Five reasons goals setting can help your creative endeavours

Last week, due to several requests,  I wrote a post about basic goal setting.  Thank you for all your very positive comments  about it. However, I know many creative people don’t set goals or don’t like setting goals. So, although I said I wasn’t going to do this sort of post, I thought I’d just add a wee one with five reasons goal setting can help us.

  1. Ever had all day to do something, but phaffed around not doing it until the last minute. When we don’t tell our brains exactly want they want to do, they find it harder to sit down and get on with something. Setting ourselves a start time/date can work wonders to beat procrastination.
  2. By breaking our goals down into smaller steps, the tasks we lack the confidence to do feel less intimidating and we’re more likely to do them. In doing so, we not only achieve our goals, but become more confident.
  3. In the same vein, some tasks just feel too big for us ever to accomplish. Breaking big projects down into manageable steps can make them feel far more achievable.
  4. If we set a goal then keep avoiding it this can be a good way to recognise we don’t really want to achieve it or have confidence issues relating to it.
  5. Goals setting can help us spot problems and pitfalls before we hit them, so that we can take action to avoid them or so they don’t occur in the first place.

Whilst I believe goal setting can be incredibly useful and important to our achievements, I also believe there are times when it’s better not to set goals.  So to keep the balance, I’ll be posting about that next week. Meantime I’d love to know if you’re a devoted goal setter, a goal setting dabbler or someone who resolutely doesn’t set goals. And if you resolutely don’t set goals, why not?

Bekki Hill

38 thoughts on “Five reasons goals setting can help your creative endeavours

  1. I often find having a date to work to very helpful – I respond well to deadlines. Open ended can find me prevaricating happily for decades 🙂 Also creatively speaking, having someone waiting for something spurs me on. Otherwise I generally don’t goal set at all any more.

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    1. I agree goals can get too ridged and kill creativity. I like the idea that if you’re not working you should be. Most times I think it’s a much better policy to recognise that and have a stern word with yourself than to start getting to tied up in goal setting.

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  2. That is good advice – I am a bit of a rebel at heart, tell me do do anything and I will head off in the opposite direction – but I can see the advantage of your approach. I will bear this in mind as I am feeling a little scattered at the moment. thanks

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    1. Me too, but I’m okay if it’s me that tells me to do it. Not surprised you’re feeling scattered at the moment. I suspect the one foot in front of the other and don’t put any pressure on yourself approach is best right now xx

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  3. I am a perfect match for the first sentence in your first point. Some days it seems the more time I have, the less I do. I don’t have too many time restrictions at the moment so I don’t really have to set inflexible goals or write lists but a bit of ‘goal setting dabbling’ certainly wouldn’t go amiss.

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  4. I tend to dip in and out of setting goals. I have been setting my monthly goals, which have helped me a lot with getting things done BUT there are always things that I don’t manage to get done. Goals definitely make me more productive 🙂

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    1. I goal dip too. As with everything it’s about balance. And I’m sure no goal setter hits all their targets first time round. Nothing wrong with readjusting the goal posts as long as you aren’t using it to hide from what you don’t want to face.

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  5. As a general rule, on a normal daily basis I don’t set goals, just go with the flow 🙂 Unless I have a commissioned piece, then things have to reach certain points on time for a completion date stated by the client. Sometimes it’s good to be able to work with, though, overall, personally I prefer… without 😀

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  6. I like to keep track of my goals in list form, as seeing them ticked off one by one motivates me to keep going. I don’t like working to tight deadlines so tend to plan well ahead which means I can dip in and out of projects as and when I feel like a change.

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  7. With my day job I work best with a deadline looming, it can really focus me. With sewing I do like to write lists and goals but these are always very moveable.
    Breaking down in to steps a big project can help me too. Just a small step each evening like attaching the cuffs can help me work through a project which is beginning to bog me down. I’m currently making a dress and this evening my goal is to interface and on the front button bands. The interfacing is out, the iron is on and I’m distracting myself with the computer……

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    1. 🙂 Hope you got the interface and button band sorted. As I’ve said before I hate working looming deadlines, but know it really motivates a lot of people. But yes, I love baby steps, so good for sneaking up on big projects and building confidence.

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  8. I haven’t been much of a goal setter ever really, but mostly because I tend to over commit and then get really frustrated when I can’t complete the goals I set.
    That said, I’ve been doing a lot of small fitness goals lately, and have been inadvertently setting organizational goals, and it feels *wonderful!!!* when I accomplish them.

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  9. I love deadlines, Bekki, because it makes me get the job done. When left to my own devices, I tend to do an awful lot of what you call ‘phaffing about’. (I’ve never seen it spelt that way before, just with an ‘f’ at the beginning).I’m going through something very similar right now over this third book. I know what I want to write next – and want to get on with it – but keep on finding other things to do, like messing around on WP! Your five goals are certainly thought-provoking. Thank you for that. 🙂

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    1. Hi Millie. Good to hear I’ve thought provoked. Try making an appointment with yourself to work on it – in your diary – treat it just as you would an appointment with say the doctor, you show up on time and do it. Only cancel if you have to and if you do have to cancel remake it immediately. Let me know what happens.

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      1. I will! I’ve already decided that when I come back from Malta (we go next Friday, just for 8 days) my book will take precedence over everything else. WP will take a back seat, and I’ll just keep it ticking over with historical-type posts for a while. I’ll still try to visit other blogs, if I can. Making appointments with myself sounds interesting…

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  10. Career day to day responsibilities – I tend to set goals in order to keep myself focused and to not miss anything important. Creative fun is a bit of an escape from that, though I do write down my ideas, but it is much more fluid and evolves quite naturally from what I am doing. My goals in this respect tend to be more about the amount of time I hope to carve out for the activity.

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  11. Pingback: Nine reasons NOT to set goals for your creative endeavours | The Creativity Cauldron

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