The Art of Goal Setting

It has become an annual tradition of mine to write out my goals and post them publicly on the blog. I benefit as much if not more than anyone by placing my goals in writing and making myself accountable. I hope to inspire you in the process
This year I looked at my goals and groaned… “oh no.. no one is going to want to read all that. Who is going to want to read it? Maybe I need to make a video and just tell you my goals.” 
So I am going to put on my make up and charge ahead. Let’s pretend you are here with me in my studio and you just asked me what my plans are.. I don’t normally talk in full monologues…so you can add to the conversation too. Just leave a comment under wherever you see this post or email me! I read all emails that make it into my inbox and try to answer as many as I can as well.

“Show Notes”For those who rather read than listen, or want to follow the links, here ya go!

Step One: Review Your 2015 Goals

This is like New Year’s resolutions in reverse. It is so important to review the goals you made last year to see what worked and what didn’t. That is why writing your goals down is so important. Do you remember what your goals were for last year? No? Write this year’s goals down now – nothing fancy. Grab a napkin and just do it.

Here is a list of the goals I made for 2015 and how I did with each of them.


  1. My Word. I chose “purpose” for my word for 2015 and the word served me well. One thought I do have for 2016 is that a year is too long for one word and I may switch my strategy to choosing a new word each season instead of for the whole year. By September, and probably earlier, I was definitely ready for a new word.
  2. Mastermind. I never quite found the “mastermind” group I was seeking. However, I felt I met the purpose behind this goal. I made lots of real life connections with artists by making lunch dates, traveling across the country to meet my online artist friends and getting on the phone regularly to discuss our dreams, plans and passions.
  3. Read. I read (or listened) to 26 books on marketing and personal self-development. This is a habit I will continue in 2016. You can read about my reading list HERE.
  4. List Building. My email lists did peek above 5000 this year, but I am learning that the list has to be quality as well so my 2016 goals will be a stronger list of fans (see below for 2016 goals)
  5. Content Creation I created three free video series this year which included a series on painting and drawing cats, figures and also mixed media. I also wrote 92 blog posts- much less than prior years, but I also wrote many more newsletters and emails to connect in a more personal way with you.
  6. Budget. I was a little sloppy with this goal, and will be a little firmer with it next year. It is so tempting to build stats that drive my ego but don’t necessarily benefit my bottom line or the experience for you, my audience.
  7. Profit from my passion. I had one of my best years ever in my art business but I still fell short of my income goal. However, I understand some of the mistakes I made last year and can self-correct them.

Write it down, Make it Happen

When you write your goals down, they become “plans” rather than just goals or resolutions. Making plans is a giant step toward making your dreams real. It is like creating a blue print for the year.

Let’s Do it Together!

I want to invite you to share in this process with me which is why my first online class for 2016 will be “Painting with Words.” It is a lettering class that also goes into how I write my goals and use my art journal to inspire me.

As always, I will be offering a free video series just prior to the class. In the free four part video series, I will be sharing some exercises from the course and the last video will describe how to go with me to the next level. The class is in development, but you can grab 10 art journal prompts to help get you started while you wait.


My Plans (for you!) for 2016

  1. 4 new online art classes (described in goals 2-5)
  2. Painting with Words (coming in January 2016) A lettering class with inspiration galore.
  3. Animal Spirits Watercolor Class. (Spring 2016) Lot of my watercolor students have been writing to me asking me for more watercolor classes and I spent a long time thinking about this. Should it be flowers? Landscapes? Animals? My heart told me to create a class called “Animal Spirits.” More details to follow. If you don’t have it already, please grab my list of favorite watercolor supplies
  4. Creative Marketing for Art-trepreneurs (Fall 2016) Ahhh, This class has been on my mind for a while. I have taken lots of marketing classes (because I love marketing my art) and each time I think that I need to stop taking these classes and start teaching them. I have a lot to share about my own strategies and a unique perspective that I want you to learn. I want you to have all the same successes (and more) that I have selling art. It is such a thrill to be able to connect with collectors. So keep your eye out for that. In the meanwhile, check out these blog posts I have written on art marketing strategies.
  5. Handmade Holidays (Late Fall 2016) I am dreaming of a class where I teach you how to


    make holiday ornaments as well as some crafts for my non-Christmas holiday crafters. The ornaments are not for sale now, but you can see them on my blog here. My plan is to invite my artist friends to teach this course with me for lots of crafting goodness and inspiration.

