Goal Setting for Surface Designers

The beginning of a new year can be wonderfully motivating as a surface designer; you have a well of ideas and energy and can set exciting new goals. However, did you know that only 20% of us are still working towards them come February and by the end of the year it’s only 8%?

The reason goals are so hard to stick to is that most artists don’t develop a goal-setting process to get themselves from Point A (where they are) to Point B (accomplishing their goal).

I was firmly planted in the 92% and didn’t stick to my goals for years, but in 2017 I had a wake-up call. My goal that year was to exhibit at Surtex and successfully land enough work to exceed the costs of the trade show by 150%. And I’m proud to say I hit my goal by August.

But it wasn’t just a fluke that I achieved my goal. It was because I was so driven to make it happen AND I developed a year-long plan to help keep me on track. So today, I’m sharing 3 helpful activities for goal setting to help you achieve (and exceed) your goal!

1. Set a Meaningful Goal

This may sound obvious, but in order to be successful in surface design, your goal needs to be something that excites you to your very core. Whether it’s an income goal you wished you’d reach someday or landing one of your dream clients, pick something that will keep you motivated all year long.

There will be times when you’ll struggle, but if you have a goal you’re excited about, you can tap into that and it will help carry you through!

In my case, Surtex was something I’d dreamt about since about 2007 when I learned about it in graduate school. So when I transitioned to surface design in 2016, I knew that Surtex was where I wanted to be. Of course, my path to exhibiting wasn’t easy and there were several moments of self-doubt or frustration, but one thing that helped me keep going was the thought of walking into the Javits as an exhibitor for the very first time.

2. Do a Brain Dump

In order to create a solid plan for your goal, you need to contemplate everything you need to do to get there. Take out a piece of paper (you’ll probably need several) and write down every task you can think of to help you work toward your goal, no matter how small.

If that feels too daunting, start by breaking your large goal into smaller goals or categories and work through them one by one. By focusing on smaller aspects of your large goal, you’re less likely to get overwhelmed.

When I did a brain dump for my goal of exhibiting at Surtex, I broke down tasks into the different aspects of preparation for the show, like exhibiting logistics, marketing, building my portfolio, etc. Then I worked on each category one by one until I had 3 full pages of tasks I needed to complete.

Don’t get too hung up on whether you’ve thought of absolutely everything. You can always come back to your list and add to it.

3. Stay Accountable

For your goal action plan to work, you need to continually keep it in mind. One of the best ways to do this is to find someone like your partner, close friend, or family member. Tell them your goal and have them check in with you every month to keep you on track.

You could also get an accountability buddy; it’s especially helpful if they are in surface design or are working towards a similar goal. You could also announce your goal on social media. Declaring your goal publicly can help make it seem more real, plus you’re likely to get people to cheer you on.

I was fortunate enough to have an accountability partner for Surtex. My friend, Lizzie Clark, was also exhibiting for the first time in 2017, so it was the perfect solution for us to pair up. We Skyped every other week and that kept us on track and little by little, we checked off everything together. She’s been an incredibly supportive partner-in-crime ever since!

Want to Achieve YOUR Goals This Year?

The business life of a surface designer can be a struggle, but developing a road map of clearly laid out goal setting steps to get to you achieve them can make the journey a lot easier and that’s what my goal setting PDF workbook can help you with – click here to download your copy!

It’ll walk you through the entire goal-setting process step-by-step from learning to set the RIGHT goal for you to developing a plan to stay ahead all year long.

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