how to set intentions and accomplish your goals

Editor’s note:

We are so happy to welcome Kari Chapin to Dear Handmade Life. I read Kari’s book: The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally and On-line after I’d already been running my crafty business Random Nicole for many years. Even though I considered myself well-versed in the art of selling my goods, I learned so much from Kari. When budding craft-epreneurs come to me asking for advice on how to start or grow their businesses I point them to The Handmade Marketplace and to Kari’s follow up title, Grow Your Handmade business. Inevitably I get a thank you from her new fans a few days after they’ve devoured the books. Not only is Kari bursting with business insight but she’s full of inspiration too. Every time we chat on the phone, I find myself wishing we had more time to talk. Her authenticity comes through in everything she does. By the time you’re done reading this post on how to set intentions and accomplish your goals, you’ll probably be as obsessed with Kari’s business tips and motivating strategies, then you’ll want to head straight over to Kari Chapin’s blog and get to know Kari’s creative community. or meet her experience her awesomeness in person—she’s one of our Craftcation 2014 presenters.

-Nicole S.


Well, here we are. 2014! I myself can hardly believe it. The older I get the faster time seems to whiz by. Please slow down time! Didn’t you think that by 2014 someone would have invented a time controller machine?

Even though time flying by can be overwhelming, I must admit that at the start of a new year, new month or even a new week, my heart pounds with excitement thinking about a fresh start and all the possible possibilities to come.

Often when i start thinking about all the good ideas i have and goals i want to accomplish, my next thought is – how do I make allllll of this happen? If you’ve had this thought too, trust me on this, you and I are not alone, my friend.

Luckily, I’m sharing my proven strategy that helps me (and you) stay on track as the new year begins.

First of all, when your brain is buzzing and full of information about what you think you SHOULD do for your business, combined with what you WANT to do for your business it can be pretty overwhelming.

Here is the method I teach my clients and use myself. You can complete it in one day, or be like me and take a week to go through all of the steps. My brain needs a lot of buffering. It’s like a slow YouTube video of a funny cat up in there most of the time.

Step One: The Brain Dump

The brain dump is loads of fun. Simply settle down in a cozy spot and arm yourself with tools you’ll use. For me, it’s blank paper and colorful markers. For others it could be your computer or journal. Write down everything you want to accomplish when it comes to your creative business. Don’t try to be orderly, just get it all out. Anything goes, from writing a killer About Page for your website to creating a new product line. If you think of it, out of your head it goes and onto your list.

Once you’re done, take a break. Revisit your list in a few hours or even the next day, when you have more relaxed perspective. Now go through everything you recorded and find things that go together and spate out your lists. Do you have loads on social media things you’d like to do? Move those things to a new list that you might call ‘marketing’ or ‘Internet’. Whatever works for you. If you have lots of great ideas for product development, see if you can group them together by category, like ‘stationary’, ‘headbands’, or ‘design’.

Now your Brain Dump is all organized. Take a break, because we both know that was a lot of work.

Step two: Find and organize common intentions

Once you’re ready to come back to it, review each list and find the overall thread that connects your items. Is one list related to boosting your business bottom line? Do you have a list that is all about increasing your customer reach? Do you have a list that is mostly about the behind the scenes stuff you need to do on the regular to keep your business humming along? Probably. Once you see connect the dots, your bigger picture begins to form.

Once you know what each is really for, what its main purpose is, create an intention around the topic. If we were looking at a list that was created to boost your marketing efforts, it might have tasks on it like create an editorial calendar, increase Twitter followers by 25% by June or Organize Pinterest Boards. Your intention for this area of your business might be something like:

Increase number of followers by 50% across all social media platforms

Your intention becomes your driving force and this is very different from setting a goal. Your intention becomes a benchmark for measuring your success (which is very important – see my pal Eleanor’s post for more on that!) and it becomes a sort of touchstone. Now you have something concrete that you are working towards. You can see it, name it, and be active about it. Write your intention at the top of a new piece of paper or document. After that, go do something relaxing, like watching cat videos on YouTube.

