Goal setting is almost a mandatory skill we need as bloggers. Our blogging goals drive us forwards towards our dreams. They give us purpose, direction, and serve as reminders that we are working towards something. Blogging is a big time commitment, and goals can help us make the best use of the time we have. But it’s really easy to get lost in the land of goals and dreams, and often times we can find ourselves over committing ourselves.
The key to successful goal setting isn’t just about creating goals, it’s about being SMART with our goal setting – it is making sure we’re setting attainable goals for ourselves and our blogs. In the blogging world, it’s easy to set goals that are not realistically attainable for us, to look at all the blogging tips and tutorials and overshoot what we need to focus on right now. Over time that can create the feeling of being overwhelmed, lead to blogger burnout, and in some cases, make us want to throw in the towel. Our blogging goals should not leave us feeling defeated, so let’s talk about how we can set goals that will make us feel like the blogging rock stars we all can be.
Setting Attainable Blogging Goals
You know the saying
Shoot for the moon. If you miss, at least you’ll land among the stars.
When it comes to setting attainable goals, forget about the moon. The moon is our dream. The stars are what we want to be thinking of. It’s important to understand the difference between a dream and a goal. A dream is the destination we want to reach. Goals are the stepping-stones or the map that will lead us there. And I want to share with you some tips I use to help make sure I’m able to get from one step to the next without falling off the path.
1. Pick a Yearly Focus
As you all know, there is a lot more to blogging than simple running a blog. We need to create content, build our readership, our email lists, our social media followings. Then there’s creating revenue, connecting with brands, creating products for sale. With all we have to do, it’s easy to have too many goals on the go at once, which splits our focus and can make reaching all those goals hard to do. To keep from being overwhelmed by it all, try choosing a yearly focus or two.
- Pick one or two main goals you want to work on for the year (your year does not have to start on January first).
- Break those goals into four steps.
- Assign each step a quarter of the year and figure out what you need to do to reach that target.
- Write that plan down. I use my planner to help keep me accountable to my goals.
By choosing only one or two areas to focus on each year, you’re able to devote the time and attention those goals need, without overextending yourself too much. This allows to keep working towards those long-term goals, without sacrificing your short terms ones.
2. Break Them Down
Goals need a plan to help us reach them. To create a plan, we need to break down our goals into small, easy to manage steps. Even short-term goals can benefit from being broken down into smaller steps. Think of it like a to-do list, which in a way it is. You know how good it feels to cross items of your to-do list each day? Breaking down our goals into smaller steps is just like making up a to-do list. Best of all, those small, as we start crossing off those smaller, easier to manage steps, we create a feeling of accomplishment. And that feeling will propel us forward into the next step, and the more we do the better we’ll feel. Sometimes, feeling we’re accomplishing something, even if it’s small, is just what we need to drive us on to those big, wonderful, great things we have planned.
If one of your goals is to have six month’s worth of posts written and scheduled ahead of time, your smaller steps might include
- Determine what holidays/special times are coming up in those six months
- Figure out what topics you want to cover each month
- Gather links for rounds up for the above
- Work on printables or tutorials for crafts
- Schedule post ideas on content calendar
- Write 2 extra posts a week
- Spend 4 hours on the weekend working on photos.
- Have one photo shoot per week and try to photograph two or three projects at a time
You can do this with smaller goals too. It may seem like you’re creating more work for yourself, but what you’re really doing is setting things up so that you are giving yourself positive feedback. The more items you see crossed off your list, the more you’re going to feel like you can do that next step.
3. Lower Your Expectations
We cannot do it all. It’s just a fact of life. So why not give yourself a bit of a break and aim low. I’m not saying undersell yourself and I’m not saying give up on the those big goals, but sometimes when we set goals we aim to high. This is especially easy to do when we’re setting goals that we only have so much control over, like growing our social media following or driving more traffic to our sites. We can only do so much to help, and the rest is up to things outside our control. Goals like these ones can take up a lot of our time, and can sometimes become all-consuming to the detriment of our blogs. After all, we may have spent all our work time working on building out social media followers, but if we have no time left to make new content then our hard work was for nothing.
The point of setting goals is to help us focus, and remind us of where we’re going. If we lower our expectations of ourselves and our goals, (where appropriate) we give ourselves a little more breathing room, and still continue to work forwards. For goals that involve increasing numbers, I like to stick to the 10% range. My monthly goal is to see those numbers go up 10%. It’s easily doable, takes a little extra work but not too much, and yet at the end of the month when I compare them to the start I see progress and it feels great!
Goals don’t have to be huge accomplishments. Sometimes the smallest goals can bring the best rewards.
4. Make Time to Evaluate
This is a crucial step to setting attainable goals. Our goals need to make sense for us and our blogs. Lives change, focus shifts, life happens, and we need to change and adjust our goals to fit those new things. Even if none of that has happened, sometimes we change. What we wanted last year is no longer what we want this year, so doesn’t it make sense to change our goals so that we can focus our energy on where it really matters. Going back to that 10% range, what if after six months none of the extra time I put into social media or site promotion was paying off. Should I spend more time trying to drive the numbers up? Maybe I lower my expectation to 5%? Maybe I decide to stop caring about the numbers and focus on creating more content? On the other hand, what if worked better than I hoped? Do I need to change anything at that point?
It’s important to make sure that our goals make sense for ourselves and our blogs. Goals that aren’t in line with what we really want are not the ones we need to be spending our time on. So take some time every few months to make sure that your goals are really the ones you want.
5. Set Immediate Results Goals
Goals don’t always need to have a ten step plan. Some of the best goals are goals that show us immediate results or give us an immediate feeling of accomplishment. Rather than being super specific destinations, immediate results goals are more about what we do and when we do it. These kind of goals work great for building routines into our work day and give us that little boost of productivity throughout the day. Goals like these might include:
- Spending three 10 minute blocks of time on a social media platform
- Sorting your inbox and deleting everything that you don’t need
- Scheduling a week’s worth of post in your social media scheduler
- Spending one hour working on writing content every day
You get the idea. Start by setting one immediate result goal and giving it a few weeks to see how it goes and to make tweaks and changes to it if needed. Then add another and repeat the process. When you start feeling like you’re never going to reach your other goals, remind yourself that you do these ones every day. If you can do these, you can do the others, too!
If there is one thing we bloggers know how to do well, aside from writing fantastic content and all that, it’s reach for the moon. Who among us hasn’t spent time day dreaming of what their blog is going to grow to be? The sky isn’t even a limit for us, is it? And you know what’s crazy (an amazing kind of crazy), is that each and every single one of us can make those limit-busting, reaching for the moon, dreams come true. We know where we’re going! The real trick is figuring out how to get from here to there without burying ourselves under so many pressures and obligations that we lose our way, or worse – give up. To do that, we need to get smart and crafty when it comes to setting our blogging goals. We need to make sure that we’re not setting our goals so high we cannot hope to reach them. It’s ok to aim low if we need to, and it’s ok to scale things back. As long as we keep moving forwards on our path, we’ll get there in the end.
I’d love to hear how you set attainable blogging goals!
Do you have any tips or tricks you’d add?
Looking for more advice on setting blogging goals?
Check out these posts to find 5 tips to help you stick to your blogging goals and learn how to maintain a consistent blogging and commenting schedule.
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- Work From Home Tips to Boost Your Productivity - Feb 10, 2016
- Changing the World, One Word at a Time - Jan 11, 2016
- Setting Goals for the New Year - Dec 24, 2015
- How to Use Your Most Popular Content to Build Your Editorial Calendar - Oct 6, 2015