Note: you can listen to this episode above or load it up in iTunes.

How to Set Goals That Will Improve Your Blog

Today’s episode is about how to set goals that will improve your blog. Research shows that by simply writing goals down, you are more likely to achieve them. I find setting goals difficult, but this has definitely been true for me! Today’s episode is a special interview with Stacey Roberts, the author of the Vege Mama blog. We talk about what you can do to make sure you have the highest chance of meeting your blog goals, in the most painless way possible.

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In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • Why you should make goals instead of new year resolutions
  • A question you should ask yourself to work out what you need to do to improve your blog in the next year
  • 6 ways that goals can help you improve your blog
  • How to make your ‘to do’ list more achievable
  • 5 key areas you should set goals for your blog
  • 6 strategies you can use to increase your chances of achieving your blog goals
  • 3 reasons why people fail at achieving their goals (and how to make sure you avoid them)
  • What to do right now to make sure you include goals into your blog game plan for the new year

Further Reading and Resources for How to Set Goals That Will Improve Your Blog

Meet my new friend, Edgar (and a SPECIAL OFFER)

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The team at Edgar have put together a special deal for ProBlogger readers which gives you a free one month trial. Sign up for your free one month trial at Here’s a video of how I use Edgar:

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Darren: Hi there. This is Darren from ProBlogger and welcome to episode 77 of the ProBlogger Podcast and the first episode of 2016. It feels a little bit strange to me saying that. I haven’t said that too many times yet because it (as I record this) is halfway through December in 2015 if I’m honest, but I wanted to get this one recorded because I think it’s so important.

Today we are going to talk about setting blog-changing goals for your blog. Goals that are going to help you to take your blog to the next level in 2016. To help me to explore this topic, I decided to bring in Stacey Roberts who is the editor of ProBlogger and has been for the last couple of years now. Stacey has really been instrumental in helping me to take ProBlogger to the next level over the last year or so, one of the teams that I have brought on to help me with that. She is a little bit different personality-wise. We do talk about our personalities in this particular episode. 

It helped me, as well as a few other people in my team, too, to get a little bit more structured in my thinking about this type of stuff. It has really helped us to achieve so much in the last 12 months in particular.

You can find today’s show notes at where we will include some further reading. In particular, I recall that Stacey wrote recently on ProBlogger that we’re really bouncing off in this particular podcast. I hope you enjoyed today’s interview with Stacey.

Good morning Stacey. It’s good to be chatting with you today. Happy New Year. This is actually being recorded in December but it will come up in the new year, so I feel like I can almost compel to say Happy New Year.

 Stacey: Happy New Year to you, too. I feel very ahead of myself.

Darren: How was your happy 34 years? 

Stacey: Absolutely fabulous. I was on this yacht and there were cocktails. Nah, I’m sure it will be fun. It will be great.

Darren: Excellent. The reason for today’s podcast is that it is that time of year. Well, it will be that time of year when you are listening to this for our listeners, where people are after making their new year’s resolutions or setting goals. I do prefer to set goals and make resolutions, although maybe that’s a bit of a […] definition thing, but I was just thinking this morning, a good question maybe to start this particular podcast for our listeners to ponder is, is the way your blog is today the same as you want it to be in a year’s time?

I think a lot of people say, “I don’t need goals,” but asking that question from me gets you thinking about change and the change that you want to bring. Maybe just to get us in the mood for why we might need some goals, you may want to pause the podcast, listeners, answer that question, and actually take it to the next step and ask yourself the question, what changes do you need to happen in the next year or how do you want it to look different in a year’s time? Maybe that’s just a kick us off question to ponder. 

I wondered (to introduce this particular podcast), Stacey, by saying I was going to do a podcast on goal setting and then I was looking on to ProBlogger for what I’d written in the past on that. I found a post that you had written in the past.

Stacey: Not since September 1st.

Darren: Was it? Ah okay. September of this year? It was really recent and […].

