We’re reaching the time of the year when many people are um…”re-evaluating” their New Year’s Resolutions. Psychologists gave last Monday, January 16th, the dubious honor of being the most depressing day of the year as people came face-to-face with holiday weight gain, credit card bills and bad weather.
I thought now would be a great time to give you a shot in the arm and make sure you stay on track for the rest of the year. We’ll start with the basics – your goals.
Goals Still Matter – A Lot
Deep down everyone knows that goals are the difference maker between so-so performance and stellar achievement. Studies conclusively show that goal-setters routinely outperform their “wing-it” counterparts.
Setting effective goals will keep you on track and motivated. There is a deep magic to writing down your goal, taping it to your dashboard, and committing yourself to making tangible progress every day.
But there’s a catch -
Selecting the right goals are just as critical as achieving them. I’m sure you’ve been bitten by the vague goal that looks great on paper but is too broad to actually achieve.
For example, my first blogging goal was simply: “Publish a great blog.”
That blog failed within 90 days. Today I set dramatically different goals based on a goal-setting framework that I discovered while researching extraordinary blogs.
Let’s take a look:
The Secret to A-List Blog Goal Setting
Successful bloggers are a methodical bunch. The do almost everything based on a plan to build on their strengths and systematically build their blog’s momentum.
You can see evidence of their goals in their posts, products, partnerships, and day-to-day activities. Taking a step back, these goals can be categorized into three groups:
A-Listers are disciplined content creators. Every day they look for opportunities to create stellar content. It could be a blog post, 1,000 words for an upcoming book, or a new video. They make content creation a daily goal and they seldom deviate from it. GigaOm creator, Om Malik, created content every day for 10 years.
Great bloggers hold themselves accountable for results. Since their blog fuels a business or generates direct income, they make sure that they have quantifiable goals to chart their progress. They comb their numbers looking for red flags. Some report their performance to their audience to hold themselves publicly accountable. These performance goals follow the popular SMART rule: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Timely.
Smart bloggers look for opportunities to invest in their own skill-sets. These bloggers seldom quibble over spending a few bucks to learn a new tool or receive guidance from an expert community. Optimization goals are the blogger’s way to get feedback on their performance goals and make tweaks to their overall plan. While Performance Goals set the destination, Optimization Goals keep the ship on course.
Take a look at your blogging goals for the year. Do you have goals in each of these areas?
7 Goals for Jumpstarting Your Blog
Like I said, it’s hard to set solid and achievable goals. So, I’m going to offer up 7 goals using the Creation, Performance, Optimization Framework -
1. Create 3 new ideas, frameworks, and/or concepts for your niche. These new ideas haven’t been seen before in your niche. People reading them will lean back and say — “Now why didn’t I think of that!” These ideas will become the foundation for your editorial calendar and expert products.
2. Build Your First Expert Product: I’ve been beating this drum for a couple of weeks now. Now is the time for you to get serious about creating a product that will establish your expertise and attract readers and subscribers.
3. Publish in a New Medium: Consider expanding your reach into another channel like YouTube or Podcasts for iTunes. 2012 is the year for podcasting for Pushing Social. How about you?
4. Publish More: I’m not going to tell you to publish twice a week or daily. It’s up to you. I only recommend that you publish more. Watch your quality AND stomp your foot on the gas this year. Create a SMART goal, write it down and tell me about it in the comments below (I double dog dare ya)
5. Grow a Key Metric by 10%: Look at your numbers and decide where you can goose more performance. I recommend setting the goal of increasing your blog reader subscriptions by 10%. This is easy if you build an expert product (hint, hint). Of course, you can pick any metric you choose, just make sure that your goal is realistic and you write it down.
6. Set-up Google Analytics on your blog and check your numbers once a week. Don’t get obsessed with the stats, just keep a close eye on them from week to week. This discipline will keep your finger on the pulse of your blog and reveal opportunities for growth and new content.
7. Set and Achieve a Micro-Goal Every Day: Get yourself into fighting trim by setting a micro-goal and achieving it every day. For example, decide that you will write 100 words a day. Your writing can be total nonsense or the beginnings of a blog post. The point is to prove to your subconscious that you are serious about achieving your goals. These micro-goals will create momentum and lead to larger success.
What to Do Next
Two things are happening in your noggin’ right now. Either your brain is screaming “hell yea! Let’s get this party started” or the devil on your shoulder is spitting out excuses at a prolific rate. The best way to get clarity is to take action right now.
That means bookmarking this post for easy reference. Tell me your goals in the comments. I’ll dive in and comment on your goals. I may even prod you throughout the year! Deal? Get to it.