what steps you take. So for me for my book writing project, I enlisted help, throughout.

For the proposed, I hired an editor. Her name is Allison Lane, and she coached me through the complete proposal writing process. After I got an agent and the agent secured our book writing contract with HarperCollins. I tried it on my own at first, but I was so riddled with imposter syndrome and I don’t know energy. I hired someone to help me edit the book. And so, I mentioned in a previous podcast, Candice L Davis is who I hired for my book. Coachee was absolutely excellent in every manner, letting me still stay true to my voice and my message and helping me navigate the emotional side as well as some practical steps for getting that book done.

Getting a coach alleviates a lot of painful decision making. The faster you make decisions, the further you will go, and having an experienced person by your side helps with that. Now that what my clients get for me, I help artists who work with me make better and faster decisions instead of staying stuck in the land of, “I don’t know, or I’m not sure. I don’t know what to do, I can’t decide.” Successful people, no matter what they’re trying to do, know they will get there faster with an expert guide who has walked the path they want to travel.

In the artist incubator program, not only do you get the benefit of my experience, building a successful art business, but you’ll shorten your learning curve to reach your goals a lot faster. I know where the pitfalls come from and how to get you through them successfully. All right. So now I want to bring you to the next component. So we said, choose a word, get a coach. The third component that I feel is really critical in mastering the emotional side is surrounding yourself with people doing what you want to do. People who already have the success that what you want or are on their way. When you do that, you’re making the impossible feel more possible.

For me personally, I join mastermind groups, surround myself with people doing big things. And I’m involved in a lot of Facebook group communities that have influencers and authors. You’ve met a lot of people on this podcast who I’ve met through my Facebook groups. And because I interact often with people who have published books, this all feels doable to me. I’m surrounding myself with people publishing books and that normalizes it for me. Studies show that your peer group will influence both good and bad behaviors.

A pair of social scientists named Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler collected data demonstrating that good behaviors like quitting smoking or staying thin, or being happy pass from friend to friend, almost as if they were a contagious virus. Now, you’ll notice that friend groups tend to be similar sizes, that’s for better and for worse. And some of that could be that people are attracted to people who are like them, but there is a lot of evidence showing that the behaviors are what’s contagious.
So, I want to share another study of dorm mates at Dartmouth College, this one by economists and actually a friend of mine, Bruce Sacerdote, found that the dorm mates appeared to infect each other with good and bad study habits. For example, a roommate with a high grade point average could drag upward the GPA of a lower scoring roommate and of course, vice versa. Having babies is also contagious. So a 2006 Princeton study found that having babies appear to be contagious. If your sibling has a child, you are 15% more likely to have one yourself within the next two years.

Back to my book, in one of my Facebook groups, there are actually four members who all have the same literary agent as I do. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I caught the book publishing bug from my peers, and surrounding myself with people who have done it, made it easier for me to believe what was possible for myself. Plus, I have a place to ask those niggly questions that come up. I can ask a friend. Of course, I hire people, but it’s great to surround yourself with people as well.

Now, with the goals you’ve made for yourself for this year, have you surrounded yourself with people who are already doing the same? Being an artist can be really lonely. You’re alone in your studio, you might be alone in front of your computer trying to make this whole thing work. Who are you surrounding yourself with? Now, of course, it makes sense that if lots of people around you are smoking, there’s going to be peer pressure for you to start. Whereas if nobody’s smoking, you’d be more likely to stop. But simple peer pressure doesn’t explain how we sell more art or charge higher prices or in my case, publish a book, or does it?
So what social scientists hypothesize is that these behaviors spread partly through the subconscious social signals that we pick up from those around us, which serves as cues to what is considered normal. So, if it’s normal to charge $5,000 for a piece of art, you will charge that, if it’s normal to publish a book, the steps you need to take won’t seem so intimidating. I see this every week inside the artist incubator, artists are lifted up by each other’s successes. The artist incubator is the community for artists who are ready to spread their wings and soar.