Stacey: I’ll give you a pass on that one.

Darren: I thought it would be really good just to walk through some of the things that you wrote in that particular post. You start off by talking about why goals are important. I don’t really want to spend the whole heap of time in this podcast on that, but I think it probably is worth stating some of the things that you have said there. Do you want to run us through some of the reasons why goals might be important to make it this time of year?

Stacey: Sure. It helps keep you on task and I know that, particularly for me, when I’m at home, I’ve got a job, and I’ve got kids, I’ve got very little time to spend on my blog and I don’t want to waste it. Often I do find myself wasting it because I don’t know what to do. Because I don’t have a direction, I just slander around, doing bits and pieces of nothing really at all. It really helps you keep on track of what you’re doing when you’ve got the time to do it.

It also motivates you when you are so passionate about your blog and you really want to see where it can go. You have to know where you want it to go before you can push it in that motivation. It’s good for direction. It’s good for motivation and it’s good for helping you be really productive with your time.

Darren: Yeah, I think for me, I pretty much have the same list of things. I think I found it very easy and maybe it is just my personality type, but I find it very easy to drift throughout the day. For my goals on a grand scale, I am quite motivated, so my goal for the year or for my next 10 years is that those are the goals that are really motivating. But what keeps me on track in the day-to-day are those mini goals or objectives that I set during the day, which really flow out of the big […]. 

Stacey: Yes, it does take a little bit of time to sit down and really pen those out, but it is so worth it if you do.

Darren: The other thing that I found useful and maybe it’s more coming from hiring people who are good at this kind of stuff is that it gives you something to base your reviews on. As you are assessing how you went in the last year, while I don’t spend the whole […] look time looking back, I think it is important to have some way of assessing—

Stacey: Yeah. It is also pretty motivating, too, when you don’t think you’ve done very well, but if you look back at the traffic we had in January and you see how it has grown, you think, “Oh, I really have actually seen some progress.”

Darren: For sure. I think partly, our approach to goals often does reflect our personality type and for those listeners who haven’t heard me talk about personalities before, I am a self-confessed INFP in the Myers-Briggs test that I’ve done. I think P comes in to count TR and those are perceived as someone who is perhaps living a little more in the moment, a bit more spontaneous. I am not the most organized person in the world, so I find goal setting really hard. I often avoid this type of activity. Is that the case for you? 

Stacey: I am an INTJ, so you think that I would just be like super on to all of this, but I have really good intentions. I think this is the year I am going to start goals. This is the year I am going to start checking and I just never do. I have vague goals, write an eBook, but I hadn’t actually sat down and written anything and being specific in both the notebook and done it. I like buying the notebooks and the pens but I don’t actually do anything. When I was writing this, it was after an experiment of how I have done it. I realized it had made such a difference and I felt like a bit of an idiot for not doing it before.

 Darren: I didn’t used to spend a whole heap of time on it, but I think just having the team makes you a little bit more […]. Also, if you start paying people, you want them to be doing something worthwhile. 

Stacey: Yes. You want some return on investment. 

Darren: And getting through an outcome, that’s right. The people I have hired, I think everyone on the team is a J personality. I can’t think of anyone who is like me. 

Stacey: You have the ideas and we put them into place.

Darren: I always forget […] but—

Stacey: And where you’re working on the idea and you were like, “Hey, wait. Did I say that?” 

Darren: Yeah. I think a lot of the objections people have to having goals come down to I don’t have the time. I am not that type of person, maybe that personality thing, or I don’t have the framework to do it, and really that’s what this podcast is about. It is giving you a bit of a framework to come up with those particular goals. Perhaps if you can start to walk us through some of the process that you came up with in the article? I might butt in occasionally and disagree or add my thoughts as well but you started off with writing them down. 

