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7 Steps to Setting Blogging Goals that Stick

This guest post is by Tim Brownson of A Daring Adventure.

I suspect that all the technical information you could ever need to be a successful blogger is out there in the public domain. If that is the case, why do the vast majority of blogs fail when it comes to providing the owner an income they can live comfortably on?

Dreaming goals

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Firstly, I think many bloggers grossly underestimate the psychological side of blogging and what is needed to get their heads right in the first place.

Secondly, few bloggers that I speak to start off with any real plan or goal to keep them on track if and when things don’t go according to expectations. They simply dive into the process with no real idea of where it will take them.

Today I want to show you a seven-step process for goal setting that will exponentially improve your chances of succeeding with your blog.

You may well be familiar with the SMART method of goal setting because it’s been around for decades. Bear with me though as I expand on that process and make it way cooler and more useful for you—and far more likely to help you succeed.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with SMART, let me give it a quick run through.

Specific

Is your goal specific enough that somebody else could read it and know exactly what you mean? A goal of having a popular blog misses this aspect because it’s too vague and subjective.

I have a popular blog, but if I gave my readers to Darren and took his in return he’d be pretty unhappy with the deal—he has about 40 times more than I do.

“Owning a blog with at least 5,000 subscribers that earns $500 per month from AdSense” is the kind of goal that nails this element.

Measurable

Using the last example, you can see at any point in time where you are in your plan. If you have 2,500 subscribers, you are half-way there. If you are earning $400 per month, then you’re 80% of the way toward that goal. Having a measurable goal is important to keep your motivation going and for you to know whether things are working or not.

Action-oriented

Any goal, if it’s to be a real goal, requires input in some form from you. In other words, you have to act and actually do something to make it happen. Lying in bed hoping people are buying your ebook that you haven’t promoted properly isn’t a goal—it’s wish or a dream, and it’s almost certain to fail miserably.

Realistic

I’m not big on this aspect of the SMART method, because unless something is physically or scientifically impossible, then to me it’s still realistic.

If Darren had told people eight years ago that he intended starting a blog called ProBlogger and by 2011 he’d have 150,000 subscribers and be one of the top 2,000 websites in the world according to Alexa, people would have been lining up to tell him he was being unrealistic.

He wasn’t, so don’t worry too much about being realistic. Understand there is a huge difference between something being very difficult and being impossible. Landing on the moon was very difficult; landing on the sun is impossible (unless you go at night!).

Time-bound

This is probably the most under-appreciated element of SMART goals. Without a timeframe, goals have a habit of slipping.

Most people are busy and, as such, are responding and reacting to events. Therefore, without an end game in sight there will always be more pressing issues for you to attend to.

There is a great reason why people work more efficiently up to deadlines. It’s because the brain kicks off a mini fight-or-flight response, which allows them to focus more efficiently.

Okay, so that’s the traditional model and it’s all well and good, but I want to help you make your goals even more effective by turning SMART into SMARTER.

Ecology

When you’re setting goals you have to be aware of the effect they will have on you and those close to you. So you want to be a problogger and intend spending as many hours as necessary to achieve that?

How will that affect relationships with your loved ones? How will it impact your social life and your health? How will you pay the bills as you build up your following?

The answers aren’t reasons not to try, or to quit before you start. But they are things that need to be taken into consideration now, so they don’t trip you up further down the road.

Reward

This is the really big one as far as I’m concerned, and it’s the thing that so many people miss out on or just don’t get.

What is your reward for having a successful blog?

I’m not talking about money here: I’m at a deeper level than that. We are talking about values and what is fundamentally important to you at the level of your identity.

What really drives you? If you think that’s money, what does that money give you? Maybe it’s freedom, peace, security, significance, or maybe you want to leave a legacy.

It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you know. This is what’s going to motivate you if and when things get tough.

If you can’t come up with a reason that will get you out of bed at 5.00am enthusiastic about the day ahead, then there’s a high probability you will burn out sooner rather than later.

As an example, I am a Life Coach because I love helping people. I don’t earn as much money as I did when I worked in sales, but I’m way happier and, more importantly, I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. Do you?

Tim Brownson is a Professional Life Coach, NLP Master Practitioner and published author. He runs the A Daring Adventure blog where he writes about self development. If you would like a free copy of his book How Do I Set Goals That Work? Click the link.

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Comments

  1. Nice points! Being specific at the start (and later on) is the most important step in my opinion. In blogging and marketing. If you know what you’re writing about and what you want to achieve than you can be more oriented and productive and reach your goals faster :)

  2. It is not only S.M.A.R.T but becomes S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Blogging is about passion, and not only hunting recklessly to become top blogger.

