New Year, New You: Writing Goals for Creativity & Productivity


confetti party celebration
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!


I’m never quite sure at what point to stop wishing people a happy new year. And 2021 feels like a difficult one (with lockdown in the UK due to Covid), so I’m even less sure...


What I do know, is that I have set myself some serious New Years Resolutions and I’m fully intending on sticking to them.


Did you know…1 in 4 people fail in their resolutions within the first week? I find that a bit of a grim statistic. However, 1 in 5 people are still keeping their resolutions after 2 years- how great is that! These are the people who have planned their goals, and given themselves rewards and motivations along the way.


If you feel that you have “failed” at your New Years Resolution already, or maybe that you are having a difficult time keeping up with it: don’t beat yourself up about it. You can totally do it.



Have a look at the advice below, apply it to your Resolutions, and feel the immediate sense of relief at having a manageable, and achievable, creative goal.



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How Can You Set a Realistic and Achievable goal that will Boost your Confidence and Creative Energy?


The most important step to planning your goals is to come up with a very thorough, very realistic goal, and writing it down. There are many strategies to writing manageable goals; the one I prefer to use is the SMART goals technique. To any fellow educators or project managers out there; this may already be familiar- keep reading to see how these can apply just as well to personal resolutions as to workplace settings.


For myself, as a creative entrepreneur, I find using SMART goals absolutely invaluable; they help me stay on track and get stuff done, and the also help me to feel a sense of achievement.



Setting realistic and achievable goals gives me the time, energy, and confidence to be truly creative. Keep reading to set your achievable goals.



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So, what is a SMART goal and how can we use these goals to help us with our creative practise?


I’ve adapted the theory to work specifically with on-going resolutions, so this may differ slightly from other versions that exist for management and education.


We're going to look at a New Years Resolution that may be quite familiar to a lot of creatives out there:

“This year, I want to draw more”


SMART is an acronym that stands for:

S- Specific M- Measurable A- Achievable R- Relevant T- Time-bound


We're going to use these descriptors to turn a dull (and unlikely to succeed) goal into one that will work for you.



Specific: Your goal should always be specific. What do you want to draw more of? and what is the outcome of drawing more? The more specific, the more achievable it will be.


“ I want to achieve better pencil drawings of flowers, by drawing more frequently”



Measureable: What does “better” mean and what does “more” mean? At least one of these needs to have measurable outcome in order to feel that you have reached your goal. Adding at least one metric allows you something to aim for, and gives you a mighty sense of achievement once you hit that target.


“I want to achieve better pencil drawings of flowers, by drawing a different flower every day"



Achievable: This is so important. Your goal needs to be realistic and flexible to avoid setting yourself up for failure. Push yourself, yes, but be reasonable with yourself. For example, we would all love to draw every day, but realistically- how possible is this? Stuff happens and life gets busy, and that’s ok! Your goal needs to take this into account so that you don’t feel that you’ve failed as soon as you’ve missed 1 day.


“I want to become better at creating pencil drawings of flowers, by drawing 3 different flowers a week”



Relevant: How relevant is your goal to your overall life or career? “Better” is very subjective (especially in the art world), so how does this relate to what you’re trying to do? Perhaps you may want to become more confident? Or perhaps you want to draw more quickly to increase your income? Relevance takes into account your current life and your longer term goals- it creates a goal that is personal to you, and therefore more likely to succeed.


“I want to become more confident at creating pencil drawings of flowers, by drawing 3 different flowers a week”



Time-bound: Give yourself an end-game. Goals are much easier to achieve when we can see the end, and therefore the prize. Here, we will use the deadline of 30th March. 3 months is a good length for a short-term goal- when you get to 30th March, you can reassess, readjust and set a new goal as a continuation of your New Years Resolution. With a clear deadline, you can also add a clear reward (a gift or a day out) if you know that’ll help you.


“By 30th March 2021, I want to become more confident at creating pencil drawings of flowers, by drawing 3 different flowers each week."




Tailoring the goal to you:

Your SMART goals can be as in-depth or as basic as you like- as long as you have covered the above 5 points. There are different variations of this you can do, depending on how much detail you feel is relevant to you. You can add as much detail as you need to have a clear method of achieving your goal, but don’t overwhelm yourself. The more your goal makes sense to you, the more motivated you will feel by it, and therefore more creative you can be whilst achieving it.

So, our NY resolution has gone from:

“This year I want to draw more”


To:


“By 30th March 2021, I want to become more confident at creating pencil drawings of flowers, by drawing 3 different flowers each week."


or


“By 30th March 2021, I want to become more confident at creating pencil drawings of flowers, by drawing 3 different flowers each week. By the 30th March, I will know I am more confident as the time taken to draw each flower will have decreased.“


or


“By 30th March 2021, I want to become more confident at creating pencil drawings of flowers, by drawing at least 3 different flowers each week. On 30th March, if I have filled an A4 sketchbook with drawings, I will buy myself a new set of drawing pencils/paints"




Final step: Write it down and keep it somewhere relevent. Eg. at the front of your sketch-book. You may also write it somewhere visible- on a mood-board or vision-board above your workspace would be the perfect spot.



I use this method daily, for both big and small goals, and I find it so helpful and inspiring. It breaks down overwhelming tasks and ambitions into managable and achievable targets, giving more brainspace for creativity. Let me know about your goals and whether this was helpful to you!