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How to Climb Mountains

CollisThis guest post was submitted by Collis Ta’eed of Eden.cc, who blogs about blogging over at NorthxEast.com.

No matter who you are, there is something you’d like to achieve that you probably don’t think you can.

Maybe it’s a subscriber number, maybe it’s earning enough blogging to turn professional, maybe it’s breaking into the top 100 on Technorati. It doesn’t matter, you know what you want and you think you know that it’s not possible.

For today however, you are not to think about what is or isn’t possible. Instead lets just take your goal and figure out how to climb up and get it.

What is your goal

So first of all, make sure you have clear what it is you want to achieve.

Find yourself a simple sentence that sums it up. Nothing wishy-washy allowed here. What you want is something measurable, after all you have to know when you’re at the top of the mountain.

For me, my goal has been to get a blog into the top 100 this year. Given that I only started blogging in February, this is no mean feat to achieve. But that’s perfect. This exercise is not about looking at a mound and deciding to stand on top of it. If you’re going to climb something, it may as well be something worth climbing. So set your sights high.

When we first started the blog FreelanceSwitch, I asked my wife Cyan – who is the site’s editor – what we should aim to achieve in the first month. She said ’3000 subscribers’. I laughed because I knew that was impossible. After all it had taken me three months to get to 250 readers on the blog I’d been writing on up until then. But once it was said, there was no turning back. 3000 was the goal and a month later it was left in the dust. This is how we did it.

What would it be like if…

Once you have your goal, take a moment and think about what it would be like once you’d achieved that goal. To take our mountain analogy, imagine you are standing at the top looking out. What does the view look like, how do you feel and what did you do to get there?

When I did this exercise some months back and thought about what it would be like to have a top 100 blog I thought about what it would be like approving so many comments each day. I thought about seeing my blog listed on the popular page and I thought about what blogs might be above and below it in the list. I thought about how exciting it would be to be able to think to myself on the way to work that I wrote for a top 100 blog. It sounded rather grand, and stupid as it sounds I would swish the words around in my mouth, getting comfortable with the idea.

Then I thought about what it would be like day-day. If I was running a top 100 blog, there’d be lots of readers and they’d need a lot of good content to keep them coming back. And the blog would have to be better than others like it, and it would need to be different too. And so on I would think, about all the things, from how we’d need to pay for things, and where traffic might come from, and who would write and who would edit and on it went.

So ask yourself what things would be like if you achieved your goal. Take some time and picture it from the broad strokes to the details to the feelings you’d have after you achieved it.

Working backwards

So you’ve got a good idea of where you’re going. You’ve seen what the top of the mountain looks like, now we work backwards.

Think through everything you’d need to have done to be at that point, and then think through what you’d need to do to achieve those things. Then think another step back, what do you need to do to achieve those things.

Make a plan for what points you’d need to achieve to get there. If your goal is to be earning a sum of money every month, say $4000, then think, where exactly would that money be coming from. Say $1000 was from affiliate sales and $2000 was from advertising and $1000 was from freelance blogging. OK, then what affiliate programs would you need, how many would you need, how would they need to be worked into your blog? Now what about advertising, what forms would you use, how would they be used? And if you’re taking freelance blogging jobs, which day will you do the writing for those? Where will you find those jobs? What experience do you need to get those jobs? What do you need to do to get that experience?

Work backwards from your goal to where you are now and think through all the things you need to do.

Strategy

Now instead of one gigantic mountainous goal, you have a series of goals. From basecamp to foothills, to slopes to summit, you have a series of things you need to achieve.

So now you strategize.

Come up with a bunch of strategies to achieve those goals. When you think you have enough strategies, think up another set. Cyan and I would often sit over cups of tea writing out dozens of ideas to get traffic, to get links, to find writers, to get dugg, for articles that would be popular, for things to set us apart from other blogs and so on. Pages of strategies, ranging from the obvious to the out-of-the-box. All are needed.

Execute

Now you execute. Go through your strategies, one by one and execute them. Don’t do them half-heardtedly, don’t deviate, don’t get distracted, don’t second guess. You know what you need to do, do it. You won’t know the outcome until you have.

Reevaluate

Do you think mountain climbers climb the exact path they had thought out? I doubt it. At intervals you have to stop and reevaluate how things are going. Make new strategies, make new plans and then execute again.

And whenever you waiver, think back to the view when you get to the top, the taste of the air in your mouth, the feel of the ground beneath your feet. Climbing mountains isn’t easy. It takes time and effort. But if it didn’t, would it really be worth doing?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jake says:

    Setting goals and making a plan to reach these goals are instrumental in succeeding.

  2. CatherineL says:

    Great tips – thanks for sharing. Goals are so much easier to achieve if you make plans and break them down into bite size chunks aren’t they.

    Well done with your blog too – you’ve made great progress.

  3. Being specific is crucial. One of the best tips I can give for this is to write these goals down, because that forces you to use exact language, rather than hold the ideas in your mind as vague concepts.

  4. Joanna Young says:

    Hi – something up with your freelanceswitch link?

    Joanna

  5. Koen says:

    Hey there, nice article! Of course you need a goal, but your tip(s) about working it all out backwards before you start, is very valuable in my eyes. I will add this to my list of things I need to give another view and execute :)

    Keep it up, keep climbing :)

  6. Great tips! It’s important to break larger goals into smaller, more manageable goals. Working backwards is great way to do this.

