Setting Smart Lettering Goals


I always make goals. I just love the feeling that I get when I plan and dream. However, I have been bitten by failed goals more often than I could chew. I am pessimistic by nature, and I always think about the negative things that could happen, so I am aware of them. But when I am setting personal goals, most of the time I am too optimistic. I set my goals 200% more than what is realistic. I fail to reach my goals because I set the bar too high. I know in the previous post I mentioned that we should set our sights high so when we fail, you still reach the stars. And aiming high is not a bad thing. Just note that you need to aim high in relation to your capabilities and resources. Setting the bar 200% works for me. That's just who I am, but I thought -- wouldn't it be fun to reach them this time around? So I am going to try to lower the bar to 150%. It's still high, but more achievable.

Different people will have different thresholds. It's important where you stand, so you don't set yourself for failure. Because if the goal is too unrealistic or too risky for you, you will not have any motivation to follow through when you miss out on the first milestone. Trust me, it will be too difficult to get back on track.

Looking back, I already know the recipe for a good goal setting. We always hear about having SMART goals. What does that really mean?

S - Specific M - Measurable A- Achievable R - Realistic T - Time-bound

So how should you set SMART lettering goals?

If you were beginning to do lettering, this would probably how you would set my first goal:

Learn how to letter quotes like <insert name here> this year. 

Let's see how it stacks up.

Specific: Is it specific enough? What type of lettering are you going for? What language and alphabet? Goals are usually broad and that's fine. You can start with a broad goal, and slowly narrow it down. Since you want to letter quotes, you can start learning how each letter is formed first, and your goal may be:

Learn how to letter the English sans-serif alphabet.

Measurable: Can you measure your progress? Are there limited things you need to check? Since you are focusing on English, you can start with the 26 uppercase and 26 lowercase letters.

Learn how to letter the uppercase and lowercase English sans-serif alphabet.

Achievable: Is the goal achievable? Yes. Lettering is achievable even for beginners.

Realistic: Is the goal realistic? If you set an hour each day learning each letter, in 52 days, you would already know all the capital and small letters.

Time-bound: Finally, there must be a time frame to achieve this goal. Setting a time makes it more achievable. There is a sense of urgency to achieve it.

This is how the goal will look like:

Learning the uppercase and lowercase sans-serif letterforms of the English alphabet in 2 months.

Now, that is more manageable, right? 2 months may still be optimistic, especially if you don't have much time to spend, but you get the drill. If the goal is still big, you can create smaller goals following the same method to make the load more achievable.

By breaking the general goal of learning how to letter quotes, you will not be overwhelmed and you will understand each building block and how you can combine them. Here is an example of the sequence: After learning the sans-serif letterforms, you can venture into serif or scripts. Then you can study the composition and the layout of the quotes, and eventually going into accents.

This year, this is one of my learning goals:

Learning basic sketching of small inanimate objects around me in Q2 of the year. I am planning to take a self-paced course to complement my lettering by understanding the concept behind drawing and applying the techniques to lettering. By understanding the lights and shadows, the weights and perspectives, it would make my lettering work more balanced and grounded.

What about you? How will you apply this concept to your lettering journey?