Stacey: Yes. It is such an important thing for many reasons. Often, you don’t really know how you feel until you’ve written it down or you don’t really know what you want until you sit there with a piece of paper and a pen, and you’re forced to come up with something. And you realized instead of tapping into that idea of what you’re looking for. that you haven’t been able to put into words yet, so that’s really useful.

It is also really useful so you don’t forget them. I am quite forgetful, so if I haven’t written it down, I think that I will remember it but I won’t. It is also really good because it makes them real. It makes them quite concrete, like this is a goal that I want. It’s not just something that’s I have an idea in the box. This is actually a goal. I have written it down, I’m serious, and now we are going to achieve them.

Darren: I think you wrote in the article, people who write their goals down are significantly more likely to achieve those goals and I have certainly read those studies as well. 

Stacey: Yeah, and for so many different reasons, not even quantifiable reasons, but you are more likely to achieve them if you have written them down.

Darren: Yeah, I think they just did the writing of them down. They become clearer as well and being able to put words around them, articulate them, makes them easier to communicate to other people if you’ve got other people if you’ve got other people working with you too. 

The second point was don’t have many […]. 

Stacey: Yes. I think part of the reasons are especially in this time of year when you’re gung-ho to start a new year, turn over a new leaf and all that kind of thing. You have a million and one ideas but to be successful in achieving the goals that you are choosing, you really have to not bite off more than you can chew. So far, it’s  prone to failure.

Even if you feel though you’ve so much that you want to achieve, you have to boil it down to 3–5 major goals that you want to achieve in the next year or two, and then break them down into steps because once you’ve broken them down, you realize that they actually take a fair bit of work. You might even misjudge the amount of time these tasks will take you because you think it’s over in five minutes but you aren’t. By the end of the year, you’ve only reached one of the 25 goals; you feel a bit of a failure. The best thing to do is have a smaller amount of goals, achieve them, and then move on to the bigger ones. 

Darren: I find this true both in business and also in personal parts of our life as well. Vanessa and I sit down usually at the end of every year and come up with our goals for the year. In the past, we used to have […] of goals. These days, we set ourselves goals for physical health, family goals, spiritual goals, and just have three or four different areas that we are really focused on. 

I think the family is much more likely to action any of them if we finally got the […] them as well. I wonder whether for bloggers it might be helpful to identify maybe four or five areas that you really want to work on in the next year. Maybe content is an area that you want to set a goal or readership for monetization, or design and tech, maybe just set a simple goal when each of those areas might be the way forward for […].

Stacey: Definitely. I think once you achieve that goal, by the time you achieve it, you realize where else you can go. What other goals you can achieve because you got to be flexible, you got to be a bit adjustable. By the time you’ve achieved that, you will have realized what needs changing.

 Darren: That’s right. The next point was to make them look smart. 

Stacey: It is and it’s going around for a while. It’s been the consciousness of this for quite a few years now but mostly, if you’re looking to have a goal they need to be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely. You can’t just say, “I want to be happy.” You can say, “I want to meditate 10 minutes a day, everyday for the next year. By default, that will make you happy. Being more specific about the actual wording of the goal rather than having them be airy […]. That is the very first step to making sure that you’re actually achieve that goal.

Measurable is pretty interesting because lots of people make a goal that isn’t something that is quantifiable. I want more traffic where it is probably better. Again, this is being very specific to say, “I want to grow my traffic by 10% in six months,” or, “I want 500 more Facebook fans in the next year.” So, keeping that really, really specific.

Actionable. The goal needs to be something that you do rather than something that you are or something that you become. […] goal that you will need. It’s better to say, “I want to have this much traffic and I want to have this much money coming in,” rather than saying, “I want to be a big blogger.” Something really actionable that you can do.

Realistic. Not everybody is going to be Brad Pitt. If they are going to be acting or whatever it is, they can aim for the top, but being realistic means that you are going to be more likely to achieve it, more motivated to then create another goal, and then you are on a better track and you are in a more positive frame of mind. Something realistic like 500 Facebook friends is really realistic and when you do achieve that goal, make a bigger goal. 

