Setting Goals

Goal-setting is nothing new in the world of productivity. However, very little has been said regarding goals in the world of art. While goal-setting is largely the same as it is with everything else, it can be a little different for artists. Artists aren’t usually very goal-oriented. They tend to live in the moment, thinking of neither the future or the past. This is great for making art and capturing moments. On the other hand, unfortunately this can lead to rash and regrettable decisions. Ever heard of 20/20 hindsight? Think of the times have you looked back and said to yourself: “Man, I should’ve followed up with that gallery,” or “I should’ve asked that potential patron to make an offer.”

Just the simple act of setting a goal can make a huge difference in your life. Write it down! It gives you something to refer back to later. Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt has written about how important goal-setting in his post Goal-Setting: The 90-Day Challenge citing how just writing down his goals has made a profound impact on his life.

Put your goal in concrete terms, with some sort of tangible result that’s just crazy enough that you’ll really go after it. That way you’ll know for sure when you’ve reached your goal. In Michael Hyatt’s case, it was to write a New York Times bestseller. Later that year, he got his book published, and the next year it made it to the Times bestseller list.

Example goals an artist can set:

  • Explore a certain theme
    Pick a theme and explore different ways to talk about it in your art.
  • Start a new series this year
    Similar to the prefious, try something new that you haven’t explored before.
  • Set aside x hours each week to work on art
    Just setting aside a set number of hours to work on your art each week is life-changing. It makes you much more serious and dedicated toward your art, signifiying that your art is less of a hobby and more of a career.
  • Draw a sketch daily to post to your sketchblog
    My friend Mitchell Breitweiser has been doing this for a while on his blog, Inky Fingers.
  • Participate in Nanowrimo this November
    Writing 1667 words each day to meet the goal of 50,000 words at the end of the month is sure to produce something good.

Break your goals down into doable steps. If have an upcoming art event, the Art Biz Blog has some excellent ideas in a three-part series for promoting your exhibit, breaking it down into a number of doable tasks, all in three posts. And here on Mysterious Flame, I’ve talked about breaking big projects down into smaller pieces.

Bottom line: write down your goals, and make them manageable, so that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. But don’t make it too manageable that you won’t be proud of your efforts. You appreciate more what you work hard to achieve.


4 Comments. Add your own below.

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  2. […] bottom line is, this is outcome-based thinking. It helps you know when you’ve reached your goal because you were specific about it. You have created the promised deliverable, whether that promise […]


  3. […] "I will click on this link right now and read the article on goal setting." […]


  4. FUNNY HOW YOU CAN GET SO WRAPPED UP IN THE OUTCOME OF YOUR CREATIONS THAT YOU LOSE THE ABILITY TO CREATE AT ALL. SOMETHING THAT USED TO BE SUCH A JOY IS A CONSTANT REMINDER TO ME OF MY FAILINGS. PUTTING EGO AHEAD OF CREATIVE OUTPUT IS DEATH. WHATEVER IS REQUIRED FOR ME TO BE A HEALTHY PRODUCTIVE ARTIST, I WILL DO IT. GETTING SOBER. LIGHTEN UP. LETTING GO. ITS ONLY ART….


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