How to set Goals this Year… (and Actually Achieve Them)

Ni hao!

Got plans for the New Year?

Everyone does, but we rarely commit to them. It’s easy to wish for something, but without a proper alignment to get there, your project success rate will have the volatility you didn’t want.

Yet… in some archaic sense, sometimes it’s way easier to achieve things when you don’t have goals set in stone. I never expected to become one of the top 20 marketplace sellers in Artstation, but the Recap feature insisted it was true, statistically speaking, which makes it like, a scientific fact, (neat) and definitely, not twice in a row during the past couple of years that I’ve had my store open. But it did happen anyway. Why?

We’ll be diving deeper into this, by outlining a few techniques to plan your planning. To make sure you’re sticking to a schedule, and getting results that are necessary to reaching your goals.

1. Recap. What is the total sum of everything that we know, that can help solve this problem at hand?

What if the problem wasn’t the plan, but you just wanted some help with actually creating and crafting your plan?

I believe the reason why some of my tutorials on Visual Theory and Level Design have performed the best, to be because people who buy them, don’t have to think much about the content and planning phase.

The base is done for them to use, all they have to do is apply the knowledge acquired and transmute it into knowledge applied.

To filter the tasks that come to us through the day for a project in specific, we can use the The OKR system for goal setting and planning.

The OKR is a framework conceived by Andrew Grove, which became popular after his tenure at Intel Corporation. He had documented how to get things done, and how to get results along the ride. This ensures you’re working on the right things and the things you’re working on today, are related to your long-term goals. In the digital world of today’s landscape, be it real or cyberspace, it’s easy to get side-tracked. Specially when ads and content are gimmick’d to psychologically do so.

At its core, OKR is an ancient system, (from the ’70s!)  yet it’s still used by some CEO’s to manage their companies: some of which you might have heard of: Google, Twitter, Linkedin, Microsoft, and Uber, for instance. I’ve started using OKR’s to keep things on track because if it’s a good enough framework for them, it’s probably a good enough system for me and my ̶f̶r̶e̶e̶l̶a̶n̶c̶e̶ business. Results have been so good that everything else I came across in vain to replace it, has been a no-go.

Step 2: Applying OKRs:

Let’s go and juxtapose elements from OKR’s. I took liberties and added onto the formula, as I am big at making things work for me rather than me working for them. The overall system is the same, other than those quaint interests in ‘Resources’ and ‘Projects’ I had added, which felt pertinent.

How to set Goals this Year
(Not my actual goals list, it’s just an example of the system, it is totally fictional)

In a list, we notice a few key things right away:

The Objective, or the Goal, must be linked to a Key Result. While the Goal definition is obvious, (it’s what you desire), the Key Result, is a measure that results from a task you’ve done and tells you you’re in the right track! (i.e of a Key Result = Converted 40% of the emails into clients; and a related Project or task for that KR could be = Take a sales course, Learn about Hubspot…

  1. It is NOT a law of attraction system, it’s not a jOuRnAL It AnD ThE UnIVeRsE WiLL maNIFesT IT!!!! (but if you know of such system and bring some evidence that it works without actionable projects and tasks, I’d love to hear about it.)
  2. The Project tab is an actionable bundle list of steps you’re going to take to meet the Key Results/Measure Plan, how are you going to generate that revenue for the marketing plan? (You have to do the actual work, sorry!)
  3. The Resources is a subset I added myself, often when brainstorming ideas in this system I set up in Notion, and as I link goals, to key results, to projects, I find that it gets my creative juices flowing, I get lots of ideas for tasks, resources I can use, reminders I need to set, so on. It gets actionable content out of my head and logs it somewhere where you don’t forget! The neural network of ideas just keeps expanding effortlessly.
  4. The system I use here is Notion, it’s free, and has a generous unlimited plan. However, you can also use Google Docs or a piece of paper.

Step 3: Prioritize using the 5/25 rule!

American Business magnate, investor, and philanthropist, Warren Buffett, quickly rose to the top list of my heroes for many different reasons, but let’s put that on hold for another time…

warren buffett - How to set Goals this Year
Buffett started investing when he was 11, and he is known to make strategic and intelligent business choices. Over the past decades, he’s garnered shares from Microsoft, Apple, Coca Cola, and other giants. Warren has been referred to as an Oracle or Sage of sorts, when it comes to the stock market.

How does this relate to the system?

Buffett was one of a kind’s manager and CEO, and he wanted his employees to grow. While most CEOs and managers thrive to keep talent for as long as possible under their companies, Buffett himself had stated that if Mike Flint. His airplane pilot, didn’t outgrow him and Berkshire (they were engaging in career strategy chatter). he had failed Mike as boss.

The 25/5 rule is simple:

  • Setup a list of the top 25 Goals to achieve.
  • Focus on the top 5, ignore all others.
  • The top 5 are the best use of your time, the rest is just a ‘good’ use of your time, but not ‘great’. Sure, you’re still being productive, but you’re not streamlining it. It’s like procrastinating by doing slightly less important work.
  • This is why you see an ‘Active’ tag under my OKR Notion system above.

Bonus tip from Warren Buffett, and a suggestion of a habit to cultivate from here on out:

  • Go to bed smarter than the day before. Read at least one page of a book a day, or watch helpful content on Youtube. Small change makes progress too, especially, compounded over 365 days in a year.

Before we go, I’d like to thank you for your support this past year,
many things have changed for me along 2021.

I’ve started my full-time freelance business, and I’ve had the gift of having you read and enjoy my content. Stopping by and using some of my tutorials, and it’s been a blessing of a year. Despite pandemics, it could have been a hella lot worse.

Here’s something I’ve been working on, as Concept Artist for Embark Studios. Their upcoming IP ‘Arc Raiders’ featured at the last Game Awards:

And the last content I’ve released at my marketplace store:

About the Author: Miguel Nogueira is a freelance concept artist, designer, and storytelling strategist.He’s also worked with studios to help mapping solutions to reach their audience, unlock the gamer’s sense of wonder and myth, as well as their needs, while collaborating with the studios under fun work processes.

He’s been featured at CGSociety Hall of Fame and Behance, also on Kotaku and 3DTotal. He’s also recently worked with Frictional Games on the release of Amnesia’s Rebirth and an upcoming, AAA, unannounced MMORPG as Character Design Lead.If you’re interested in having Miguel speak at your event, want to sponsor his content, or start a project, please send all business inquiries to here.