  6. Outdoor Art Fairs (3-5)
  7. Travel high up on my 2016 travel bucket list is a trip to Portland to see my artist friends, a jaunt to Los Angeles to visit my brother and one “out of the country” trip with my husband to make beautiful memories.
  8. 12 Guest Blog Posts
  9. Create a mission statement for my art
  10. Surround myself with artist friends I love my artist friends. Thank you for making my life richer!
  11. Declutter  Can one ever be free of clutter? Doesn’t mean you can’t keep trying… (did you read Declutter Your Life?)
  12. Learn – read, listen, explore. I loved all the reading I did this year, much of it on audio which I listened to while I painted, went on walks or drove around town. you can discover a book recommendation from one of these blog posts. My reading wish list continues to grow!
  13. 1000 Raving Fans. Last year I made a goal of 5000 email subscribers ( I begun the year with 1600) I hit that goal sometime in the fall but for 2016 I decided to make a quality goal instead of a quantity goal.There is a popular adage that to have a thriving business you only need 1000 Raving Fans, or “true fans.” I am not sure where this adage originated but I did find a great blog post about what it means to have “1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly.

    I will be measuring whether I hit that goal by using my mailchimp metrics. Mailchimp assigns star ratings to each subscriber based on how active they are on your list. I maintain two email newsletter lists. One email list that I send out to “art collectors” and another that I send out to artists and art students of  The Inspiration Place. As of this writing I have 482 “five star” “SchulmanArt” subscribers and 1822 five star “Inspiration Place” subscribers. Thank you my five star folks! I love you too.

    My goal is to reach 1000 5-star SchulmanArt subscribers. and 3000 5-star Inspiration Place subscribers. Are you getting my emails? Click HERE to check out the free treats I give my new email subscribers!

  14. 6 Figure Art Business. Last year I made an income goal of $100,000 and although I haven’t finished crunching all the numbers yet, I did fall short of this goal. I don’t think it is crass as an artist to have an income goal. I firmly believe that if you are giving to the world your art that the world wants you to make a living from it. I want to make a business where I can fully support myself so I can continue to create content like this blog, videos and classes that you enjoy.One mistake I made last year in my goal setting is that I didn’t calculate the value of the products and services I was planning. So this year I mapped out all the art and art classes I plan on creating and made sure that reaching my goal is possible.
  15. Two solo shows. I have two solo shows scheduled for 2016. One will be at the Scarsdale Library in May 2016 and the other is in Harrison, New York in November 2016
  16. 50 new paintings. For my art shows, I want to exhibit new art. I like to work in sprints and series so this is about 4-5 paintings per month.

    I will continue to release art as “collections” at the end of each month. You can see my most recent musical art collection on my website and grab yourself a free music postcard while you are there!

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In Case We Haven’t Met Yet…

Hello! I’m Miriam Schulman and I create mixed media art to tell stories. I also teach other people how to craft their stories with art. I give them the techniques they need to get the results they desire which brings more joy to their lives.

My art has been published by Somerset Studio, Art of Man and the New York Times among others and collected by an international audience. When I’m not working on art in my studio, you’ll find me in a museum spending time with friends or family. Explore my art at or join the fun at


Now I want to hear from you… what are your goals for 2016? 

If you are an art student, which of the art classes I talked about are you most excited about?

(leave a comment or email me at

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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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