Imagine having a whole virtual cafe of artists who lift you up as you do big things, celebrate your wins and support you along the way. All right, now I want to circle back to the concept of choosing a word, because it’s so important to master the emotional side, and I want to share with you, again, my journey with the words and these different goals. In 2021, I chose the word inspire. Now you might think I chose that word because my brand, after all is the Inspiration Place, and maybe you think I chose that word because I want to inspire other people. And of course I want to inspire other people, but I chose the word for myself, and you will choose the word for yourself as well. It’s what you need to do.

It doesn’t mean that it’s about being selfish, because what you do might help a lot of other people. But I wanted to remind myself to be inspired, that I couldn’t inspire others unless I was inspiring myself first. A lot of the content I bring to you on this podcast is what I need to hear, but I know that if I need to hear it or learn it, then you’ll benefit and enjoy it as well. So what word have I chosen for 2022, you might be wondering? Well, for 2022, I chose the word worthy. When I got my book publishing contract last year, and you probably have heard me talk, or you might have heard me talk about this on the podcast, either in the solo shows, with interviews, I spent a lot of the year battling with the mental demons of imposter syndrome.

At its core, if you’ve ever thoughts yourself, I don’t feel like a real artist or fill in the blank. I don’t feel like a real whatever, author, don’t fret. We’ve all thought that at one time, this belief in your own identity is what’s known as imposter syndrome. A variation is who am I to, who am I to sell my art? Who am I to write a book? And this fear usually goes hand in hand with another fear, what will they think? These are all unhelpful thoughts that are part of the starving artist mentality.

Psychotherapist and trauma informed leadership coach, Rebecca Bass-Ching. And she’s been a guest on the podcast twice. I’ll make sure to link to her episodes in the show notes, which you’ll find at But she shared with me in a 2018 interview at the heart of imposter syndrome is shame and scarcity mindset. So, if anyone cares to push growth edges and push themselves out of their comfort zones, then these protective narratives will always show up. No one is immune, unquote. Just want to unpack that for a minute and break it down.

Scarcity mindset shows up whenever you push yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s what she’s saying. That these narratives I’m not good enough, who am I to these imposter syndrome, narratives will always show up? If you want to make it as entrepreneur, if you want to make it as an artist, you need to develop that abundant mindset and listen to the voices of inspiration, rather than those voices of fear. In order to counteract imposter syndrome, I’m going with the opposite in 2022, I’m telling myself I’m the deserving of all of this. I am worthy.

One thing I suggest you do before you settle on a word, if you haven’t picked one already, is to go into the dictionary and look up the definition of the word. I have changed some of my choices based on the dictionary definitions. My initial choice for 2021 was impact, but when I was looking at the definition, it just felt so much like hitting a wall, and I didn’t think that was a good vision for myself. So I went on with a softer word, inspire, and for 2222, my initial thought was to choose the word deserved or deserving, but you can deserve bad things as well. So, you have to be very careful with the words you tell yourself and the universe.

I remember one year my husband chose the word soar as an S-O-A-R. And he spent a lot of that year with a sore back as in S-O-R-E. Your mind is a very powerful tool. Be very careful with the words and the thoughts you tell yourself. So that’s why I’m going with the word worthy. I think this is a great word to continue to celebrate the joy of my life, By the way, I just completed my manuscript and handing it into HarperCollins this January on time, that my deadline, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring for both of us, for you and for me.

So let me just review the emotional side of goal setting, choose a word, get a coach and surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. Don’t forget, if you like this episode, you’re going to love the free masterclass, how to sell more art and discover the role that emotions play that could be sabotaging your results. I go over the five most common things I see artists do.
So if you were disappointed with your art sales last year, or perhaps you’re struggling to get started, you’ll want to make sure you sign up for this freedom masterclass. Just go to All right, my passion maker, thank you so much for being with me here today. I’ll see you the same time, same place next week. Stay inspired.

Speaker 2:
Thank you for listening to the Inspiration Place podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at, on Instagram, @Schulmanart, and of course, on


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