How to Set Creative Goals

A new year, means new goals! Which can be an exciting time but also a daunting time, when it comes to writing down those goals. I’m going to run through a process that I personally follow and is based on my experience over the past few years of setting creative goals for both my design career and product business.

1. The Worksheet

(Download My Free Creative Goals Sheet )

This will be helpful for following along with the steps below. Feel free to also write directly into a journal or diary to fill in the information.

2. The Mind Map

Firstly it’s a good idea to create a mind map or brainstorm focused around your creative dreams, things you are passionate about and what inspires you. Spend quite a bit of time on this, trying to dig deep on what you are really passionate about. Think about the things you find enjoyable¬† and what truly inspires you and write them down. On the worksheet, use the questions in the centre of the mindmap page to prompt your thoughts. I like to stem bubbles off from the centre and then stem bubbles off those ones, as ideas flow.

setting creative goals

Goal Setting in my Studio / Photo @deardiarydesign

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3. The WHAT

After the mind map, it’s time to start putting those words into clear creative goals. I like to split my creative goals into four categories – Career, Practice, Mindfulness and Dreams. Creative Career Goals focus on your working career in the industry or your business/entrepreneurship… or you may have goals for both! The Practice section is all about the skills you want to learn in your particular practice or something new. Mindfulness goals are all about inspiration and creative well being. Lastly, the Dreams column should be those BIG dreams you have, the sky is the limit and there may be no contained time limit for these ones.

For Example:

Career – “Stock my products in 10 gift stores by the end of the year”

Practice – “To Learn a new style of painting”

Mindfulness – “Take time for mindfulness every week and make it a habit”

Dreams – “To have my work published in a book”

Journaling Goals / Photo @deardiarydesign

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4. The HOW

The next step is to break down the goals into smaller steps. This makes the creative goals less overwhelming and also assists you to think about the realistic steps you can take to make the goals actionable. Ask yourself the question, How can I achieve these creative goals? and write down the steps.

For Example:

THE WHAT: “To Learn a new style of painting”

THE HOW: “Enrol in a beginner still life painting workshop”

Notebooks for Goal Setting by MiGoals , Daring & Disruptive for inspiration by Lisa Messenger
Photo @deardiarydesign

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5. The WHEN

In this section, we write down a time frame for each step. Without making ‘deadlines’ for our creative goals, they will rarely be achieved as the motivation to get things done by a certain time may not be there. I personally need a little bit of pressure on my goals to achieve them. However, not every goal will need a specific ‘end date’ or time frame, perhaps the time frame is simply ‘every week beginning February’ or ‘every day starting tomorrow’. It’s important to be as realistic as possible with your time frames so that you don’t become too disappointed if your goals are not met by these times. That’s why I like to look at the steps detailed in THE HOW and write down when I would like to achieve those. The bigger goals may have a more vague time frame placed on them.

For Example:

THE WHAT: “To Learn a new style of painting”

THE HOW: “Enrol in a beginner still life painting workshop”

THE WHEN: “Enrol into the still life workshop by March”

Goal Setting in my Studio / Photo @deardiarydesign

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And now, it’s just time to take action on those creative goals! Remember, take it step by step and if you ever feel overwhelmed or feel that the actions are not leading you in the right direction, go back and re-visit the mind map made in step one.

Also… time to buy a pretty journal to write those creative goals in! I love these ones from Melbourne Designer, MiGoals.

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