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Every day has 86,400 seconds -- make them into memorable moments.

* This column was updated on 2/10 - noted below.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time” – Abraham Lincoln.

I resolve to set goals in 2018.  Goals are focused on positive outcomes with measurable results and deadlines. Goals give you attainable milestones that keep you motivated and on track.

Think about what’s important to you. What do you want to share with the world? What do you want your world to look like?

Think about who you want to spend time with. What activities do you enjoy? What do you want to learn?

With goals set, you can focus on activities that matter most and consistently take action to achieve them. My friend Nick has a goal of showing his photography in the Guggenheim Museum. He consistently shows his work in other galleries to build his reputation and following. Several times a week he contacts gallery owners, and whenever he visits a new town he visits the galleries there as well.

A goal is specific and measurable. It’s realistic and achievable.  Goals must focus on results and be tied to a time frame or deadline. Make sure you word your goals positively. For example, instead of “spending less time playing video games,” say you want to “spend four hours every Saturday working on life drawing.”

Dream big and be bold.

Perhaps your goal is to get a new job in animation. Write down the action steps that you need to accomplish that goal. Some of the steps might be to contact two recruiters a day, add five new sketches to your life drawing samples, make two new connections a day, send out your portfolio and reel to two companies a week.  Make a list of the actions necessary to accomplish your goal.

In 2015, 149 participants from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and ages (23 to 72) from six countries - Australia, Belgium, England, India, Japan and the United States - took part in a study about goal setting. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, found that 76% of participants who wrote down their goals and sent weekly updates to a friend completely accomplished their goal or were more than half way there compared to 43% of those who did not write them down. She discovered that you become 33% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams simply by writing them down on a regular basis and sharing them with a friend or coach who believes in your ability to succeed.

Break down any large goal into smaller steps. Let’s say that you want to attend CTN Expo next November 16-18. Add the cost of registration, a hotel in Burbank, transportation, food, and other items. You have a specific number.  Let’s say you want a VIP pass ($350), to stay in the closest hotel (about $300 day) and fly from Orlando, Florida (airfare $500). Consider food and local transportation costs. Your budget is about $2,000.  You have about nine months to accumulate the funds you will need.  You’ll need to save about $225/month or about $8/day.  You now have a specific goal – wanting to attend the CTN Expo – and a specific amount you have to save per day ($8) to have the money to attend. There are other ways you could attend and save money such as volunteering and staying at a less expensive hotel. Explore your options. Are there any areas that you can cut back on expenses to achieve this goal?

Setting a specific goal makes it more likely to be achieved. Measure your progress regularly and reward yourself as you advance.

One of my career coaching clients wanted to work in animation but he only had experience in advertising. He didn’t know what opportunities might exist in the animation industry. After assessing his portfolio, I guided him to develop more samples of character design. I also told him about a job in character design on a TV show. He set a goal of building a portfolio and applying for that job.  He set aside time to take the character design test and redo it based on feedback. He landed that job even though he had no prior experience.  

Goal set. Goal met.

My mother, Sue Kleibrink, used to ask me, “What are you going to do today?” Sometimes that question bothered me. Now I wake up every day, grateful that I have another day. I wish she was still here to call me and ask me. The time we have is precious. Stay committed to what you want and work at it every day.

Every day has 86,400 seconds. Make them into memorable moments. We are all given the same amount of time – it’s what we do with it that makes a difference. 

One of my goals in 2018 is to write a monthly column for Animation World Network. I’ve taken a sabbatical for a while but am ready to share my passion of helping creative people to get what they want.  Thanks for reading. If you have topics you’d like me to write about, please write me at  Thanks for your time.

*** Updated 2/10

My article had some errors regarding the costs of attending CTN Expo. Here is what I should have written--the cost for the hotel is much lower than previously mentioned.

Break down any large goal into smaller steps. Let’s say that you want to attend CTN Expo next November 16-18--a very worthwhile goal. 

For info about the event visit Held in Burbank, California, the animation capital of the world , CTN Expo hosts more than 6,000 professional animators, art students,animation studio executives and recruiters from around the world. With panels and workshops and outstanding resources, it's a don't miss event for those involved in animation. 

You live in Orlando, Florida--and the event is in Burbank, CA. What will it cost you to attend? And how long will it take you to save up the money to do so?

Add the cost of registration; a hotel in Burbank, California;, transportation (airfare and ground transportation); food; and other items. 

You will arrive at a specific number (the more specific the goal the better). 

Let’s say you want a VIP pass ($350).

CTN has arranged with the event hotel a rate of $139 day-- many people share rooms which can bring this number down even lower. 

A round trip flight from Orlando will probably cost about $750.

Consider food and local transportation costs.  (budget $100/day)

Your budget is about $1,800 You have about 9 months to accumulate the funds you will need.  You’ll need to save about $200/month or about $7/day.  You now have a specific goal–wanting to attend the CTN Expo–and a specific amount you have to save per day ($7) to have the money to attend. Explore your options --there may be areas you  can cut back on expenses such as sharing a room or using Air BNB.

Stick to your savings plan--eat out less often (bring a lunch to work), or find other ways to cut your expenses. Make saving $7 a day a priority and you'll have the funds to attend. 

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson plans to attend CTN Expo in 2018. You can reach her at


Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career coach for creative people. She is also a recruiter for animation and visual effects and games companies. Clients include Disney, LAIKA, Blue Sky, Framestore and Studio Climb.  She also speaks at conferences and colleges from Singapore to Stuttgart. You can reach her at for personal career coaching or speaking engagements.