Yesterday I talked about Combination #2, Attitude, from Ed Gerety‘s book Combinations. In that post I pointed out a few bloggers whose attitudes are phenomenal. They were Ted Murphy and Gary Vaynerchuk. I’m pretty sure you could count them both as people who exhibit all of the combinations. So, not to sound like a broken record I will challenge myself to find other examples for today’s combination: Goals.
It is commonly mentioned in every book on goal setting that you should write down your goals and put them someplace that you can see them. That is just great, I’m going to write down a few of my goals and post them around the house and see how far that will take me. So, for the sake of argument lets say I wrote down the goal of Make More Money and I posted that goal around the house this past month so I could see that goal everywhere. Do you think that I accomplished that goal just by writing it down and sticking it up around the house? No I did not.
I only took step 1 in achieving my goal.
Just by identifying the big picture goal is merely step one. You can’t expect to Make More Money simply by putting that goal on sticky notes all over the house. If you need more money and it will help your life and the life of your family than that certainly is something to strive for. But how do I even know I have achieved that goal? Make more money? How much more, what is a good number what will help my family the most and still leave me time to spend with them. The goal is not specific enough.
Put your goal under the microscope.
When you see things under a microscope you see them in a much more focused reality. Let’s look at the goal of Make More Money more closely. And for the purpose of the rest of this post I am going to use my own personal goals as examples. Your dreams and goals and action steps may of course vary.
Make More Money – We currently owe a big chunk in credit card debt. We owe on our home and we owe on one car. I make a decent salary am blessed with a great job at a stable company and Allison works 3 days a week.. This has allowed Allison to stay home with Eva for some very important time. We have also used credit as income and that has gotten us into debt. We pay more than the minimums on all cards and we are not suffering but still we are trapped with debt because we live beyond our means, no matter how far beyond those means we are living. Basically spending more than you earn is living beyond your means and over time that builds up.
So what would be a better more specific goal than “Make More Money”. My more specific goal would be We will be completely out of credit card debt and have $10,000 in savings. It is unrealistic to think that we could pay off our home in one year but paying off our credit cards and saving an emergency fund is possible. These are goals, not magical freaking wishes, don’t forget that.
Don’t go it alone. Get Help
Now that the goal is much more specific I’m going to need help in achieving them. Two main factors are resources and skills. Resources are people, services, education that can help you and skills are those factors within yourself that you already possess.
Goal – We will be completely out of credit card debt and have $10,000 in savings.
What are some resources that can help us achieve this goal. Well, since the goal is actually one that affects my whole family I have the added support and resource of Allison to help achieve this goal. This means that the two of us need to work together to achieve this goal. If your goal involves more than yourself you need buy-in from all parties in order to achieve it. I also find myself very fortunate that I am a blogger because I have access to many online resources to help earn some additional income. The problem however is that I’ve gotten lazy and complacent. I haven’t gone for it in a big way to make my mark as a blogger even though there are people out there who are pulling for me to do so. To make use of resources I will also read more posts by those I want to emulate. I will talk to more bloggers. I will cultivate those relationships that I’ve already begun and see how we can help each other achieve. Help someone else achieve their goals? Sure, it is not just about my family achieving our personal goals. One thing I have learned through blogging is that the more you help others the more that help comes back on you.
Some of my skills that will help me is my ability to write, my ability to photograph, and my skill with design software. This will help me to seek out opportunities that can help us earn more so that we can get out of debt.
Milestones and mini goals are steps to victory.
A goal in it self is a large thing. Luckily any task can be broken up into smaller ones so that things do not end up being overwhelming. This goal can be broken down into smaller mini goals.
Goal – We will be completely out of credit card debt and have $10,000 in savings. I will cultivate relationships with other bloggers, take more opportunities and use my skills to earn more money.
Mini Goal #1 – Eliminate multiple credit cards. We have a few cards that have balances and a few that are being kept as lifelines. This is not good at all. So mini goal #1 is to be a 1 to 2 credit card family in 3 months.
Mini Goal #2 – Pay off Car with Blogger earnings. Allison’s car is the only one we still owe on so I’d like to pay that off with blogging earnings. By paying off the car we will have that monthly payment for use to pay our credit card bills and it will be a load off our minds.
Mini Goal #3 – Make a budget. This is the hardest obstacle for me to do because I always put this off.
Give your mini goals a concrete date.
By giving your mini goals a date you are making them more concrete and giving them substance. You also have something you can measure, time. Without being able to measure our goals and our mini goals and thus hold ourselves accountable then they really aren’t so much goals as wishes.
Mini Goal #1 – Eliminate Multiple Credit Cards. Credit card Cancellation and Cut up party April 9, 2009.
Mini Goal #2 – Pay off Car with Blogger earnings on June 11, 2009.
Mini Goal #3 – Make a Budget on March 1, 2009.
Give your Goal a Date
Just like with the mini goals, without a date to accomplish this goal then it is pretty much just a wish.
By making a budget, eliminating multiple credit cards, living within our means, working harder to cultivate my relationships with other bloggers, taking more opportunities to use my skills and by working harder to earn additional income we will be completely out of credit card debt and have $10,000 in savings by April 9, 2010.
Now, take that statement, post it around the house, in the car behind the visor, in your desk drawer at work, everywhere.
But are you done? Nope. You must take action and also evaluate your progress. If the mini goals are not getting you closer to your ultimate goal it is time to define some new ones. Are you identifying all areas where you have skills and resources? Look again and constantly be looking and evolving and evaluating, a goal may seem like a static thing but it is not it is something you need to tend to and nurture.
Just a few more thoughts on this.
- Without clearly defined goals you have no direction.
- Without a positive attitude you will sink into hopelessness.
- Without gratitude you will not appreciate or recognize your talents, abilities and resources.
- All of these things without taking action will get you no where.
- Evaluate your progress make changes as needed.
- Goals are like Bonsai trees they need attention to grow to their full potential.
- Make a goal, stick to it,
The past two posts about Combinations I mentioned how the book was one that could be adapted to being a blogger. You can certainly follow the major points of setting a goal, making it specific, identifying resources and skills, setting mini goals and giving your self a date to generate a goal action plan as a blogger. I didn’t do that in this post but rather made it more personal with some goals I want to achieve. If you’d like to learn more specific actions to become a better blogger you can check out this post by Darren Rowse of Problogger on How to Create a Blogging Plan and Actually Reach Your Goals This Year. If you liked that post you might want to meet him at IZEAFest 2009 October 1 – October 4, 2009
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