What’s Your #1 Goal for the New Year? (Curious Monday)

The New Year brings a time for reflection, but also renewal. There's a blank slate – a sense that we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to.

©Barbara Ferrier, Rock Climber. Acrylic on clayboard, 24 x 18 inches. Used with permission.
©Barbara Ferrier, Rock Climber. Acrylic on clayboard, 24 x 18 inches. Used with permission.

These open-ended possibilities are often debilitating.

If it's possible for us to do anything, why can't we do everything?

Well, because you can't. You just can't.

You don't have the time, the resources, or the energy to tackle everything you want to accomplish.

That's why it's important to prioritize, and this is where goal-setting comes in.

Some people may pooh-pooh goals, but I find that they're a necessary step to not only getting things done, but also for feeling complete.

When we don't have a goal and projects to mark off our list, we wander aimlessly and are never quite satisfied.

As you're planning your year, what do you think is the most important goal you can accomplish in your art business in 2017?

You might take it a step further and consider goals in these areas: creativity, business, financial, romance, family, spiritual, personal, health, travel/adventure, education.

Please leave a comment below.

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75 thoughts on “What’s Your #1 Goal for the New Year? (Curious Monday)”

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’m pretty driven already and I have a lot of goals. Probably the most important one for this year is learning how to get things done – but in bite sized pieces. I have a lot to do this year. I don’t want to get eaten up by my aspirations.

  2. I used your annual review questions to review my year. Then I used this post:
    https://aaartbizold.wpengine.com/2014/10/scary-and-extraordinary.html to create my creative challenge, or quest goals, for 2017.
    I came up with 5 art making quests for 2017, adding to current bodies of work and starting one new one. Thank you for your blog, it was very helpful!
    Oh, to answer your question, what’s the single most important goal? To increase my income as an artist.

  3. I feel like I”m in full battle survival mode. Really. The uncertainty that lies ahead has me very concerned. It’s almost crippling. Yes, pessimism is ruling my thoughts as I fear we face a tanked economy much worse that 2008. And, you can’t sell art in that environment. Period. So I’m focused on inner stuff and trying very hard to keep my head up and my thoughts purged.

  4. Dedicated, routine studio time to produce a body of work so I can really begin marketing and selling intentionally, online. I make things (paintings, prints, a bit of jewelry as a fun distraction) and they sell, and I end up with nothing because I’m not regular enough, so I end up making requests, basically. It’s a good/bad problem to have. I’m figuring out scheduling now, and commit to this becoming my new normal (not a resolution that I will break!) for 2017 and beyond. 🙂

  5. My main goal is to take my wood sculptures to that next level. Realizing those words alone are not enough I set a goal this year to do a minimum of 24 full figure sculptures and 12 of them have to be at least 18″ tall. To help keep me on goal I can only create 1 bust for every 3 full figure sculptures I do. This will keep me from procrastinating on challenging myself and fall back to creating what I’m comfortable with. To challenge myself even further the sculptures have to incorporate some type of action. They can’t just be free standing. Example, if it’s a sports figure they have to be swinging a bat, throwing a ball, shooting a basket, etc. I want them to tell a story that will draw in potential collectors to take a look at them and engage in the story.

  6. My word of the year is FOCUS – last year was a year of transition, I transitioned out of a job for 27 years, I transitioned my mother into memory care. This year I’m going to finish all the things I started, classes, project, etc. I am spending my day today setting my intentions and working on vision board to begin with. I want to established a routine for studio time and work on some new series that have been stuck in my head!

  7. I really like having specific goals and working toward them. On New Year’s Eve, I reviewed the monthly/ weekly goals for 2016. It was a very satisfying experience because I met almost all of them. The one I keep struggling with (that will be a focus this new year) is getting set up a mail service so that I can send out newsletters. I’ve had so much trouble with this. Also, I am going to take a course on writing great essays and really work on my blog.

    I am so glad you are keeping Curious Monday’s going. I so enjoy connecting with folks here.

    1. I use DirectMail for Mac. I won’t use mailing services because they basically own your email list. If you want to change to a different service you generally have to get everyone to resubscribe. See the below comment I made on FB

      In regards to moving email addresses, I just recieved this in an email from a rather well-known blogger. It is a problem to move your list from one provider to another
      “You’re receiving this because you either signed up through a web form where I did not require email confirmation, or (and more likely) I imported your contact after double-confirmation years ago but my current email manager is requiring it again. “

  8. My goal is to expose my work to people outside of my state and familiar places. I have signed on to one catalog and am researching another. I have applied to shows in far away states and am prepared to ship them about. My new website is up and running. I look forward to using this more this year.
    Personally, my goal is to not say I’m sorry so much but to find something positive to take its place. Happy New Year!