Timely. Deadlines are super important. You can’t just say I want to create an eBook that’s going to bring in X number of dollars and I’m going to be an eBook author. We really need to say I ‘m going to write an eBook by this date and then I am going to design it by this date. I’m going to publish it by this date. Have real, actual times attached to each of those goals that you have. This mark filter, you could probably call it, really makes you think and work down those goals until that very, very specific and have a deadline. 

Darren: This is the area that as a key person […] with the most and sometimes, as I am thinking about goals, have a little imaginary […] in all of these, sitting up my shoulder. I put them there and say, make it more specific and actually try. […] to the goals that you set and work harder at them. The first draft is not ever good enough of a goal. I think my big lesson is that vague goals lead to vague action. 

Stacey: I was going to say you should have […] that. It’s so true, though. It really is. Like I say in the post that I started an eBook two years ago, that I had an idea about a year before that, and I haven’t touched it since because it was too vague. I was like, “Oh, no. I’ll just write an eBook,” because I never sat down and I said I will write an eBook by this day, I will have an eBook about this particular topic, and I am going to sell this number of eBooks. I never did that, so it’s just been out there in vagueland. Just not doing anything. 

Darren: So the next one I think is my favorite and that’s breaking it down. 

Stacey: It’s my favorite, too. It’s a breakthrough moment for me. It’s when I realized that I could achieve goals and I could make it fit into my very busy daily life. It’s something that helped keep me accountable because of the goals, the tasks I have broken the goal down into were super achievable and I just felt so good about the path that I was on.

What you do is when you have your big giant goal, say 3–5 in your design area, your content area, your social media area, then you figure out the deadline for that goal, then you break it down, say month by month, week by week, and daily if you’re going to be really specific about it.

Say you want 500 more fans by the end of the year. You are going to think about exactly how you are going to do that. What are you going to offer your Facebook community ? How are you going to be useful to them? How are you going to get shared? It’s the same in the post I talked about growing in new […] by 50 readers in a month.

The first thing you do is to think about the quantifiable number. How many readers in this case? It’s 50. When? In this case it’s the end of the month. You’ve got four weeks in that month that you can break the task down into. The first week (say) you create or upgrade a new subscriber’s incentive. By the end of week two, you’ve got an extra sign-up box at the end of your posts. Week three is where you write the post, telling everybody that they should sign up to the newsletter, and week four is when you offer a real short-time bonus right at the end and say, if everybody signs up, they get this, that, yada-yada-yada. So it’s taking that very specific goal in a months’ time and breaking it down into […] to help you actually get them. 

Darren: I think it is so important and there are a variety of ways you could probably break up goals as well, like one is to do exactly what you’ve done there. Another way would be to set mini goals, so you might say, by the end of the year I want to be making $30,000 from my blog. That’s a pretty measurable, specific, timely goal, but you could break that down both in terms of how you’re going to do it. So, I am going to make this much from these different income streams. You could also break it down, That’s $2500 per month, so it’s a mini goal. How am I going to get this month’s $2500. I think there is a whole heap of ways that you can break things down rather than just see this massive big goal. The other thing I love about this is what you said up to do this.

Stacey: Yes. I love to do this.

Darren: Isn’t there a bit of feeling of […] 

Stacey: It’s online might do this and when I check the box it makes a little noise and if you’re so good do you hear that little noise […] just making little check noise.

Darren: I occasionally add things to my to-do list that I have already done.

Stacey: I do that. Just sneaking it at the bottom. Check, yup done that for today.

Darren: Yeah. I used one in the list which is an online tool. It allows you to set up a to-do list and then have sublist within it, so you can have your big goal list, a big thing, and then you can break it down. That’s what I do with setting up the podcast earlier this year (and last year for those listening). I have my goal of I needed to launch a podcast and have 31 episodes launched.

