It's halfway through 2018 and time for a goal review. I have big plans for this year, and need to re-evaluate my initial objectives.
Earlier this year, I set myself some goals, and as we approach the middle of the year, I feel like it’s a good time to revisit them. A goal review is a great way to evaluate how you’re tracking. Its easy to lose direction and motivation as the year goes on, and this is a good chance to help keep focus on what’s important. Stopping and reflecting is always healthy. We often do it naturally when aiming to improve our work. They’re called grades, test-results or performance reviews. It gives an insight into what’s working well, what needs more work, and how to balance these things against each other. I personally really enjoy feedback. Harsh criticism not so much, but a helpful and considered evaluation really helps to give my work direction.
This is a long-ish post, because it was really written for me. I’d love your feedback and comments though. Please, grab a cup of tea (or whatever you drink) and help contribute to the direction that I’m traveling.
Completing a goal review
A goal evaluation is my way of giving myself feedback. I’m looking at what I’ve done well, and what I really haven’t achieved at all. Then, I can set some new goals for the final half of 2018. Unlike ‘beginning of the year’ goals, these objectives are used to complete the initial goals. I’m a little bit more targeted with them, and will focus my efforts on different areas.
This goal review will also help to provide motivation to keep going. Winter is setting in and I’m starting to feel a little down and disheartened by everything. But looking at how much I’ve already achieved should help to keep my mind on task. A huge list of goals feels less daunting when you realise that half have already been completed, and the other half are totally do-able.
I’m also forcing myself to set some measurable objectives for the original goals. I don’t want to dismiss what I’ve already done and just move on, I need to keep momentum and build upon those achievements. So much of meeting targets is a mental game.
The initial goals
My original goals from the beginning of 2018 were blog more, expand the shop, have passion projects, improve my social media presence, and grow this website. Some of these I’ve done really well. Some still need improvement. So lets start breaking down each point, and complete the first stage of a goal review.
This is the one I’m most proud of. I’ve really dedicated myself to this goal, because I knew it would feed into all the others. And so far, I’m meeting it. You might have noticed that every Friday between that goals post on February 23 and now, I’ve managed to write a blog. And it doesn’t stop there. I’ve also started sharing code snippets on Monday’s, and design tips and tutorials on Wednesdays. That’s right. I’ve gone from 1 post every 2-3 months to a mostly consistent 3 per week. And I’m proud of this achievement.
I originally stated that once every week or two would be sufficient for this goal. But now I’ve started, it’s slowly getting easier and easier. It’s helping me find my voice, and also helping deliver success into some of the other objectives I aim to meet. Sometimes it feels hard to post this regularly, but I’m not short of topics, and a lot of posts can be pre-written and scheduled for release. So far, I’m totally on task to meet this goal at the end of the year.
Expand the shop
Uggh. Okay. Here is where I’m faltering a little. So far I’ve only added one additional item to my shop, and it was another font. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s way better than nothing at all. But I was hoping to have had some physical goods in there too. I love the tangible aspect to goods like this. Knowing that it was designed and created with care and love, being able to touch and feel the craftsmanship. It’s part of the reason I still buy physical books over e-books.
This is a bigger goal that I anticipated. Past me was all like “suuuuuuure I can just order some things and throw them up on the shop and if they take 5 years to sell they take 5 years to sell”. The reality is, that while this might be true, it’s a lot of work to create physical items like this. And possibly the largest hurdle is myself. Most of my doodles are just that, rough little scribbles on scraps of paper. I really struggle getting to the final piece of art. And this is holding back my ability to create something real.
In an effort to overcome this, I read Art and Fear which I’ve also reviewed in a blog post. And it really didn’t provide me the insight I expected. I need to fundamentally shift the way I think about my art, and even what my art is, to be able to create physical goods. But I’m determined not to give up on this goal. Just change how I approach it.
Have passion projects
I initially stated that this was a bit of a bonus goal. And at this point, if I even start a passion project it’ll be a win. It’s not looking like I’m going to be anywhere even starting to tackle this goal.
The other day when I was agonising over this thought, my boyfriend asked “isn’t your website a passion project?” And I wasn’t sure how to answer that. Because it both is and isn’t. It’s totally my passion, but it’s also something I’m hoping will eventually sustain me financially. And can your job really be your passion? I think that’s a bigger question for another time, but for the purpose of this goal… Sure. Why not?
So I’m putting this goal on indefinite hold. Not because it’s in the too-hard basket, but because, in some ways, I’ve already finished it.
Improve my social media presence
This is another goal that’s progressing slowly. But it is actually progressing. And there are two key factors here. The first is that I’m making regular content to share. The second is that I’m sharing it. And it seems to be paying off.
The content that I’m sharing isn’t what I expected it to be. It’s not design or art based. It’s my blog. By writing regularly, I have something to post on social media regularly. And this has increased my interactions astronomically. The only downside is that I’m not seeing a huge increase in followers, but I suspect this is a larger online issue rather than something specific to me.
Just quickly on sharing things, automation has been my best friend. I have emails, Twitter and Linked In all automatically posting my content as I write it. And that is what is really working for me. It took a considerable amount of time and effort to set up, but now I have everything formatted correctly, my RSS feed is just sending stuff out for people to access. No longer am I mumbling to myself, I’m literally shouting about it in the street. And this in itself has been an amazing achievement for me.
Grow my website
Growth has really been the overarching theme of this years goals. When setting them at the beginning of the year, and in completing the goal review now, it’s obvious to see that everything is working towards this one common aim. I actually try not to focus on this as a specific goal, because it’s the result of success from all my previous goals.
But a quick look at my site analytics (which I spend a lot of time obsessing over) shows a huge spike in regular traffic once I started posting blogs. And all the social analytics show a slow but steady increase in followers and subscribers. It’s not about getting one or two hits, my successful growth is coming from my commitment to the task.
My Updated Goals
After completing the goal review, I took a break, made some tea, then started to form a new set of goals. It’s identical to the old one. And for good reason. My aim for the year hasn’t changed, it’s still growth. My goals within this aim are still to blog more, expand the shop, have passion projects, and improve my social media presence. But the way I plan to meet these goals, as well as how I define successfully meeting them, has changed slightly. And I’m sharing most of them with you, because it’ll create some accountability for myself. Please, feel free to call me out if you feel as though I’m getting off track.
I want to try and stick to my 3 blogs each week schedule. And I’m sure that I have enough content to fulfill this. Honestly, I probably have enough ideas for several years of content, but lets just start with seeing this year out.
I’m going to put something physical in the shop. This is the big one. Yes, I’m going to keep making fonts because I love them and get a little better each time. But I’m dead set on fulfilling the spirit of the original goal have having something real that you can purchase. This goal is really important to me and what I want to do going forward.
I’m dismissing the concept of a passion project. For the next little while at least. Worrying about not making something for me seems so silly when faced with the reality that this entire venture is for me.
I intend to grow my social networks. I’ve already been experimenting will different types of posts on different platforms, and If I can keep posting and sharing things, this goal should take care of itself.
The 2018 Goal Review
This review has been really valuable for me. I’ve actually achieved more in the last 6 months that I have in the last few years. I’ve been consistent and persistent and brave, not words I would normally associate with myself. If you made goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year, I encourage you to also take a moment to conduct a goal review. It’s been really eye opening to see just what I’ve already managed to achieve this year.