artistic development / goals

The art of setting goals

I was talking with a fellow artist the other day and the subject of setting goals came up. I am a firm believer that goal setting plays a critical role in an artists studio practice. A clearly defined set of goals can help you stay focused, provide direction, keep you motivated and make the decision of whether or not to take on new projects easier. They also give you a way to monitor your progress which can play a big role in building self confidence and providing a sense of self satisfaction.

Most people approach goal setting as writing down a list of things that they’d like to achieve and calling it a day. While putting it down on paper is a great first step it’s missing two critical steps for success: prioritizing and creating a roadmap.



1: Write them down
Start with writing down a list of all the goals you’d like to accomplish. Don’t worry about how reasonable they are, how you’re going to achieve them or how they fit with the other goals on your list. Just get a list down on paper. Take your time with this, you don’t have to get it all done in one sitting. Keep the list handy and add to it over the course of a few days.  Once you have a list break it down into categories if appropriate. For instance your categories might include: art, publishing, marketing, social media etc.

2: Prioritize
Break your goals down into short and long term goals within each category. Short term goals are the ones that you want to work on over the next year and anything beyond that is a long term goal.  Starting with the short term goals put them in order of priority. goalspriorityWhich ones are the most important to you and are the ones that you want to achieve first?

Now create a new short term goal list from your prioritized list and list them order of priority. This is your new working goal list.  Do this for your long term goal list too.


3: Create a roadmap
This is probably the most important step and the one that is the most critical for success. In order to achieve a goal you have to know what steps you need to take and in what order to do them. For each of the goals on your prioritized list write out the set of steps you will need to take in the order you need to do them to achieve the goal.  For instance, let’s say that one of your goals is “get published in a magazine” or “build a website”?  These are great goals but what steps do you need to take to make them happen?   Write those steps down in the order they need to be done.  list

Now that you have your list of goals and a roadmap you’ve taken an important first step in being able to achieve them.  Revisit your lists as you go through the year to make sure you’re staying on track.  When new and unexpected opportunities arrive evaluate them based on your current list to see where they fit into your short and long term goals.  This will help you decide whether or not you want to take them on.

All that’s left now is to do the work!

Need help identifying, setting and prioritizing your goals?  Consider hiring me to help!  Get details on my coaching programs here.




4 thoughts on “The art of setting goals

  1. Pingback: here comes 2019… |

  2. I couldn’t agree more. After 15 years or more of getting Quilting Arts Magazine I would read it cover to cover, always saying to myself, “I can Do that. I need to enter the reader challenge. Well I have been reading Write it down and make it happen, a great book. And I set a goal 1 year ago, long story short, I am in the Rooster challenge, and the ATC in current issue. So that is 2 x in a row.


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