Setting your goals – An introduction

by | Jul 31, 2018 | 0 comments

With Tuesday being the new Monday this week, after the Creative Entrepreneurs Summer School I needed a break (not that I really got one as yesterday wasn’t the best day I’ve had, still that’s part of running your own business you have to take the rough with the smooth) today its back to normal. One thing that came out of the weekend was the need to set goals, to plan, set tasks, deadlines and evaluation metrics, both quantitative and qualitative, to measure if you have reached your goals or not.

This week i’ll be doing more work around setting my own goals and timelines. But firstly why are setting goals important? Well without having a defined outcome we can’t build a plan to get there.  But not only that we if we don’t set goals we have no idea if we have reached our goals or not as we can’t set metrics on something that we have or cannot quantify.

However, there is no point in just writing down something as a goal, no your goals need to be what is termed SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Specific in that you need to specify as accurately and succinctly as possible what its is you are going to achieve. A goal that you will be able to measure, both quantitatively and qualitatively to see if you have attained your goal or give you accurate feedback during the duration of the goal on what you need to do to change your plan to reach your goal. The goal also needs to be realistic in that you can actually attain your goal, there is no point in making a goal that is so out of the realm of being possible to achieve as this means you will never attain it.  Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t think big but that big idea needs to be reachable. It should also be relevant to you, you are setting goals that you will achieve and not someone else.  Even if you are putting together a project plan or a project timetable then the tasks associated with that project need to be relevant to that project and finally the most critical one, the goal needs to have a deadline as to when it will be finished.  An open end goal does not give you enough focus, its far too easy to let the time slip and so the mind says, ‘ah you know what, we never set a date anyhow so it’s fine!’ – well it’s not.

What i’d like to do to highlight this even more over the course of the week is to look at where you want to be in 1 year’s time. The next part of this little series will look at visioning the future, by drawing it.  This might sound a bit strange when you think that we are looking at goals but there is a reason for this because if you think about it, my vision for my future in 1 year is pretty SMART in the context of goals.

Specific – in that what i draw will be the future I want
Measurable – I can see in 365 days if I reached it – or during the next 365 days I can see if i need to change anything to give me the best possible opportunity to reach my goal
Attainable – i need to make sure that my vision is something that I can get to – otherwise what is the point to putting it there.  If I want to fly to Mars by the end of 1 year then there are a few things that would stop me – no planned missions, no qualifications as an Astronaut (and more importantly no way in 1 year could I get those qualifications even if I had the opportunity to).  Therefore my goal needs to be attainable.
Relevant – to coin that wonderful lyric “it’s my life!” so of course it’s relevant.  It’s where I want to be in 1 year!
Time-bound – we have a vision that needs to be completed 1 year, or 365 days, or 8760 hours into the future so it’s pretty time-bound.

Thus as well as writing about goals this week I’ll be setting some of my own and making a commitment to keep to them. Do you want to join me in setting some goals for yourself? Let’s start by identifying one goal you need to achieve and by when.


Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban

Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn’t make sense, but he’s never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window — and encourages us to think harder about what we’re really procrastinating on, before we run out of time. For more from Tim Urban, visit Wait But Why:

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Ian Oliver

Ian Oliver

Head of Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship



Building change for Sustainable Creative Careers

Ian has over 15 years’ senior management and entrepreneurial experience in the Arts, creative and technology Sectors and 4 years’ experience working with Local Government, Local Enterprise Offices, Local Arts Offices, Arts Organisations and Venues, Universities, Businesses and Community Groups throughout Ireland, auditing and engaging the artistic and creative community within specific geographic regions.

Currently Ian is working on advising and designing sustainable projects that utilise art and creativity as the main driver to effect sustainable economic and social change.  He also teaches and mentors artistic and creative entrepreneurship training to adult learners and undergraduate students.

Ian’s experience includes developing and implementing business / career / marketing strategies, marketing, business development, digital media, digital content creation, communications, project management, developing business, marketing and digital media strategies and implementation, project development, management and budgeting, resource management, team development and cohesion, training and training distribution methods for clients, staff and stakeholders.

Ian regularly gives papers on Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship including:

  • What is Creative Entrepreneurship, Trans National Creative Exchange, Solent University Southampton, October 2015;
  • The Role of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Developing Talent and Opportunities, Slovak Government as part of their EU Presidency, Bratislava, September 2016;
  • Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts, 20th Anniversary Conference, University of Pécs, Hungary, November 2016;
  • Developing a Creative Model Canvas, 3E Conference, Cork, May 2017.

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