As I’ve mentioned in the past, I place a lot of value in living in a creative life.
I think it’s imperative that we find creative ways to express our thoughts, experiences, and feelings. Not only does it help us step back from the chaos and stress in our lives, but it also boosts joy and promotes a general feeling of contentment.
Plus, it’s fun!
Keeping that in mind, however, it’s sometimes hard to incorporate creativity in our day to day lives. And in fact, when I wrote my post, How to Live a Creative Life, many of you said just that. You want to exercise your creativity more often, but for various reasons, it’s just not happening.
After hearing about your challenges, I found myself returning to the idea of goals. I started asking: How can we set creativity goals that inspire us to create regularly? What are some actionable steps we can take?
Inspired, I decided to answer those very questions for part three of our goal setting challenge. Are you ready?
Then, let’s do this!
How To Set And Reach Your Creativity Goals
When we explored the topic of setting career goals last week, we looked at it through the S.M.A.R.T. approach. As a quick reminder, S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for:
Be specific about your goal; what exactly do you want to achieve?
How will you know when you achieved the goal?
Thinking realistically about your situation, your current skill set, and the resources available; is this goal achievable?
Why is this goal important to you and your life?
When do you want to achieve this goal?
As we begin our investigation of setting creativity goals, we will maintain the S.M.A.R.T. guidelines, but we’ll think about them in a slightly different way. And that is through the lens of “outcome goals” and “process goals.”
Two Types of Goals
When you step back, you’ll find that there are two general types of goals: outcome goals and process goals.
An outcome goal is generally a single, binary goal. You win or you lose. You’re the best or you’re not. You accomplish the goal or you don’t.
Some examples of outcome goals might include: winning the game, losing 20 pounds, finishing a book in one week, making $100,000 of sales in April etc.
A process goal, on the other hand, looks at the process of getting to that larger objective. A process goal is made up of mini, repetitive goals, which are almost like habits.
This means, rather than focusing entirely on your outcome goal of, “lose 20 pounds,” you might shift to the process goal of, “don’t eat more than 1800 calories each day.” Rather than focusing on your outcome goal of “finish a book in one week,” you would focus on your process goal of “read 35 pages per day.”
You’ll notice that we’re not abandoning the bigger outcome goal. We are, however, shifting our focus to the process goals, which ultimately help us achieve our objective quicker.
Process and Creativity Goals
So, why should we focus on the process approach for setting our creativity goals?
Simply put, it’s much more manageable.
Generally, when we focus solely on outcome goals, we tend to get overwhelmed. And when we’re overwhelmed with a creative project – something that often demands additional time from us anyway – it’s easy to throw in the towel.
If we want to write a book, for example, and we set our goal to “finish book by June 1,” we could very easily get discouraged when we don’t see immediate progress.
If we set a process goal to write 1,000 words per day, however, we’re still working toward that larger objective, but the process feels much more tangible. It is something we can check off the list each day. What’s more, we feel a sense of accomplishment each time we complete the process, and that accomplishment further fuels our motivation.
Similarly, if you’re a pianist, rather than focusing only on your outcome goal to play Chopin’s “Nocturne in Eb Major,” hone in on the process goal and dedicate 30-60 minutes of piano practice each day.
If you’re learning to crochet, rather than focusing on finishing your first baby blanket, commit to a process goal of crocheting for 30 minutes each evening after dinner.
Essentially, working toward a process goal is like establishing a habit. It is a small, manageable task that you can tackle with regularity. And by repeating that process goal with consistency, you can reach your end objective with less frustration and greater success.
So are you excited to start creating? Great!
As you consider your creativity goals, follow these 5 simple steps:
- Using the S.M.A.R.T. method, think about your outcome goal. Ask yourself, “is this outcome goal specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely?”
- After establishing your outcome goal, shift your focus. It’s now time to focus on the process. Ask yourself, “what small step(s) can I do regularly to help me reach my final objective?”
- Once you decide on your process goal(s), schedule them consistently throughout the week.
- Track your process with a habit tracker. This will help keep you accountable and consistent.
- Celebrate your wins both big and small, and reach your outcome goal with ease.
Do you struggle with forming or keeping good habits? Be sure to check out my post The #1 Strategy to Keep Good Habits. Then, download my FREE 24-page habit tracker to keep you focused, consistent, and accountable. You’ll reach your creativity goals with ease.
Check out the other sections of our Goal Setting Series:
What are your creativity goals? Do you have favorite strategies for keeping goals? What do you struggle with when working toward goals or forming habits? Let me know below!