Five on Design  |  Episode 102  |  December 25, 2018

Resolutions for Designers

It’s that time of year again, when we all sit back and reflect on how the year went for us. Hopefully this year, has been a wonderful year for you. I hope as a listener of the show that you’ve succeeded in any goals that you set this year and that you saw amazing improvement in your work.

For me, that’s certainly been the case. I’ve changed a lot about how I approach my work or run my business on the side. At the same time, I’m also looking ahead to the new year and thinking about the new changes I want to make.

However, making resolutions that start on January 1 come with a bit of pressure. If you’re like me, by January 20, you want to take a break and you’ve pretty much lost all of your motivation.

As a result, I’m not starting my goals or resolutions on January 1 this year. Instead, I’m starting them in February. I prefer this for two reasons. One, there’s way less pressure. February has 28 days instead of 31 and its easier to check off your first month when it’s shorter. Two, its easier to fly under the radar when the world has moved on from making resolutions.

If you’re going to set a goal for the new year and actually stick to it, make sure the goal your setting is measurable.

Case in point, one of my goals last year was starting this podcast. I knew I wanted to stay to a specific schedule. Creating and releasing two episodes per week was an easy metric. I’m happy to say that I’ve actually succeeded at that. I knew that there was certain actions that had to take every single week to make sure that I hit that goal.

It took a little bit of work. Yes, there are times when it feels like it’s a bit of a job as well. But knowing that I was able to do something every week towards that goal helped.

Another thing that helped was not biting off more than I can chew.

Continuing using this show as an example, I didn’t expect to create a high production show out of the gate. I realized I had to make it simple enough to the point where I had no excuse to sit down and do it every week.

It’s part of the reason why it’s five minutes long. I try to pack a lot into that five minutes! It also makes it easy to record the show, transcribe it, put it in an email, and do all the other work around that.

Had the show been an hour long, twice a week, I would have given up on it. If I was expecting myself to find co-hosts or interviews, I would have given up on it. I made something that was easy enough to stick through, even when I was looking for every single excuse not to do something.

Building off existing talents also helps, too.

I know for some things, resolutions need to start from that square one. But one of the things that helped me was I knew about design. I knew about podcasting from previous shows that I’ve done. I was able to leverage that knowledge and not have to start from square one. Sometimes half the battle is knowing where to start and it’s where having past experience can really help.

You can use that to know that you need to start up a website, look at an online course or get some new software. Part of the reason I like talking about resolutions first, is it allows some time for research. You’ll get a good idea of what’s out there and can make some time to learn it before jumping in.

If you’re looking to join an online course, you can get a feel for what teaching methods work best for you. No matter what, poke around and see what resonates with you!

At the end of the day. I know resolutions can be intimidating. For some people that can be downright nerve wracking. But what I’ve realized is that resolutions don’t have to be these huge interruptions. 

It doesn’t just apply to design, but life goals, too. By setting simple, measurable and attainable goals that we can achieve, we’re more likely to stick with them. When we do, it’s crazy how awesome the feeling of accomplishment is when you reach those goals. All of a sudden, the next goal looks a little bit easier to reach.