Let’s start at the beginning, what are goals? And are interior design goals different from any other type of goal?

Enter ‘What is a goal’ into Google, and the ensuing tsunami of gobbledygook will most likely sweep you away. For instance, ‘future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve.

In reality, goals in interior design are the same as goals in any walk of life. Put simply, they’re a destination and an estimated time of arrival.

A Goal Is Not a Plan

It usually only takes a few words to describe a goal. For example, ’10 stone by Christmas’, ‘Retired by 50’, ‘My own interior design practice by 32’. Whereas a plan usually has much more detail. It describes how we’ll reach our goal. For example, our goal is to reach Aunt Maud post-publication by lunch. So, our plan is the route we take to get there on time. Left at the post office, 2nd exit at the next roundabout, avoid the roadworks on the A300.

To summarise, a goal is a ‘what’ and a ‘when’. However, a plan is a series of ‘hows’. And in this post, we focus on the ‘what’ and ‘when’.

The Importance of Goals

Goals are important, and not just in interior design. Goals can help us with every aspect of our lives: work, play, health, contentment. Again, amongst the Google gobbledygook, we’ll encounter phrases such as ‘help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery’. Ignore these phrases because we can very simply describe the benefits of goals:

•  Goals stop us drifting

  They help us through the tough times

  And they make us happy

Goals Stop Us Drifting

Let’s go back to one of our example goals above, ‘My own interior design practice by 32’. It’s so easy to lose sight of what we want amongst the chaos of daily life. Tight project deadlines, demanding boss. Even more demanding clients. We look up when we’re 35 or 45 and we’re still in our corporate career. At this rate, we’ll still be there at 55. (So much for retiring at 50!) Not least, because the boss keeping dangling the ‘one day this will all be yours’ carrot.

The goal, more importantly, the self-set deadline, gives us a sense of urgency.

Moreover, a realisation of priority. Thus, at 28 we know that we must start putting the demands of our boss and our clients aside. Because if we don’t free up time, energy, and headspace now, owning our own practice by 32 just won’t happen. And we’ll continue giving others what they want. Consequently, sacrifice what we want from life.

Help Us Through the Tough Times

Let’s face it, losing weight isn’t easy. Denying ourselves those lovely treats. Sweating through endless YouTube Pilates sessions. The burning sensation in our lungs on a dark winter morning run. We don’t put ourselves through this torment for the sake of it. We do it because we want to be healthier, to feel better about ourselves. It’s our goal ’10 stone by Christmas’ that drives us on. Keeps up going when things get tough.

Nor is it easy when we’ve had to deal with an angry or unreasonable client. It’s difficult when a supplier lets us down late in the day. As a result, we may want to hide under the bed covers, and never work in interior design again. But it’s the goal of ‘associate by 35’ or ‘our own home next year’ that helps us escape the duvet. And do it all again the next day.

Goals Make Us Happy

Close your eyes for a moment. Then imagine you’ve just got what you’ve always wanted. What you’ve strived for, day after day. How do you feel? The emotions that wash over you as you pull on your favorite jeans after 6 months of early morning runs. And no chocolate. Or that moment when you see your name above the interior design firm’s door for the very first time.

Now pick a word to describe that feeling, that emotion. Relief, satisfaction, pleasure, joy, pride, delight? To use one word that encompasses all these other words, happy. Hitting our goals makes us happy. Not only that, when we hit our goals, we can look back and see what we’ve achieved. What we’ve overcome. This gives us confidence. And inspires us to take on the next challenge.

Why We Need Goals

For all the Google gobbledygook, goals are simple things. Whether in interior design or in life in general. They’re easy to describe, straightforward to set. They give us a sense of direction. Help us through when things get difficult. Most importantly when we hit our goals, we can say, ‘I did that!’ And that makes us happy.


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