Step three: List the goals that support your intentions

Go back to your lists and look at what you’ve written down. The things on your list are goals. These are action items that you have deemed important enough to write down and record. These are the steps you need to take to realize your intention.

Go through the list and write the goals that stand out the most under your intention. If what you’ve written doesn’t seem all that actionable, re-frame your words until they clear action steps.

Here’s an example:

INTENTION: Increase number of followers by 50% across all social media platforms


Use Twitter more effectively

Create Pinterest boards around my line

Engage more with customers on Facebook

Figure out what the hell Snapchat is and if it’s good for my business

Create tutorial videos for YouTube

Investigate Google +

These goals are all fine and dandy, right? If you were to follow through with all of this, well… your numbers would soar, you’d increase customer engagement and have loads more sales, right?

But… so far, it still seems so BIG, right? Just putting these things down on paper isn’t going to make them happen. It’s good to know that if you reached these goals that you would realize your intention and sail off into a sunset made of success, but it’s still not enough. It still seems overwhelming. Let’s fix that. After a nap of course.

Step four: assign concrete task to your goals

Review your goals and assign them TASKS. That’s right, baby, you’ve got work to do and the more specific we get, the more success you manifest.

Now that we have some goals to reach, we need to figure out how to make it happen, which is why tasks are so important. Tasks are your actual To-List and the magic of a To-Do list is that you get to change it up whenever you need to.

With our example we’ll look at the first goal of “Use Twitter More Effectively”.

What can you do to make that goal more manageable?

Well, you could check out a book about Twitter and business from the library, read it and then implement what you learn.

You could start a spreadsheet that helps you track your followers and engagement.

You could look at your site stats and see how many customers arrive from twitter to even know if it’s a marketing strategy that works for your business.

You could challenge yourself to Tweet 3 times day and make a list of topics so you don’t waste time thinking of what to Tweet on the spot.

You could follow 20 new people this week.

You could task yourself to participate in a conversation on Twitter three times a week.

You could set a timer and spend 20 minutes a day on Twitter.

Personally, I review my Intentions and Goals about every two weeks. I drop what is not working for me and my business and add new ideas. I revaluate my tasks more often than every two weeks, because I try to make my tasks small and easy enough to really plow through them. I file away my completed lists when I’m done and often refer back to them when I’m in a creative rut.

Ideally, you would end up with a list that looks a bit like this:

INTENTION: Type it loud and type it proud! (Your statement of fact)

Goals: What you want to accomplish to realize your intention

(try setting monthly goals or quarterly goals to make it more manageable)

Tasks: Your To-Do list

(short activities that help you reach your goals, thus realizing your intention which makes all of your dreams come true!

Now picture yourself at the end of 2014 or even just the end of February.  Don’t you look so successful to yourself? You’re glowing with success! Where did you get your shoes? They are fabulous!

I hope my system sparks some ideas for you. The world really needs what you have to offer and the first steps are all about figuring out how to get your offerings to the world.

XO, Kari Chapin

About Kari:

Kari Chapin is the best selling author of The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business. Her first craft project book, Feltlicious, was recently released. She also leads a group of creative entrepreneurs called Kari’s Creative Community and you can find out more or join her by visiting,


  1. What a GOLDmine! I’m so excited to implement this. I have a sheet of “things to aim for in January” but breaking it down like this makes it all look a lot more doable. Especially the nap part. That’s my favorite.

  2. Hello!
    I just got Kari’s book as a gift and I am so inspired! Thank you for breaking down this topic of goals. When we crafters get started, we don’t realize how much of this business is devoted to self-marketing and social media. It will surely be helpful to implement these techniques and be sure to focus on my branding!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Paigey-Pie Quilts

  3. Ha ha! We’re all super excited! I am so glad this topic resonated with you Paige and Nicole. It is a system that is close to my heart. And I agree – it;s often shocking when we figure out that our “dream” jobs actually are a lot more than just making what we love. Please thank whom ever gave you the book on my behalf. I’m very grateful. xoxox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.