  9. Thanks to Organize Your Art Biz, I have my glass and metal studio in working order. My goal is to get my online sales outlets stocked with items to sell. I usually sell through shows and galleries, but this year is the online sales push. And, as ever, update my website.

  10. My overall goal is to create more ease and fun, while still growing my business. The goals I’ve set so far are: run a challenge and do a workshop in January, and finish my Tarot deck in February. I hope to have March planned soon too.

  11. Denise Van Balen Adams

    This is my year to build a foundation in my art world! I’ve accepted a challenge to paint the same subject once a week for one year. I chose barns.
    I’m doing Art Biz Lift Off on line. It is eye opening!!!! With the other responsibilities in my life I am taking a little longer to get everything set. Strong Foundations are my words of 2017!

  12. Each year, I come up with my “word” for the year (in regards to my art). This year, it’s “marketing”. It’s where I fall short in my business. It’s too easy to just keep painting.

  13. In 2016 I started my “Studio” where I paint and host classes and teach workshops. This year if all goes well I plan to expand to a larger space and reach beyond the break even point. Timing is everything. 🙂

  14. My main goal is educational, as stated in my Review of 2016/Plan for 2017, to be published on my blog, 1150 words by Charlene Brown, tomorrow:
    In 2016, I completed two NYU/Scientific American on-line courses, Mysteries of the Universe and Psychology of Creativity, as well as the ArtBiz Creative Content Camp and plan to do an in residence writing workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Innovation in 2017.

  15. In 2016 I accomplished things that were not even on my radar in January. (It was a great year!) So, though I may have goals for 2017, they will remain fluid. I will stay open to the possibilities that may present themselves as the year unfolds. I would like to complete several pieces to extend series that I have worked on in the past, in addition to pursuing new ideas. I plan to add one or two more galleries that will exhibit my work. I also plan to do what I can to extend my reach through social media, and blogging in order to increase sales.

  16. My number one goal is to have more income. However I also want to have a solo show in a gallery. I have a list and I find myself with fourteen things going with students and I don’t get things done for me. Time to reach for my goals too..

  17. I have been unfocused and wandering for the past few months after making a major lifestyle change and find that I don’t do well without some sort of routine ( with some flexibility). My goal is to spend daily time in the studio working on specific projects that I have listed on my calendar. Finish book. Prepare for two Gallery shows and a by invitation only art sale at a private venue. Complete a commission ( first on the list). Feels good to have things on the calendar and ready to be crossed off the list.

  18. My goal for 2017 is to transition from fine craft (crocheted wire jewelry) to fine art. I will continue to use the same medum and expand my techniques, but my new focus will allow me more access to fine art exhibits that tend to look down their noses at jewelry artists. I am rethinking my studio producton goals from how many pieces of jewelry can I make in a week to how many weeks will it take to perfect this piece. Luckily, most of the galleries that carry my current work are eager to carry the new work as well.

  19. Quite simply, I’m quitting my day job. I’ve set goals for myself that are attainable but only if I bring all my attention to painting and promoting myself.

  20. I intend to create less and spend more time on marketing what I have as I intend to let go of my 9 to 5 job after summer 2017 (it is getting tougher and tougher to juggle both). I started creating catalogs of my series. I will make appointments with galleries (face to face), redo my website and faithfully write a monthly newsletter.
    I also am applying to calls for public art. I really enjoy the challenges and collaboration public art presents and only have 2 under my belt right now.

  21. My goals are to complete twelve 30 X 40 inch paintings for a show in 2018, make inroads into a couple galleries, apply for a couple grants and enter into a contest each month. Also get my website to a point where I feel it is up to date.

  22. My goal is to have not so many goals in 2017 as I did in 2016! I overwhelmed myself! Sticking to my studio hours, setting realistic daily/weekly/monthly goals than I Can accomplish, yes! In January – cleaning, reorganizing my studio, show bags, updating customer email list. In between, I’ll work on my art!
    Each month my goal/plan is to work on a specific part of my art; glassware, mugs, small canvases, bookmarks, note cards. And these goals!
    Researching venues to showcase my art, with specific criteria & requirements.
    Reducing my carbon foot print re raw materials purchases.
    Recording sales, expenses, miles, taxes collected.
    Minimizing time spent on social media.
    Marketing my art once a week.
    Network more
    Attend workshops.

    Best get started!

  23. Victoria Pendragon

    Like some others, I’m very focused. Don’t have any ‘goals’ that are separate from my goal in life which is not so much a goal as a way of being in the world and that is to be the best Me that I an be, doing the best work that I can do in order to make my time on the planet count for something.

