6 Essential Goal Setting Tricks to Enhance Your Creative Flow

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Are you ready to take your artistic prowess to the next level? Keep reading to learn how to cultivate the right goal setting skills to take real, concrete, actionable steps towards the magnum opus you always dreamed of.

Begin with a mission statement.

Your mission statement is your lifetime achievement goal. Beginning with a mission statement is crucial because you can’t set goals if you don’t know what you are trying to accomplish in the first place. Your mission statement should set a firm foundation for everything you do afterwards. It should contain two parts: what you intend to do and why.

An example could be:

I intend to become a noted figure in the field of photography. This is my passion because presenting the world with my personal vision of humanity’s gifts fills me with joy and peace.

Notice how this statement says, ‘I intend’ rather than ‘I want’ or ‘I desire.’ This is a simple use of language that enforces personal power over passive longing. It implies a serious and confident determination in the accomplishment of the action. It is followed by a powerful ‘why’ statement that reinforces the reason for the action. Feel free to utilize this mission statement as a template or create one that is entirely your own.

Utilize effective tools.

Tools are crucial to organizing your goals. Keeping things unorganized on paper, or worse, completely in your head does not work. I repeat: KEEPING THINGS IN YOUR HEAD DOES NOT WORK. Here are some great options you can try:

  • Google Calendar is incredible because you can keep multiple calendars for different categories in your life. They are color coded and each calendar only appears when you select it. It will also send you alerts so you can be reminded of things you need to do, should you opt for that.
  • Agenda is a free and simple app that manages your tasks in multiple categorized lists that can sync to your calendar. If you are a multitasker, like me, and have multiple jobs and/or multiple passion projects going on at the same time, this app is the way to go because it categorizes things in an intuitive way.
  • Notebooks and planners work well for those that prefer a more personalized approach. Sometimes the act of writing things down with an ~actual~ pen can solidify ideas in a way technology cannot.
  • Daily lists are crucial for organizing your day. It’s difficult to stay present in how you’re actually spending your day if you don’t have a plan. Plus, the act of crossing things off a list can be a huge motivator for some.
  • Daily journals are a great way to check in with yourself. You can use it to record ideas or feelings, and monitor your progress every step of the way.
  • Poster boards or white boards are amazing tools because you can keep them constantly in your line of sight. This serves as a consistent physical cue to orient your brain towards productive activity. This is a particularly good choice if you are attempting to break bad habits and form better ones.

You can use any or all of these options. I highly recommend you set aside some time to have a “goal day” where you can just go ham with these tools. You can do it with friends. Use stickers, highlighters, markers, images, etc. Make a collage. Make a vision board. Find a bunch of random stuff that inspires you. This doesn’t have to be boring. You can actually use goal-setting to get back in touch with your inner child by adding that creative flair you crave.

Okay, so you’ve gathered all the tools you need. What’s next?

Make a Goal Timeline

A goal timeline is exactly what it sounds like. You lay out what you intend to accomplish based on where you want to be in the future.

You can break your goal timeline into daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and five-year goals. This way, you can track your own progress in manageable chunks and organize major achievements. For example, a weekly goal could be to have one painting finished and a yearly goal could be to showcase a gallery.


SMART goals are the single-most popular goal-setting system among successful people. It uses an acronym to break down goals into really detailed steps using the following:

Specific- Your goal shouldn’t be too vague. It should be detailed enough for you to be absolutely clear on what it is you are doing. Using who/what/when/where/why/how are good questions to formulate for this step.

Measurable- Think quantitative factors. How much money do you want to make? How many short stories do you want to write and by when? Additionally, measure it by then asking yourself how you know when you’ve achieved your goal. What does that look that?

Achievable- This step is to make sure you are realistic and earth-bound in your goal-setting. If you set the bar too high, you will feel unmotivated in achieving it. You want to challenge yourself, but you also want to make your goals something you can really do.

Relevant- Is this relevant to your mission statement? How? Are there any components that do not realistically fit the scope of what you really want or need?

Timely- Having no timeframe to achieve your goals is like having a goal-post that keeps moving when you kick the ball. Set deadlines for yourself and stick to them.

Goal Wheel

Goal wheels can be split into various categories such as business, creative passions, family, and spirituality. Whatever works for you! They can also be more specialized, such as music theory, guitar practice, songwriting, and production. I like to pick anywhere from 5–7 categories and fill in my goal wheels with different colors, but it’s really up to you and how you want it to look. After you fill in your color wheel, the shaded areas make up the areas that you are confident in and the white areas are the things you want to work on. From there, you can make a list of goals for each category to help you ultimately fill your wheel.

Filling in the first ring of a section ranks it as 1, which means you are very unsatisfied in that category. Filling in all 5 rings indicates the highest satisfaction in that catetogory.

Here is an example of a goal wheel before it’s filled out.

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Here is my personal goal wheel for this quarter.

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Again, fill out the goal wheel in a way that best reflects your reality, with the intention of taking steps to make all categories a level 5. Then, you can set goals based on the blank areas.

According to this wheel, I should set the majority of my goals towards family, health, personal passions, and business.

Put it all together

Now that you have your timeline, your SMART plan, and your goal wheel, you can put them all together in a grand plan. The goal wheel can help you narrow your categories for your SMART plan, which you can apply to your timeline. You can section categories or make everything one large category. However you do it, the important thing is that it aligns with your mission statement! Remember, your mission statement is the foundation that keeps all these goals together.

Things to keep in mind:

  • These tools are designed to motivate you. They shouldn’t be too daunting. It can be overwhelming for some people when they look at everything at once. It is inspiring for others. So, do what makes you comfortable and happy. If you get ahead of yourself, remember to slow down and take things one at a time.
  • Keep your goals where you can see them. Out of sight really is out of mind. You will be reminded of what your goals are if you see them as often as possible.
  • Make a list of things you are grateful for somewhere in your goal plan. This keeps you reminded of how far you’ve come.
  • Accountability is important. If you make a grand plan and then fall off, you are not helping yourself succeed. Keep checklists. Keep reminders. Get creative with ways in which you can keep yourself accountable.

This is A LOT of information all at once and you’re not necessarily going to know what you’re doing right away, so give yourself permission to be messy. Screw up, completely change your mission statement twenty times, re-write your entire plan, find out what works and what needs to be changed. Basically, LEARN YOURSELF. This is a process. Nothing in this life is final or perfect!

If you have anything you’d like to ask, contribute, or discuss, shoot me an email or leave a comment. Nine Muse is updated every Monday and Friday. Until then, align with your true selves and take control of your expression, Creators.

Originally published at nine-muse.com on October 9, 2018.

Holistic Wellness & Cannabis Copywriter

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