KATRINA WARD
New Zealand Artist, Textile Designer & Educator

Journal

Big things, small beginnings - tips for setting a 100 day goal

Have you ever dreamed of doing something big but felt a little too small to achieve it? Or trapped? Or somehow as if you don't even know where to begin? Yes? 

Me too. 

I have a passion for designing textiles and making art butI also have a passion for being with my family. Squished onto the same scale is also the big job of working full time and ALSO being passionate about that. So what do you do when you have a goal but you already feel so stretched?  

Here's my tip. You break it down. 

I'm really into 100 day challenges. I'm doing another one now because so far each one has taken me in an unexpected direction. They have worked out to be clarifying paths that allow me to drive my life towards a goal without the goal taking over. And because you only need to do something small every day, it is actually manageable. The goal will also shift over the 100 days and will probably become something closer to what your heart was truly after in the first place. 

What was my goal? To catalogue my textile designs for easy review. 

How did I do it? I 'literally' shrunk it down and made my textiles in miniature. 

I armed myself with an imaginary shrink ray gun (and a big vision) and distilled my designs down to a 'little' wallpaper catalogue. And over 100 days I loaded 100 of my wallpaper designs in miniature to my etsy store.  

Why miniature? Firstly the cost of printing 100 rolls of wallpaper would be enough to make my bank account break, secondly I don't have the time to photograph all those rooms in real life and thirdly, little spaces are actually really charming! I broke my goal down and made my goal fit my lifestyle, my time and my family commitments! I don't even have to leave my studio to rush to the post office because all of my 100 designs can be downloaded and printed at home. THIS is what I love the internet is for! 

In truth, even the Monstera plant is digital, but how awesome is it that you can realise a design or decor idea digitally without even getting out the wallpaper glue?

In truth, even the Monstera plant is digital, but how awesome is it that you can realise a design or decor idea digitally without even getting out the wallpaper glue?

Whoop! 

What did I learn about goal setting? Sometimes you have to rethink a problem to make it manageable. Even something seemingly manageable, literally teeny and small (like 'just' rescaling a design to dollhouse size and making a PDF file every day) can actually be a big commitment. Even  choosing my top 100 designs to upload was a really interesting task that I didn't expect to be so difficult. This 'do it every day' goal helped me to clarify what I like (and don't like) about my previous work/s and has even set me up to purge some of my patterns and simplify and refine my artist practice. One thing that surprised me the most was learning just how versatile a little printable file can be and I've been surprised to find out that my designs have been bought for wedding invitations, scrapbooking projects, book coverings as well as being used as dollhouse décor in miniature dollhouse renovations. 

Five quick tips for goal setting: 

  1. Choose something that has a big-picture result

  2. Design more than 100 tiny tasks as iterative steps to help you to get there 

  3. Keep a reward diary to track your progress 

  4. Share your goal with someone you love or join a goal community to help to keep you on track

  5. Reflect on what is changing about your goal/vision along the way 

If you are like me and love making things or want to make your life better one little day at a time, then maybe you should give a 100 day goal a try too? It can be habit forming, refine your ideas, clarify a big personal or career vision and help you to connect with like-minded go-getters and goal-setters too!

The last 100 day challenge has given me a direction for how I might best showcase my textile designs when I am so poor on time, it has helped to cement my draw-every-day life habit and it has clarified my best next steps in terms of what I want to draw for my portfolio next. There's nothing like a bit of reflection and retrospective sorting is there? 

Want to see more? Head to my etsy store and you can get a quick look at some of my favourite prints.  

Where to next? Well, I've realised just how prolific I've been in designing these last few years so it's time to slow down a bit and take my time to work through some new ideas. Watch this space! I'm excited about this next process but you might just have to wait another 100 days to see the results... 

I'd love to know what 'big thing' you have planned. Please leave a comment and tell me below!

Meanwhile, here's some handy links if you are keen to start your own challenge through the same channels I have: 

The Business Bakery  I love Julia Bickerstaff and find the supportive Facebook page so inspiring.

An article on Habit Stacking because we are what we repeatedly do.

Mindtools for setting a smart goal

My KW VIP Facebook Group where you can follow some sneak peeks from behind the scenes and even be the first to find out about market specials.

Woo Hoo still here? Thanks for reading.