  24. My goal is more studio time in 2017. We’re all in for a very rough ride, so activism will be required as well.

  25. Stephen E. Price

    First goal is finding a place to live that I can afford, then get my miniature (2.5 inch) scenic paintings going again, the Trail of Illusions also, trompe l’oeil murals and illusions need to get settled and paint. Life gave me a big curve balls in housing and my health. Would love a live work situation in an inn, or personal guest house. Work van is not in operation now ( same week as everything else) everything hit me at once.

  26. I am going to be more disciplined about my studio hours.
    Take time every week to check that my social media, web sites, cv, artist statements, etc are current. Re do Alyson’s work sheets.
    Make contact with galleries outside my local area.
    Clear out the back section of my studio which stores/hoards all the “stuff” from when I had a craft business. It sits there (just in case) and I have moved on and have to let it go.
    Not be afraid to express who and I am and my ideas through my art practice.
    Try not be be afraid of charging a reasonable price for the work I create.
    Attend some workshops (real and on line) to broaden my ideas.

  27. My main goal is to just be more dedicated with the practice of art and more focused on creating and tuning my art skills.

  28. To be organized enough to spend 70% of my time in outreach, marketing and sales. I have spent the past two years planning specific contributions I want to make through my painting, writing and speaking. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different methods of marketing and sales, looking for my sweet spot in the studio and in the world. Back story – My husband and I started a jewelry business in the ’90’s and we never got a handle on production. I always outsold production and it limited on our income. We supported our family for 4 years, learned a ton and felt we were under earning for the work. And I promised myself I’d find a way to avoid that limitation and then get on a serious trajectory of establishing myself. This is the year!

  29. I’ve always set artistic/business goals for myself and I review them weekly and make out my to-do list. I wonder if there are artists out there who don’t set goals, don’t have timelines, don’t have extensive to-do lists and still feel they both get things done and feel satisfied. Just curious.

  30. 35-40 large abstract palm tree paintings completed and ready for exhibition 12/1/17. These were begun last month.
    Add the marketing for the scheduled exhibit…including a book.

    I have a few other projects for 2017 – but this is the one easiest for me to derail. ????

  31. My goal for 2017 is NEVER to lose an opportunity. I have had so many opportunities in the past and lost them.
    Currently I have a couple of big obstacles to overcome (health and transport), in order to take advantage of a new gallery that is opening, and another venue where I can promote my portraits. I must do a set of still life paintings for the gallery. Getting into the studio is impossible at the moment (health challenge). I have set up an easel on the kitchen table which limits the size I can work on, so I have to plan some smaller works until I can get back to the Big Goals List.

  32. My big goal for the year is to triple my income. Last year I did well with growing some exhibiting and teaching venues and broke even financially while paying a part time employee (office assistant). This year I want to pay myself also. 🙂 I have a number of specific strategies set to encourage accomplishing this goal. I very much appreciate the opportunity to share in this community of artists!

  33. My main goals for 2017 are to set up a website and copyright my artwork so that I can sell work online in addition to the regular art shows I participate in. Also want to add 1 or 2 new venues for shows.

  34. My most important goal is to continue to organize my studio so that I can find all my drawings, paintings, prints and mixed media pieces on the spot. That also goes for any tools that are required to create more art. Right now I am working with a professional organizer who is a whiz! You see I have created work since the 1970’s and never had time to do it right. Since I moved 5 times over the years from Pittsburgh then San Diego and finally to Chicago there was never enough time to protect my work as well as one should. The last move was a disaster because several people helped me move and as you know “too many cooks can spoil the food.” It was total chaos.
    Not only organizing the art work I created but since I had traveled for 10 years in Europe and the United States am now learning to part with objects I bought along the way. They are now being given to my grandchildren or being donated.
    I have taken several photos of my messy studio and when the studio is finished I will be able to take “after” pictures. Perhaps I might write an article about this for an art magazine. Now let me tell you that my studio does not look anything like Francis Bacon’s studio. While I admit that he is a fantastic artist–I could never never work in a place like that.
    One more important point: I can now invite the collectors of my work over to an organized art studio.
    Happy New Year everyone!

  35. Corinne McNamara

    1. Complete reorganization of my studio area. It has become more storage than useable space and it is time to weed out old interests.
    2. Use evidence-based practices to increase efficacy and reduce time spent on reading/grading in my part-time teaching position (writing course). I experienced burnout in the past year that affected my art as well as my teaching.
    3. Complete 52 watercolor paintings/sketches in series reflecting seasons and landscapes, suitable for prints and cards.

