New Year’s Resolutions are not the flavour of the day. We know they last til about Jan 13th when the cake and the sofa become firm friends again. Life coaches and the media have instead told us about goals, but not just normal every-day goals, no, no, no, we need SMART goals. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. We don’t just want to ‘lose weight’, we want to ‘burn off 2 pounds a week until April Fool’s Day’. We don’t want to ‘sort out our finances’, we need to ‘find a way to save £250 a month by talking to a financial advisor before January ends’. And we don’t just want to ‘do the house up’ or even the slightly more poetic ‘make the house a home’. We need to have a clearer idea about what doing the house up actually entails or in fact what home means to you (because we all have a different view on what home means, I can assure you).
There’s a chapter in my book called Dream Space and while there’s a lot to do with bedroom design in it, there’s also a formula that will help you not only set your goals but succeed in them. Of course your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. but there are other factors at play too. Here’s what you need to do:
- Have a clear vision – what we interior designers call a ‘concept’. Create a concept board of images and samples of things you like. Start by putting them in a box file as you see them – tear them out of magazines you read in the doctor’s waiting room. No one’s looking. Then when you have lots that have truly caught your eye, create a board that makes your heart sing. It’s important to know what you want to achieve. This is obvious when it comes to interior design, but this also works for other goals you might have. (Your perfect body, or man, or holiday or career).
- Appreciate that most goals are slightly out of your comfort zone – that’s why you haven’t already got them. So know from the start that you’ll need a bit of oomph. Yes there will be obstacles (a small budget perhaps or your husband’s horrific taste in soft furnishings) and the occasional set back (dry-rot, wet-rot, rotten luck) but you have the guts to overcome them. Remind yourself of this when the hurdles arrive. Be prepared.
- Most goals aren’t achieved alone (or if they are you find you’re rather lonely when you achieve them). You need advice from others. Find friends who are doing what you want to do. Find experts who are desperate to give you their advice (for free – it’s the age of free advice, you know. My website has tonnes of it www.dwell-being.co.uk Make the most of it!)
- All of this will give you some much needed confidence. You need to feel like you can actually achieve the things you want to do. Those are the A = achievable and R = realistic parts of the SMART acronym. There’s a difference between a dream and a goal. Dream first yes. But you need more than a vision board and a few friends to make your goals come true. You need:
- Skills. Of course you do. You can’t decorate a room if you’ve no ability to measure it properly, or pick up a paint brush or choose a rug from the several thousand available on-line and in the shops. You need the skills. Of course you can get someone else to doit all for you, which is ideal for the cash-rich and the time-deprived. But for those without hoards of cash, it’s time to learn some basic design skills. You need the ‘how-to’.
- And finally you actually need to act on your dreams. Interior design doesn’t happen by itself. It requires planning, a real sense of why you are doing what you are doing (to get you through the tricky and rather dusty times) and it requires talent – both your own and that of the team you’ll need to make it happen. You need to act to get this show on the road.
- 1. C= Concept. 2. O= Oomph. 3. A= Advice. 4. C= Confidence. 5. H= How-to. 6. A= Action. COACH A. A smart coach A, no less. This will see your goals become reality.So, there’s a handy acronym that looks simple enough to follow, which is nice, B.U.T… it doesn’t make it easy. You’ve hard work ahead of you. So most important of all is making sure you actually love it. Enjoy what you’re doing. Really – why else would you do it? And if you don’t love it then get some other sap to do it for you!