  7. Adnan says:

    Thanks for the awesome article Collis and congrats with the successes of FsW so far (I’m sad to see NxE go though! :( ).

    I think the best part is to constantly reevaluate like you say. Most of the time, things never pan out how you want them to, so it’s necessary to take a step back to see how you can achieve those goals, and what strategies you need to change in order to reach those goals.

  8. Warren says:

    I find this strategy is not at all limited to blogging but can be implimented in business, writing, or whatever your interests may be.

  9. I treat my investing as well as my blogging in this way. I also have written out my big goals on a index card and carry it around with me so I can read it at least twice per day. This keeps me focused on whatever I do, be it work, blogging, investing, or fitness.

  10. angie says:

    You’re right Warren…
    It can be implemented on some kind of interests.

  11. 1000 RSS subscribers in one month is amazing. But as you said, once you decide, you can achieve what you think is not achievable. Great post Collis! I’m a regular reader of your excellent blog.

  12. An interesting post – but you didn’t tell me how to get 3000 subscribers in month 1!

    I registered my domain on the last day of last month so you have about 7 days left to get me another 2928 subscribers :P

  13. Brad V. says:

    Great post! I think a lot of people have a “mental block” that prevents them from reaching their goals. For example, they might think, “Oh I can never be a professional blogger because…” and they go on to list all the reasons why they can’t do it, instead of concentrating on ways to make it happen.

    I’ve found writing down my goals helps me. I might not reach all of them right away, but it gives me something to focus on and usually come pretty darn close to reaching my goals.

    Thanks!

  14. Iain Hall says:

    I must agree with Michael Martine above about specificity. It’s great to have lofty goals as mere wisps of clouds. But, once their finite, concrete, defined, the path to achieving them will also start to become paved (in the right direction).

    It wasn’t that long ago that we dreamed of moving to Scotland and starting our own business. That dream is now a reality, thanks to putting our furniture business dream on paper, and making a plan to achieve it!

  15. shman says:

    Good post, I really like this concept!

  16. esvl says:

    Great post.

    I like the idea of splitting up your goal into parts. That way your can see what you need to be doing in which area.

  17. chtanxw says:

    Inspirational and motivational article about achieving something in life!

    Set Goals -> strategy -> execute -> review -> execute -> MOUNTAINS (Success)

    The “execute -> review -> execute” is always repeated in the whole process.

  18. Shay says:

    Very nice in-depth article. You can’t climb if you don’t know where you’re going. :)

  19. joeB says:

    You are very encouraging to new bloggers! Keep up the good advice! I am going to reach for the stars!

  20. Wow! That is a great goal to be in the top 100 blogs.
    Thanks for the tips. You are lucky to be friends with
    Darren. The strategy info was great too.
    Elizabeth G.
    http://BookTestOnline.com

  21. Vascabruta says:

    Great post,
    This goal chart can also be used as an everyday guide to keep you on track of what to do in you Blog.

    Thanks

  22. Max Powers says:

    I always had sales goals when working over the years so why I have not even considered it towards my blog makes me feel so stupid. Thanks for reminding me.
    ConsumerFight.com

  23. Asako says:

    Defining vision, mission, goal and financial metrics are definitely important for anything we do in our lives. For me, if one day I could meet someone who actually made a real business success leveraging my blog information, I would be grateful… but these days, I do feel I need to break it down to more tangible goals and metrics. Thank you for your tips.

  24. GC says:

    Great post. I think the “Reevaluate” part is very important which many people tend to overlook. If we keep using the same strategy that doesn’t work, we’ll be where we are no matter how long we climb. Keep climbing.

  25. Markus says:

    Great Post.

    Small mistake found: Link to freelancswitch has a “blank” in the URL!

  26. tony gee says:

    Awesome post and great motivational tenets for those that may be lagging due to slow sales or basic goals not being met. Inspiration to take small choppy steps is very well written.

  27. Any BLog post with an analogy to Mountain Climbing has got to contain some great advice…and this is no dissapointment! Thanks, maybe I’ll make it a goal to blog a post with a climbing theme next!

  28. Goals are simply dreams with a deadline.

    Remember everyone started with 0 traffic and 0 visitors.

  29. Brad Newman says:

    Thinking with the end in mind is a great suggestion. Thanks for the interesting post!

  30. Great way to break things down. I often realize when dealing with people that the power of goals is very much discounted. A good, powerful goal, along with a solid plan, makes all the difference in the world.

  31. Mark says:

    It’s all about setting your goal in VISUALIZING it to completion.

    Best,
    Mark

  32. Tibi Puiu says:

    Excellent tips. Setting goals is the first step to success.

  33. That’s a killer post! Visualization is so important for anything you want to do in life. Such a great post, in fact, I’ll have to link to it!

  34. Dereks says:

    Let’s take a look from another point of view, of a reader. Yes, setting goals is super! But it’s super for blogger’s ambitions, but not always for the readers. The trick is, that popularity, number of subscribers doesn’t actually reflect how good your blog is. I mean that when you set a goal top 100 blog is isn’t equal to “top 100 best blogs covering this topic”. For example, once one of my friends discovered such sing as “lifehack”. He told me how he read about a trick with an apple, that will make you fresh as cool mountain water in the morning. It actually worked! That was a real life hack! Now watch at today’s most popular lifehack blogs. Most of time they are writing some casual articles about self-management. Maybe it’s useful, maybe it’s even worth to read but it’s not real lifehack. So, that’s what I’m talking about: when you set a goal like that, you may move away from first task: write a good blog.