set smart goals for creative leaders

Set Smart Goals for Profit and Possibility

Goal-setting isn’t just a January thing, for Creative Leaders who want their career and business to flourish in profit and possiblity, goal setting is an on-going practice.

You deserve to have the year you’ve been dreaming about, and this year you’re determined to make it happen, but it’s not going to happen using the same tired list-making strategy you’ve used every other January. At least that doesn’t work for me. And I am a list-maker.

This year, give these four quick steps to setting smarter life and business goals a try and I guarantee you’ll see progress by the start of next quarter.

(3 of my steps only take 15 minutes each, you can spare 45 minutes can’t you?)

Step 1: Take a Focused Look Back

We’ve all had bad break-ups and face-palm-inducing mistakes.

When I owned my graphic design business I agreed to work with a mega BBQ client, she was selling in all the major grocery stores and had big plans for her business, but I agreed to do it WITHOUT a contract because she said “it’s a quick 2-week project that I need done before we do the rebranding.”

That quickie turned into three months and a big blow-out painful conversation regarding time and money on a Saturday night at 8pm when she was on the runway at O’Hare. No bueno.

Maybe you regret spending too much money on e-courses instead of actually doing the work, or maybe you wanted more media coverage after you launched your book, but it didn’t happen. You know where you fell short in your planning and goal-setting, and it sucks, right?

So here are the few easy steps to take for a focused look back:

Easy 15-minute goal: Set a timer for 15 minutes and do a brain dump of everything that didn’t meet your expectations, didn’t happen at all, or left you feeling disappointed. Don’t overthink this 15 minutes, just write what you’re feeling, be messy, and get it all out.

Acknowledge what didn’t work and decide whether it’s a goal you need to drop, or if it’s one you need to rework.

Be honest with yourself. If the true reason you didn’t achieve a goal is that you procrastinated, make that point bold and underline it because you’ll first need to tackle the underlying issue or else every new goal you create this year will end the same way.

Once you’ve taken that focused look back, you’re now ready to truly start fresh and lay the groundwork for goals you’ll succeed at meeting this year.


Step 2: Find Your Feelings

Do you know Danielle LaPorte? You should. She’s not everybody’s jam, but she’s ours. Danielle has a spiritual approach to goal-setting as opposed to the typical corporate definition of S.M.A.R.T. goals.

There’s a reason her methods have caught on like wildfire, and it’s because they work.

Even if you haven’t invested in her book, “Desire Map: Setting Goals with Soul,” which you totally should, the one thing you can start doing today, even without the book, is defining your Core Desired Feelings.

Your Core Desired Feelings are how you want to feel as you live your life and do your work.

Once you’ve centered on those feelings you can define the action steps needed to achieve them.

And once you have the actions, you can then set your goals to make those actions happen.

For example, one of your Core Desired Feelings might be “Rejuvenated.” This could be a feeling that you desire because you’ve been overwhelmed with stress and can’t remember the last time you were in a blissful state with no worries and a calm energy. (Moms everywhere, are you getting this?)

So it would work like this:

  • Core Feeling: Rejuvenate
  • Action Step: Move my body 
  • Goal: Yoga 2x a week


Easy 15-minute goal: Take pen to paper and brain dump feelings that you want to lead within your life. Sure, it would be hard to achieve all of these with how busy we are with our lives, but just imagine how you would feel if you achieved one of these a day? Awesome right?

Here’s a few of our favorites to get you started: Loved, cherished, refreshed, calm, aware, authentic, creative, inspired, bright, joy, happy, introspective, abundant, strong, connected, nourished, peaceful, courageous, daring, empowered and grounded. 


Step 3: Set Your Goal

Now it’s time to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, or even permanent marker to poster board, don’t be afraid to go big, just find a way to get these goals out of your head on to something you can see!

So, let’s keep running with the “Rejuvenated” example. One of the actions you could take to feel more rejuvenated is to spend more time doing absolutely nothing.

The actions surrounding doing absolutely nothing could be taking ten minutes to meditate before you start your workday or setting the rule that your first cup of coffee must be enjoyed while you sit on the porch (sans phone) and solely enjoy all the sounds and smells of morning.

Easy 15-minute goal: Set that timer again and write down:

  • Your top 3 Core Desired Feelings
  • Top 3 action steps
  • Now brain dump your goals, make them real and available to you.

Also, don’t beat yourself up if you skip your yoga class or your coffee quiet time because someone spilled their breakfast everywhere and is running late for school, life happens. Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible with your methods. Continually explore the various habits and actions that work best with your life that aim to achieve your Core Desired Feelings and I know you won’t be left feeling disappointed three or six months from now.

4 easy steps to create SMART goals for creative leaders

Step 4: Make it Visual

When you think of making your goals visual, you might jump to the idea of a vision board. If that’s your thing, go for it.

But, rather than solely using inspirational images and quotes, I also encourage you to make your goals visual in a more tangible way to set yourself up for easy success.

For example, if your goal is to meditate every morning before answering emails, set a recurring timed reminder on your phone for 8:15AM, download a meditation app like Simply Being or Insight Timer.

If you’re looking to fill three appointments or three new clients, create a dry erase board with three open slots waiting to be filled in with a new client’s name.

Too often we set goals on a piece of paper and tuck it away never to be looked at again. By making your goals visual and interactive, you’re not only keeping them at the forefront of your mind, but you’re also transforming the way you act about them.

So, reading this blog post was the easy part, now it’s time to start.

Remember, goal-setting isn’t just a January thing, for creative entrepreneurs looking to see their businesses flourish, it takes continued practice to see your goals fulfilled.






Be Bright Lisa



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