Put your ideas into practice this year. LA designer Jessica Comingore shares her top five tips on how to turn creative goals into reality. And PS: we're teaming up this month with Jessica on Pinterest with a special #UOGoals board dedicated to continued goal setting—follow along here to see the ideas and creative goal setting techniques that are inspiring Jessica all month long.
Photos by Laure Joliet
1. Break long-term goals into multiple short-term goals.
A lofty goal at the top of your to-do list can often feel too daunting to even take a crack at it. We’ve all been there, when you re-write that one task over and over again every morning until somehow a year has passed and you haven’t seemed to make a dent. Instead of feeling paralyzed by one huge idea, take an afternoon to sit down with it and map out all the small steps it will take to get there. And when I say small, I mean really small. Take, for example, launching a new business. Before you can start thinking about hitting publish on a website, you have to nail down your concept, create a business plan, develop a brand identity, research your market, produce your offerings, etc. Nothing truly rewarding ever happens overnight, but if you keep your eyes on the end result and carve away a little bit every day, one day you’ll wake up and realize you did it.
2. Visualize it.
At the beginning of every project, I make a point to close my laptop and take pen to paper (or sometimes, marker to white board) to write out all of the ideas that are floating around in my head. Once they’re written down, you can start to make sense of the big picture and piece together the elements that work and don’t work. I think most of us are very visual beings, and when you can envision a concept instead of just thinking about it, it becomes very powerful. That clarity can really help guide your process moving forward.
3. Get collaborative.
For the longest time, I preferred to work in solitude, tackling my to-do list solo and, more often than not, feeling completely overwhelmed. It wasn’t until this past year that I began to explore the idea of collaborating and delegating, and I can only say I wish I’d started sooner. Being an introvert, it comes naturally for me to turn inward to tap my creativity and get my work done, though nothing quite compares to the power of another brain and another set of hands on a project. If you don’t have anyone working for you, this can be accomplished just as easily with a friend or colleague that you can trust to give you honest feedback and bounce ideas off of when you’re in the brainstorming stage.
4. Think outside of the box.
I can’t stress enough the power of getting away from the computer when it comes to finding inspiration for a project or seeking perspective on a goal. I find that my best ideas strike when I’m on a hike, driving out of town, or exploring landscapes that are unknown to me. It doesn’t necessarily have to be specific to getting out in nature; you can also just turn to a different medium to draw from a source that isn’t quite as fleeting (an afternoon at the library does wonders). The internet can be an amazing source of information and connectivity, but I think it’s important to remember that your best ideas blossom from within.
Above: Desk supplies by Poppin
5. Celebrate the small victories and learn from the setbacks.
On the path to every large goal, you will inevitably hit road blocks. It’s important to know that these are simply part of the process, and not necessarily a sign to stop and turn around. Working through the day-to-day challenges will make the end result all the more rewarding, and in the same regard, don’t forget to celebrate the small victories along the way too. Reaching a lofty goal is no small feat, but with a lot of determination and a solid support system, it is completely attainable.