How To Set Goals as a Creative

Every year we reflect on our accomplishments and aim to seek more for the new year ahead. As creatives, we can’t help but feel an overwhelming surge of inspiration (or sudden drive of competition) during the first weeks of January. 

More goals are set at the start of something anew: the new year, birthday, and even after breakups. And while studies show that about 40% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions every year, 55% of people stick with their goals for only a month. 

Part of the problem is how we set our goals and the lack of strategy when placing them. Unfortunately, most of them use a traditional goal-setting technique — focused on wishful thinking, bucket lists, or broad goals written then abandoned. And while some of us have heard or applied SMART planning before, we tend to “‘go big” or too wide. 

Without having an objective point of view, you’ll experience a lack of progress and will likely give up on your goal.

Goal setting is about positioning yourself for success. So, establishing goals without having a strategy to accomplish them will lead you to feel unmotivated. Without having an objective point of view, you’ll experience a lack of progress and will likely give up on your goal. So, is it worthless to set goals, or do creatives need a different approach?

While not all creatives are built to be planners or have a Type A personality, what we’re driven on is the process. By implementing process goals, you’ll find yourself checking off resolutions and moving towards a runway of success in 2022. 

What are process goals? 

Process goals are milestones you achieve that help you reach your outcome goals. Having process goals makes you feel in control by giving you something to focus on as you work towards bigger goals. In addition, they provide a great personal sense of satisfaction which further sustains a feeling of motivation. Implementing process goals is essential and will help keep a creative inspired and organized. An effective goal-setting process combines a traditional method with SMART planning but hacks its acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound).

Implementing process goals is essential and will help keep a creative inspired and organized.

Read on, then adopt this four-step goal-setting process to set your goals as a creative:

Step One: VISUALIZE

Spend 5 minutes or play your favorite track and visualize what you’d like to achieve this year. Write them down freely.

According to HuffPost, “visualization allows us to remove all the emotion surrounding negativity, and instead, place our attention on actions that will enable us to achieve personal success.” Creative visualization helps you to focus on what you want to achieve.

Step Two: ASSESS

Assess what you’ve written. Do your goals stand alone from each other? If they don’t, identify which ones can be bundled together and rename the goal to reflect the group.

Step Three: BUILD YOUR PROCESS GOALS

Your outcome goals look super exciting! Now what? Work towards an outcome goal by creating process goals or tasks to help you achieve the bigger idea. Try this approach that allows you to act today, next week, and every month:

From your list, think of 2 process goals you would like to tackle —

Today:

Next Week:

Next Month:

For example, one of your 2022 goals may be to secure grant funding. You can approach your process goals in the following:

Today: 

  1. Research what I need in a pitch deck.
  2. Make a list of people in my network who has secured funding or partnerships.

Next Week:

  1. Reach out to my listed network and reach out to ask for advice in the process.
  2. Research grant opportunities.

Next Month:

  1. Build my pitch deck 
  2. Apply to grants

Step Four: EVALUATE 

Dedicate a time every month in which you evaluate your progress and what you accomplished. Give yourself the space to celebrate these milestones! Then, set your next process goals. You may even discover that you’ve crossed off some of your outcome goals. 

We love the repetition of this process because you’ll continually be present in your approach and feed your motivation without feeling burnout.

Ready to visualize and tackle your next outcome goal? Whether you’re a budding creative entrepreneur looking to start your own business or a student passionate about expanding your education, 2022 is the year to learn new skills. Don’t let the demands of everyday life hold you back — whatever your ambitions, check out our courses available so you can learn new skills at home and in your own time.