Fill In The Blanks to Set Your Goals

It’s a New Year and new start.

Everyone is talking about either setting goals or why you should avoid setting goals or making resolutions at all costs.

Marcie Cohen painting of snowy river
©Marcie Cohen, Snowy Bank. Pastel, 12 x 16 inches. Used with permission.

I’m not big on resolutions, but I stand firmly in the “goals are good for you” camp. I’ve seen them work for my clients and know they’ve propelled me further than I would have been without them.

So, let’s set some goals!

I’ve adapted the questions from the annual review and The See Plan to help you set goals for the New Year.

Promise not to go crazy with the process. Aim for 3-5 big goals for your year. This list is a starting point.

1. Honing Creativity

What artistic medium or skill will you improve?
What creative project is scary enough that it will help you grow as an artist?
What new art events, galleries, and museums will you visit?
How will you improve your studio habits?
What art seminars/workshops/lectures/classes will you participate in or teach?
What business seminars/workshops/lectures/classes will you participate in?

How will you challenge your creativity in the coming year?

2. Demonstrating Commitment

Where will you seek to exhibit or retail your art?
What grants, projects, or residencies will you apply for?
How many blog posts, newsletters, or articles will you write and with what regularity?

How can you increase your commitment level next year?

3. Seeking Clarity

What resources do you need to explore?
What technological skills will you learn or improve?
How will you make time for regular planning?

Where do you need more clarity for next year?

Lucinda Howe painting of colorful riverbank
©Lucinda Howe, Ebbtide. Oil on canvas, 26 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

4. Nurturing Community

Where do you need more support for your art and career?
What organizations will you become involved with?
How can you help someone else out?
In what ways will you be a leader in your art community?

How will you effectively nurture community around your art?

5. Cultivating Connection

How will you improve your networking in person and online?
How many people will you seek to add to your mailing list?
How will you use your mailing list?
How many social media followers will you gain on the various platforms you use?

How can you improve your marketing next year?

6. Building Confidence

What will you do to enhance your professional reputation?
Where will you give a gallery talk or lecture?
What classes or workshops will you teach?
What will be your practice for writing about your art?

What do you need to do to improve your confidence next year?

Theresa Grillo Laird painting of river bayou
©2015 Theresa Grillo Laird, Jakes Bayou. Oil, 14 x 18 inches. Used with permission.

7. Completing

What new marketing material will you develop and use?
How will you follow up with people and opportunities?
How will you track your growth?

What will you finish next year that has been on your plate for too long?

8. Celebrating

How will you acknowledge and reward yourself for your successes?

How will you celebrate in the New Year?

Your Turn

Please share your big goals for 2016 in a comment below. Happy New Year!

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22 thoughts on “Fill In The Blanks to Set Your Goals”

  1. Karen Leso Hegglin

    My goal became clear at Art Biz Makeover in November, create more studio time to improve my skill level. Now, how to decide what is a realistic amount of time I will be able to spend painting! Only a few hours left!!

  2. Really good questions. I love the way they’re divided into unexpected categories. For example, applying for grants and residencies demonstrates commitment, and enhancing your reputation builds confidence. Instead of goals being seen through a filter of ladder-climbing, Alyson you help us see them as part of natural growth. This is so helpful to the process of discovering what’s important and how to follow through. I don’t know the answers yet, but I’m going to. Maybe not by midnight tonight and that’s ok, because this is worth spending a few days on. Thank you!

  3. I love the way you distill all the stuff that goes round and round in my head into sensible bite sized chunks.
    One of my big aims for next year is to become more focused and organised in what I do. Planning, planning before catapulting myself headlong into a random project.
    Thank you for the encouragement through out the year Alyson.

  4. thanks for the list! As I was printing this out and getting ready to answer the questions, I decided I would first answer the questions for LAST year, what I have done (or not) to help me gauge where I am currently… and then plan for this year.

  5. Alyson :
    I also no not set goal. Thank you for the very good information , you make me think about things. I like to read what you have to say , and the feed back that you get back from others. I am one of the painters that see the idea in my head and I have to get it done. This year I hope to heed more of your advice. Thank You .

  6. I don’t do resolutions, but I do set intentions and goals. My main goal for 2016 is ease. So I’m simplifying, eliminating and making other things more efficient. I will be making even more time for my art, continue to do some kind of art every single day, and get better at marketing it.

  7. Getting 12-20 large paintings finished of the national park in my town for the centennial year of the national park system, and finding a place to exhibit them.

    Getting organized with everything in place enable me to paint and run my business as productively and profitably as possible. Thanks to Bootcamp, I know how to do it!

  8. Happy New Year Alyson, Last year this time I was excited to take your Art Biz bootcamp! I spent the year putting into place many of the pieces I needed to get started on my new journey into the art business. About a week ago I celebrated very quietly by looking at my white board with only 2 tasks left and I face booked our bootcamp group to share a moment of extreme satisfaction. I felt like they would understand the moment the best! This years goal is to consistently implement each of the systems I now have in place, based on your course. Thanks Alyson for your vision to implement YOUR business and help all of us. I’m excited for 2016 and ready to get to work on Monday!

  9. Lyna Lou Nordstrom

    Thank you for that great “cheat sheet” as someone called it for setting our goals. I realized that I have not really ever set long term goals. Perhaps a short term one for a craft show or an exhibit that I am planning. This will be the year I learn to set & implement goals! Someone who is counseling me says I need to have times for each activity. If I actually set priorities, that will be a big step in the right direction!!
    As someone else said, Thank you for sharing all your insights and processes as you built your business!!

  10. Thanks so much Alyson for the great questions. It helps to have them nested under larger outcomes like that. I’m making a big shift this year from doing a lot of art festivals to marketing my work in other ways. So your questions are really helping me get a better idea of what to do instead of festivals, and how to build support for something new! So scary, in a good way. I appreciate your newsletters and read every one. I hope YOUR year is the best ever.

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Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

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.

Where can we send it? 

To ensure delivery, please triple check your email address.

You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

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