    A nice piece of advice for me, thanks Tim.

  3. Hi Tim,

    Super tips!

    Set goals you can measure. Set goals that move you.

    Setting measurable goals helps you chart your progress. Seeing steady gains can help motivate you during tough times, keeping you focused on the positive which brings more positive circumstances to you.

    Setting goals that move you means finding your Why. Why do you want to blog? ID that emotion, bottle it, and keep it in your mind…..A LOT.

    The Why drives us. It’s our chief motivating factor. Money doesn’t drive people. The freedom money affords us, that’s what drives us. The invisible Why in the visible What.

    Once you ID the Why and hold onto it in the face of all types of obstacles, you become immune to defeat. I have experienced this again and again. Crazy setbacks become pushes forward because I held onto my blogging and business Why’s in the face of it all, and blasted through these situations.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Tim!

    RB

  4. Blogging without goals is just like living without purposes.

  5. Tim Brownson says:

    I like this:

    “ID that emotion, bottle it, and keep it in your mind…..A LOT.”

    Thanks.

  6. J.D. Meier says:

    I really like the ecology perspective.

    For me, I’m a fan of starting with a compelling vision, then chunking that up into a simple set of wins. Then I chunk that up into a little set of wins along the way. This helps give me milestones and way points along the way, and a sense of trajectory, while aiming and adjusting for the big picture.

    Ultimately, I find a North Star to guide me on the journey, which is usually among a constellation of living my values, and pursuing my purpose.

  7. David Walker says:

    Hi Tim,

    I think the majority of “bloggers” dive in without thinking because blogging has such a low barrier to entry and at first, it’s a lot of fun despite not making any money. But, if you don’t have a clear purpose for your blog it becomes difficult to stay motivated an post regularly.

    These days I write shorter blog posts which focus on one clear message. I find this much easier and am able to post something new almost every day, also giving me plenty of time to work on other areas of my business.

    David

  8. Nice, I’ve written about blogging goals before, but not about the types of goals that make goals themselves more effective. I think it’s very valuable information. Effective and proper goal setting is probably number 1 on my list of skills to master for success!

  9. Hi Tim,
    I have been fortunate enough to achieve goals that I had set out for my blog not that I am “there” yet by any stretch of the imagination.

    For me it was finding the right people and places on the web that had the information and the know how of achieving what I was after. Basically it is following and doing what successful people have already done.

  10. Steve Scott says:

    Tim,

    I love that you included “measurable”. So many plans will have goals and desires but leave no room for really measuring results. A good plan should be somewhat fluid, realistic and based on real world conditions. the only way to really adjust and make this better is a solid method of measuring results.

    -steve

  11. Mary says:

    Nice work Tim.
    Anyone going into blogging must have a set goal and action plan to achieve success after a certain period.

  12. I must say I love your version of forming goals much rewarding. :) My reward at the moment is the inner satisfaction and the buzz I get when I find people reading, liking and sharing my writing. I am forever teetering bwteen am I good enough to I can do this and having regular readers helps ease the pain. Isn’t that all writers want though? Or is it not SMART enough?

    • Tim Brownson says:

      Marya, drill down on that by asking yourself why do I like that inner feeling? There is a value lurking just under the surface there and to know what it is is incredibly powerful.

  13. Simon says:

    This is like setting any goal – something I’m writing a small free e-book about actually – If you fail at having a goal, or don’t want it enough you will never have it.

    Before doing any project one should ALWAYS spend at least a weekend working on their goals, no matter if it’s writing a better blog, loosing weight or finding a girlfriend.

    All the best
    Simon

    • Tim Brownson says:

      Got to disagree mate, some people find goal setting overwhelming and if so I don’t recommend it. There’s more than one way to skin a cat ;-)

      There is no how it is, only how it is for you.

  14. Pat says:

    Goal specificity is key to success. I tend to have murky, fuzzy goals that are just “out there”… more a hope or a wish, not really a goal. Writing them down, becoming very specific, and putting a time line with a reward attached once the goal is achieved… all these are things I need to do.

    So let’s practice. Today, I will write a new post on my blog for women golfers: golfgurls.com and I will visit and comment on five similar blogs, leaving worthwhile information that will encourage others to visit my blog. All this by noon today. And my reward? A 15 minute nap (which I need because I am exhausted!)

  15. Blogging without goals is just like living without purposes