Day One: A plan for 2013

Like many of you, I find the dawn of a new year a time to reflect on the events of the past year, and a desire to make drastic changes in your life for the upcoming year. Sometimes they turn into resolutions, bold proclamations of how this year will be the year you lose those 15 pounds this year; how you will travel more. Usually, they fall harmlessly to the turf by the end of January, and you find yourself falling back into the same habits. I’ve certainly been guilty of this.

Back in May, I met with Heidi Consults to get focused and get my career on track. She, quite frankly, kicked my ass. But more importantly, she told me to stop talking about what I want to do, and actually sit down and write out my career plan for the next two years. As soon as I wrote things down and actually made a plan, things amazingly started to spring into motion. Within a few weeks of speaking with Heidi, I’d landed a contract job with UIEvolution, doing the exact type of work I wanted to do with the clients I wanted to do it with. The simple act of putting my plan on paper seemed to kick start my career in a way I’d never thought possible. So I’m going to do it again. 

What follows is my plan for personal, professional, and mental growth for 2013. Writing it down makes this real, and putting it on the Internet keeps me accountable. Hopefully this inspires you to do the same.

1. Create something new every day.

I’m a designer-I love to create things. But I spent way too much time last year talking about creating things, and not enough time actually creating things. One of my biggest frustrations over the last few years were seeing other people build businesses and create things that existed in my head, but I never took the steps or had the courage to implement. I’m going to do my best to change that. 

This year, I’m going to create and share one new thing every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s something written, a sketch, a work in progress, or a fully-finished design. I want to create and share something new every day, then move that idea forward until I have a finished product. You’ll see them here, as well as on my Dribbble page, using the hashtag #create365. 

This is Day One.

2. Solidify my career path.

I spent way too much time in 2012 planning and making excuses. I couldn’t find clients for my business because I didn’t have my website completed. I couldn’t get my website completed because I needed to get my portfolio pieces updated. I couldn’t get my portfolio updated because I needed to find clients for my business. Put it this way-if making excuses was a business, I’d be a millionaire. 

In August, I started working as a contractor for UIEvolution, which has been an amazing experience. I’m working on a lot of great projects, with a lot of great clients, and I’ve learned a ton about not only mobile user interface design, but user experience, and 10-foot user interfaces as well. I have three months left on my contract, and I want to maximize my time there. 

For 2013, I want to continue making progress on my long-term plan of becoming professionally independent, and running my own design business in 2014. Personal plans have delayed some of this, but it’s still on my radar. In the meantime, I’m going to continue developing professionally as a mobile designer. I also plan to put more of an effort to develop my professional relationships-I’m going to get more involved with my local AIGA chapter, and in June, I plan to take my first trip to the HOW Design Conference.

The change in focus on my career also means the focus (and name) of this blog will be changing soon, but that will be a post for another day.

3. Refocus on my health.

2012 was an up and down year for my diabetes. Over the summer, Melissa and I drastically changed our diet, and started eating Paleo, which resulted in a significant amount of weight loss for the both of us. On the downside, my body has stopped responding to my oral medicines, and I have moved to an insulin regimen. This isn’t a dire as it sounds; I can get off my medicines altogether, but it’s going to require a major lifestyle change, and some massive weight loss. 

To that end, Melissa and I are focusing on making at least three meals a week at home, and I plan to be active at least three times a week. To get off my diabetes medicine completely, I need to lose close to 100 pounds. That isn’t a goal for 2013, but a long term goal, but I have to crawl before I walk.

As you can see, some of these goals are professional goals, some of them are personal goals, and some of them I haven’t shared with you, but I promise you, they’re written down elsewhere. I believe that writing down your goals is the kickstart to making things happen, instead of constantly talking about “things I’m going to do someday.” 

Someday starts today for me. When will it start for you?

Dwight Battle

Studio Battle, 9410 35th Ave SW #A, Seattle, WA 98126, USA

Dwight Battle is an award-winning independent art director specializing in mobile and digital design, branding, and creative direction. Dwight has been an art director and designer for over twelve years, and have worked with a variety of clients in a variety of stages of growth, from Fortune 500 companies to small family businesses, and from established companies to early-stage startups.