Are you up for a “24 in 2024” challenge?

It’s January! Time for a fresh calendar, and new hopes and dreams. The idea of making a New Year’s resolution seems to be losing some favor. (I have a hard time keeping them myself.)

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a perfect time for goal setting. I love how happiness expert and author Gretchen Rubin has a practice of setting a goal based on the year itself. For instance, for 2024, she and her sister, TV writer Elizabeth Craft, who co-hosts the “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” podcast, are each planning to write for 24 minutes a day. For people who want to join them in the goal but feel like 24 minutes is too much, they suggest a possible alternative: Write 2-4 minutes a day.


Another way of using the year-related theme is to set 24 goals for 2024. That’s the route I’m taking and it’s not as daunting as it sounds. Some of my goals are daily habits to maintain; some are bigger projects. But some are one-off tasks, like buying a new area rug for my den and getting new headshots taken.

I don’t have to accomplish any of my “24 for 2024” goals this week, and by giving myself the year to tackle them, I can work on a few goals this month, a few others next month and so on. Following other guidance from Sarah Hart-Unger, host of the “Best Laid Plans” podcast and co-host of the “Best of Both Worlds” podcast, I plan to evaluate my goals roughly quarterly and then recommit, revise or even reject and replace some, as needed.

If you are still looking for ways to set goals for the coming year, here are 24 ideas that might inspire or get you started:

1. Spend 24 minutes a day sketching, not necessarily for a project, but just to play with colors, lines and shapes.

2. Attend a furniture market you’ve never visited.

3. Host 2-4 social functions for your team. This could be a quarterly lunch, a midyear and end-of-year celebration, or a series of fun, energizing outings.

4. Find the perfect shoes to get you through long days at furniture markets or on project sites.

5. Explore the resources of a nearby city — its design center, vintage shops, galleries, public art installations.

6. Listen to 24 podcast episodes, choosing among those focused on design, productivity, marketing, time management or business strategy.

7. Join me in updating headshots!

8. Spend 2-4 minutes a day looking up, not metaphorically but literally. It’s a great photo-taking project that can give you new perspectives.

9. Invest in a new desk (maybe a version that adjusts for both sitting and standing). Or buy new desk accessories to freshen up your office.

10. If the end of 2023 left you feeling frazzled, try a new calendar system or tools for tracking your to-do lists.

11. Pledge to check out a certain number of new or new-to-you vendors during a furniture market. (Editor’s note: may we suggest checking out Ross Alan )

12. Upgrade your project management or design software to make projects go more smoothly and efficiently.

13. Like Rubin and Craft, spend 24 minutes (or 2-4 minutes) a day writing. That could mean general journaling, working on a design book you’ve always dreamed of authoring, writing blog posts or jotting down high points of your day.

14. Make 2-4 networking dates with local designers, artists, architects or building contractors whose work you admire and with whom you might want to collaborate.

15. Give your website a makeover that reflects where you want your business to be at the end of 2024.

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16. If you’d like to do more speaking, promote yourself to your local design organization, furniture market organizers or other groups, and strive to land 2-4 speaking dates.

17. Use your business to give back by partnering with a charity that touches your heart or that could benefit from your skills and talents.

18. Spend 24 minutes a day outside (walking, thinking, meditating, eating lunch, etc.). As a midday break, it could help you refocus and reenergize.

19. If you struggle with taking much-needed vacations, put vacation time for the entire year on your calendar by the end of January.

20. Buy a membership to a local museum (or botanical garden) and plan to attend all the new exhibits.

21. Find the perfect bag for getting you through long days at furniture markets or on project sites.

22. Limit yourself to 24 minutes of social media a day.

23. Find a coach you respect who can help grow your business.

24. Set aside 2-4 days (whole or half-days) throughout the year for assessing your progress on your goals!

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