Planning for the New Year – Keep it Simple by Reusing your Habits and Systems from Last Year

Planning for The New Year

Several years back it used to take me many weeks to plan for the upcoming year. The result of that process was very detailed goals.

I did have a very successful year that year, but I feel I over planned and it detracted from my creative time.

Now days I got with a much simpler process.  I spend about 2 hours setting up my new goals and writing out a brief outline of the new projects I want to accomplish over the course of the year.

I then get back to making art and teaching my workshops.

Planning is no longer a big disruptive event.

Reusing Goals – They’re Systems!

How? I leverage the work I did that crazy year of over planning.  That year I separated into 2 different categories: habits/systems and new projects.  I also created a spreadsheet to track my progress with my goals.  I put a lot of work into making sense of what I wanted from my art career.

Okay – I didn’t over plan that year. I retract that statement.

I put in the time to create a system of goals that can be reused year after year, which makes my planning much simpler now.

Systems / Habits vs New Projects

What are habits and systems?  I think of art business habits and systems like washing dishes or doing laundry. Only a lot more fun.

Essentially these are things that you do and then you have to do them all over again some time later. The project doesn’t end because these are things to be done over and over and over again.

Like blogging, writing a studio newsletter and staying in touch with collectors.

New projects are things like specific art exhibits or creating new workshops to teach. These goals have an end date. The exhibit is over, the book is written, the class is created (and now there is a new system to teach it year after year).

Maintaining and Growing

I’ve found that dividing my goals into these two different categories has made my art business a snap to stay on top of.

Every week I look at my list of systems and make sure I’m staying on top of the recurring tasks. I also select small chunks from the big projects and work on them.

In this way I am both maintaining and growing my career.


Wrap Up

Think big and plan for a fabulous year. Have you set your goals for the coming year? What tips do you have?

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook where I share additional tips and comments about thinking big about your art.



8 thoughts on “Planning for the New Year – Keep it Simple by Reusing your Habits and Systems from Last Year

    1. Lisa Call

      Thanks Barbara – I love simplicity. Anything that frees up my energy for creating art is in my plus column!


  1. Chris

    Good advice Lisa, I find when goals are written down, mapped out, etc you keep them in sight and have a better chance of reaching most of all of your goals. I also think keeping track of what worked and didn’t work while trying to attain said goals is helpful, you hopefully won’t make the same mistake 2x. Goal seeting is critical! Thanks Chris

    1. Lisa Call


      This is a really good point. Review goals periodically is key to staying on track with them. Setting goals and then shoving them away for a year isn’t likely to lead to success. We need to keep the goals fresh and remind ourselves of our intention and guide ourselves to completion.

      I’m a big proponent of monthly retrospectives – what worked, what didn’t work, what do I change – are the main questions to ask to keep headed down the right path.


  2. Pingback: Empowering Artists to Think Big About their Art their Marketing and their Lives

    1. Lisa Call

      What a fabulous song you picked for the year.

      Two thumbs up on your plan for 2012!


  3. Pingback: My Goals for 2013 – With a Peek into Why and How I Came up with Them

Comments are closed.