The Blogger’s Guide To Goal Setting

This is a follow up to my post on how to make 2011 your best year in blogging. As many of you may know, I am not big on New Year resolutions. I am big on goal setting and feel it’s one of the keys to success. However, most people go about goal setting the wrong way and as a result, most fail to achieve their goals.

Every blogger has his ultimate goal, whatever that may be. The goal is usually something big and will takes quite a bit of time to achieve. Let’s say your goal is to have your blog make enough money to quit your job and when that is achieved you plan to reward yourself with a new car or a month long vacation.

You put everything you got on achieving that goal. Time passes, frustration sets in because you’re no closer today than you were six months ago. When this venture started, it was fun. Now it seems like a chore. What went wrong?

It’s Not The Destination, It’s The Journey

While it’s great to keep the end goal in mind, you have to remember to stop and smell the roses along the way. Most bloggers have an end goal, or destination, but they don’t have map. They just want to get there but don’t know how to. It’s great to have a goal of making a living off your blog but you also need an actionable plan to get you there. Without the plan, the goal is nothing more than a dream.

The real kicker is after you’ve hit your end goal, you’ll discover that it wasn’t the end goal that was important. It was the journey along the way. The journey is where you’ll learn and grow. I’m sure you’ve all heard stories of lottery winners who ended up broke again after a few years. They had “success” dumped on them but they never took the journey and as a result was not ready for it. This applies to blogging as well. If I were to give someone off the street a blog making $40K a month, chances are it will go to making zero within a year. You have to go through the journey.

Reward Every Success No Matter How Small

One of the ways I keep things fun along my journey to world domination is to remember that success is cumulative and every success, no matter how small, should be celebrated. What I like to do is have a bunch of mini goals that accumulate up to the final end-goal. I don’t just celebrate at the final goal. Instead, I celebrate the achievement of each mini goal. This keeps thing fun and keeps me motivated to keep moving forward.

For a new blogger starting out, a set of progressive mini goals may look something like this.

Now, you may think that registering a domain name or setting up WordPress isn’t much of a goal but for some, it is an achievement that should be rewarded. The point is to reward yourself with the achievement of each mini goal. The reward should be proportional to the goal – you shouldn’t reward yourself with new car for getting approved by an ad network (I tried that once but the wife overruled it).

As an example, you might take the family out for a pizza night when you make your first $100. When you make your first $1,000, go on a fine dining night. My rewards usually involve my family because they’re on this journey with me. It’s a lot more fun sharing a journey than to go on it alone.

As the goals get bigger, so does the rewards. Because the rewards are getting bigger and because the next mini goal seems a lot more achievable than the final end goal, you are far more motivated to keep building. Doing it this way is a lot more fun than just trying to reach the end goal. You reach the top of the success ladder one rung at a time. It’s impossible to hit the top rung without going through the lower ones.

2011 has just started. Now is the time to write down your goals and map out your journey to achieve it. Remember, it’s not the final destination that is important, it’s the journey along the way. Enjoy the journey, set up a bunch of mini goals and reward yourself along the way. I’ll see you at the top!