  36. My number one goal this year is to learn WordPress so I can not only manage my website by myself, but to have everything current and be proud to direct people to my website. Some people have told me that WordPress is easy, but so far I haven’t found that to be the case, but I can’t keep paying others to make changes and additions. What I’m really hoping is that I can master this during the first quarter of the year, because after that my schedule gets busier with teaching, and I still need studio time everyday.

  37. Balance. It’s my biggest challenge, so it’s my main goal for 2017. Seems I have many competing interests these days. It’s time to make painting a priority again. So, working in my studio two to three times a week is my initial painting goal. Doesn’t matter if it’s only for two or three hours at a time. It’s enough to get the rhythm of going into the studio going again.

  38. My main goal is to create an average of two paintings each week. It might be 4 small ones one week and a 36×48″ stretched out over the next two. My solo show in July is a joyful reason to stay on schedule!

  39. My #1 goal for 2017? To not obsess about goals.

    I clearly understand what I’m trying to accomplish with my art career (and have known for a long time).

    But the anxiety and stress that accompanies an obsession with meeting goals has, for me, often created more difficulty that it’s worth. And sometimes made being an artist less fun.

    So, this year, I’m going to stay focused not on goals, but on ACTIONS.

    Instead of constantly re-evaluating what I want and checking where I am on some imaginary timeline, I’m going to concentrate on what I’m doing NOW.

    Living in the moment, practicing mindful intention and enjoying the journey – not worrying so much about the destination.

  40. My #1 Goal for 2017 is to get a new website. The one I have is a nightmare to maintain. I just received a quote for a custom site. Not sure of how I want to proceed so I need decide – Custom site vs, template driven and get the ball rolling.

  41. My goal for first half of the year is to get my Kickstarter going for the app I’m designing! I’m so excited about this. Second half, not sure yet, but I can’t handle anymore right now so that will have to suffice. ????

  42. My 2017 main goal is to make my self “create a cohesive body of work”, then go to portfolio reviews both locally and in other states. I am taking a year off from making small photographic pieces that I sell inexpensively at artist open studios and craft fares.????

  43. Thanks for this forum, Alyson! My main goals for 2017: finish the museum show project I’ve been working on for the past few years, organize paperwork in my office by 2/28/17, and resist the temptation to take on further volunteer obligations – allowing more time for teaching and painting.

  44. I have two related goals:

    1a: Stop using any excuse not to continue.
    1b: Stop avoiding the hard stuff.

    For me it all seems to be keeping the process proceeding.

  45. My word for 2017 is “calm”. One goal stemming from that is to focus on one thing at a time. Improving my blog is the first thing I will be working on this year.

  46. My 2 words for the year are “patience” and “marketing.” I just found this blog last month. One thing I’ve learned already, is art comes first then the business stuff.

  47. Happy New Year, Alyson!

    The no.1 thing I am going to do this year is to check in on myself every day, several times a day if necessary, by asking myself “is what I am doing working for my benefit?” Benefit means creative, financial or social media growth.

    Thank you for your question, 🙂 Victoria

  48. Marrianna Dougherty

    Oh, so many ideas, so little time. My #1 goal is to improve my health by exercising more and falling down less. #2 – create artwork daily and not be concerned about who sees it/likes it/hates it. Included in #2 is a webinar/year long class with Cynthia Morris: “…short and sweet online class, Your Best Creative Year Ever. This 90-minute online class will help me identify my targets for 2017 and will give me the tools to stay on track to my creative joy.”

    Okay, now I’ll keep reading what others are saying to this question.

  49. My #1 Goal for the New Year is to re-launch my art blog. I had an art blog years ago and, in hindsight, it drove the greater portion of my sales. When life threw a few unexpected speedbumps in my path and I had to step away from the studio for a few years, I took the blog down. I don’t have a newsletter (even though I know I should!), so the blog provides a way for me to keep my art patrons up to date on the latest happenings from my studio.

  50. My #1 goal is to keep plowing ahead: just submitted an application for a local artist-run gallery; working daily on more “little one” paintings in my series; stretching my teaching adult classes with research, PowerPoints, handouts, examples, etc.; and as Marrianna stated “improving my health” with daily exercise (set up a stationary bike in my studio so I can bike when I am studying my painting(s). Hooray for 2017 ! The Future is Looking Bright ! Ended 2016 with a commissioned portrait…

  51. Had to take a full-time job 2016, BUT I still have my freelance clients and studies to complete
    #1 Finish my Color of Woman Studies to get my certificate
    #2 Transition my freelance work to someone else, I want to stop working all the time.
    #3 Stay on top of paperwork and bookkeeping
    #4 ENJOY my life more, have more fun
    #5 Return to a regular fitness routine/lifestyle after being sick for a year

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Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

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