As I’m writing this it’s the middle of January, and I have to admit that I haven´t really thought of setting any creative goals, until I had a look in my computer / craft stash/ art room and saw all my UFO´s (unfinished objects).
It made me feel a little sad to see that I have a tendency to start up a lot of projects and somewhere halfway through loose interest, pack the project away and then get overly excited about a new project. This isn’t getting me anywhere so it is my new years resolution to set up a plan for my creative endeavours. I´m hoping that having a plan and following it will get me closer to my overall creative vision.
I want to share my thoughts with you, and how I have set up goals for the following year. In short this is how I did it:
What worked and what didn’t work last year? To set out a direction for 2017 I began by reflecting on the past year. Well, I had a browse through my mobile phone gallery, which made me realize what I want to explore further.
I found a few projects that I’m quite satisfied with that I want to do more of. I also found a few projects that I’m not so proud of (note to self, maybe those are the ones I should explore further and improve?) I evaluated last year creative projects and accomplishments and scribbled them down in my journal.
Let´s be realistic. With my track record of starting up lots of projects instead of perfecting my skills, I began with writing down the direction I want to go. I wont dream up an over ambitious project again, instead I´ll address a few bite size project. Having a clear idea of what I want to achieve in the end will make me more focused instead of wandering without intention. The clearer I am, the more likely it is that my goal will be fulfilled.
Once I set my overall vision I broke it down into small achievable steps. Setting too many goals is a recipe for disaster. I set fewer goals at a time. Each goal is achievable, realistic and has a deadline.
Here are a few examples of my 2017 goals (in no specific order).
It´s easy to dream and talk, but harder to act. One thing that I´ve learned that works best for me is to target the “low hanging fruit”. There I said it. Salesy-marketing terminology, but it is true. I´m most successful when I´m reaching for obvious opportunities. For example, I have this idea that I would like to learn to build my own furniture. But let´s be realistic. I don’t have the time or the space. Perfecting my handwriting. That’s great goal for me. I can practice any time, even with a crying baby around my neck.
Right, so lets get back to the handwriting example. I did a quick attempt at hand lettering last year. I gave it about 2 hours in total, and then got fed up. (I also want to add that I invested in a book, fountain pen, ink and paper, just to pack it away in my craft storage never to see daylight again) I really do want to perfect my writing; lets set that as a goal. To be specific, I will send a snail mail with at least one page of handwriting to a friend once a month. To be extremely specific, the deadline is the last Sunday every month. Extremely specific, but equally measurable which is what I want it to be.
I have created a calendar with achievable goals. I know from experience that I wont practice my writing every day for a year, probably not even every week. But a goal I have set for myself is to write once a month. Having accessible goals is satisfying and it will have a positive impact instead of not reaching the goal.
I will send one letter once a month for a year. That´s 12 snail mails in total. Hopefully my handwriting will have improved during that time, and I won’t be fed up after a few hours. On the plus side, my friend who will receive the extremely lovely handwritten snail mail might even enjoy receiving it.
To remind me of my overall vision and the goals I have set myself, I have written them down and stuck them on my noticeboard. I look at them everyday and focus. I also evaluate the progress. Along with my notes I´ve also printed out a few snapshots of projects that I’m proud of. On a rainy day they will act as a reminder of what makes me happy.
I was once told to ”Dream big act small”, and those words have followed me ever since. Set the goals you want that makes you happy. Once you reach a small goal it will be a fabulous motivator to set ever bigger goals!
I find that setting up a direction with goal and sharing it with my friends, will motivate me and make me focused. Perhaps my friends will find it motivating too, and we can push each other.
Set your goals on a monthly basis, and why wait until Monday to start – The time is now!
I would love to hear what your thoughts are regarding your creative year of 2017. Please comment below.