So, I actually started writing this post at the beginning on January, with the full intention of posting it then when all of the new year goal setting had started; but if I’m completely honest, I felt a bit overwhelmed with the ‘must set huge massive goals for myself’ notion, that I got halfway through and never actually finished it. I feel like January is such a strange time of year and I kind of wanted to get settled into it before really deciding what my goals for this year and beyond would be. This is all so new to me still so I have now realised that although it is good to think big and have ambitious goals, smaller goals are okay too.
So now, I felt was an apt time to finally post this, as I’m feeling more settled into the year and also it is my six month “anniversary” since registering as self-employed!
I’m not going to lie, I already feel as if I’m in 2020 and have just skipped 2019 all together. The latter part of 2018 was such a busy time and honestly, everything from May onwards has been such a blur. 2018 was probably one of the biggest year of my life so far. Graduating from uni, winning a design award with two of my pals, turning 21 and going freelance - it’s been a pretty big year. It’s also been a hard year, lots of steep learning curves and lots of stress. I would not change a thing about it though.
Having had some time now to reflect on last year (and also fill in my amazing journal from Project Love!), I have been thinking about where I want to be both in my life and in work this time in another year. I do find it difficult to visualise where I would like to be in a years time. So many unexpected things have happened this year, I feel as if I can’t possibly imagine what could have changed again in another year. I just hope to be lucky enough to carry on doing what I love and helping other people whilst doing it - I just love the community and supportive network this job provides.
Whilst filling in my Project Love journal and setting goals for this year, I noticed the same things coming up over and over again. When I found myself writing the same things down over again, I started to feel like I should have bigger or ‘better’ goals for myself and that I should be thinking of more profound and “out there” aims for this year. But then I realised that my goals both in life and in work are actually quite simple, and the fact that I was writing a lot of the same things down must mean that they are the things that I really want out of life.
I thought that I would share a few of my aims for the rest of this year (because then maybe if I share them, I am more likely to do them!?)
1. To keep learning
Despite being glad to have finished my degree, and A-Levels and GCSE’s and basically constantly being tested from the ripe old age of 4, I actually love learning. I always secretly loved a planner full of homework at school, or having a long essay to write and think I will miss the structure of that a little bit. Whilst a lot of people were dreading having to write their dissertations, I enjoyed doing it and was a little bit sad that that was the last essay I would ever have to write.
For this reason, I have made it not just my new year, but life resolution to keep on learning. Here are some of the ways that I plan on doing this:
Listening to podcasts - an absolute favourite pastime of mine at the moment. I love just getting lost in a good podcast. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading but at the moment with so much going on, I find it much easier to get through lots of podcasts than I do to read a book. I find them so motivational, and if I’m ever feeling in a slump (both creative or otherwise) I know I can count on a podcast to pick me back up again.
Some of my favourites: She can. She did. with Fiona Grayson (of course!), Ctrl Alt Delete with Emma Gannon, Starting the Conversation with Alice Benham, The Deliciously Ella podcast, Happy Place with Fearne Cotton, and Grow with Soul with Kayte Ferris. There are so so many more that I LOVE but it would take up the whole page!
Reading the news - because knowing what’s going on in the world is always a good thing.
Read more - I LOVE reading and always forget how much I do when I’m having a bit of a dry reading patch, but I want to try and read a book every couple of months throughout this year. Whether it’s a good old fashioned story, or a motivational business book, I definitely want to up my book count for this year.
Some of the best books that I’ve read recently:
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Three Things about Elise by Joanna Canon
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
Playing Big by Tara Mohr
To do more courses - I have done a few online courses on FutureLearn and Skillshare over the years and have found them so so useful and informative. I really like expanding my skillset, especially being in a creative job, so I find these such easy and accessible ways to add to this. If I’m ever having a quieter patch work-wise I want to make sure that I make the most of my time by getting better at things and keep learning new skills in order to make my work better.
2. To meet new people and go to new places
I have met some brilliant and really inspiring people in the past year which has been invaluable in helping me to find my feet since going freelance. One of the main reasons I love being a designer is because it is all about people and helping them to grow their businesses, and am excited for this year and continuing to meet new people and work with new clients.
One thing I have learnt so far is that sometimes it is the most random and unexpected opportunities that often lead to some of the most interesting and exciting projects. I can’t wait this year to meet some new people and embark on new adventures both in life and in work. I think this kind of comes under the ‘keep learning’ goal as well, as there is so much to be learnt from other people, especially those more experienced than me. As part of meeting new people this year, I would love to collaborate with other creatives on projects. Being freelance can be lonely at times and would love to skill share more and work alongside some other creative businesses.
As well as meeting new people, I can’t wait to hopefully go to some new places this year too. I love travelling and having new experiences so am going to make it a goal this year to go to plenty of new places, again, both in life and work. I also find travelling a huge source of design inspiration too, I love both Scandinavian and Italian design and always have my eyes peeled when on holiday for beautiful lettering, street signs and anything else I can drawn inspiration from.
3. To stay creative
It is so so important to me to ensure that I always stay creative. I really believe that, for me, my best work comes from a place where I am constantly inspired by what’s going on around me, whether that’s my immediate environment, or what’s going on on a larger-scale. Part of the reason that I became a designer was so that I could express my creativity and (hopefully) make a job out of it. Ironically, I didn’t take this path to be sat at a desk all day, although this is the reality of it sometimes, so I think that it’s really important to keep sourcing new inspiration from the people, places and things around me so that I don’t ever get stuck in a rut of creative block for too long.
Ways I stay creative:
I have found that the best ways for me to stay creative when I might be feeling in a bit of a slump are:
Go for a walk. Literally being in the world around us almost instantly sparks me with new inspiration. You literally never know what you might see or hear that gives you an idea.
Read a book. My shelves in my flat are literally bursting with design books that I’ve collated over the last few years. At uni, whenever we would have lectures/talks from designers or agencies, if they had a book, I would buy it. Sometimes I’d literally be on amazon in the lecture hall ordering their book with next day delivery. This never fails to bring inspiration when its dwindling.
Do something completely different. Sometimes this is the best option for me. Staring at a screen all day when you are not feeling inspired definitely isn’t the best way forward, so sometimes I just have to accept that it is no longer productive and take a step away from the Mac. Often my best ideas will come randomly at 3 in the morning, or when I’m in the shower, or taking the bin out.
I hope that helped somewhat, and I just wanted to share some of the things that I’ve found useful over the past six months, as well as some of the goals that I have for this year and beyond. I also, however, think that it’s important not to be too strict with these goals, as so much can change in such a short space of time, and I always want to be open to that fact (but with some kind of vague idea of the general direction I’m going in!)
Happy New Year, Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy Easter and Happy 18th of February!