Stacey: Yeah, you’re crazy. 

Darren: Yeah, stupidly crazy goal, but anyway, I got it done was to actually create a list and just check those things off as they happen. Some of the things on the list were the workflow but many of them were I needed to learn how to do hosting and I needed to do all these little things that took me towards that goal. So, breaking it down is the beginning.

Stacey: The best thing about breaking them down to that I really love is taking the time to note how long you see that task has been taking, so you can be realistic as to whether you can see it into your to-do list for that day or for that week. I always underestimate how long something is going to take me, so I like to break them down into maybe an hour task here, then have a list of 10-minute tasks. Then, when I find myself at a bit of a loss of what to do, I will just look at that list of 10-minute tasks. I can pick two or three off that list and that is something that I had not planned on doing for that day, but it’s there to be done and I can feel more productive and get closer to my goal at the same time.

Darren: Another useful framework for thinking about goals is when you think about goal strategies, objectives, and tactics. That’s another way of really breaking it down. The goal is your broad, primary outcome that you are trying to achieve, the strategy is the approach that you are going to take (and it is still fairly broad to achieve that goal), and then the objective is the little milestones that you set along the way. To get to that goal, I need to go through these six objectives and then the tactics of the really actionable, what am I going to do to get to the first objective. That may be another helpful way to think about goals if you are struggling with this topic.

Your next point in the article was set by short- and long-term goals.

Stacey: Yes. I think that is so important mostly because we love our pie-in-the-sky dreams. We know we want to aim high, we know in a direction that we want to go, and most of us want to do our best, we want to be the best we can go about it. It would be lovely to reach those goals. It’s good to have a year goal, a 5-year goal, a 10-year goal, not even just with blogging but with life in general.

But often if you have got a 10-year goal, it’s all very well and good, and theoretical, but it’s also really important to have those smaller short-term goals that you reach those milestones as you get to the bigger goals. That helps really keep you on track because it is motivating when you have reached the goal and you are on an upward swing (you could call it). It’s good to have shorter goals that will help keep you on track to get to the big pie-in-the-sky dreams.

Darren: Yeah, I do write down the goals of the day and even the hour sometimes. Those little objectives that we have along the way.

Your next point was to have a buddy and this one is a bit controversial. I have heard so many different opinions on this. I don’t really know what to think but what way were you coming from with having a buddy.

Stacey: Well, having a buddy works, so people who won’t do it of their own accord but will do it if  someone’s counting on them or if someone knows about the plans that they have made. I do not find that it works for me personally, mostly because I think no one cares really of what I am doing, but I am sure they would if I asked them. Also, I am just quiet and then I keep myself to myself so it does not really work for me to tell anybody what I want. 

I am quite self-motivated. I have an intrinsic sense of motivation, so when I get something I feel really proud of myself. I certainly did not have to involve anybody else but other people who would not show up unless someone is waiting for them or would not do anything unless people know that they have come right out and said it. So, it depends.

If it works for you, get someone that you can text or they can text you. I know people that have Friday afternoons catch-up. They have a list of each other’s tasks that week and they are like, “So, how did you do?” You have got to then tell that person whether you reached all the goals that you said that you are going to or not. So, it can work but I think you need to have an accountability partner who actually is for you, who is excited about what you are doing, who helps keep you and motivate you on the road where you are going.

Darren: It’s so true. It really does depend on your personality and where you get your motivation from. I think Gretchen Rubin talks a lot about this in her book called Habits.

Stacey: Yes. If you are an obliger, it works really well for you.

Darren: Yeah, it’s all about internal and you sound like an internal motivator. For me, I think it probably depends on the thing. I found, though, it does help me to have some accountability but it does not work when I get nagged and that makes me not want to do it.

There is a great little talk that Derek Sivers did as well. It’s a TED talk about how and his argument was sharing your goals can give you a sense of satisfaction that is similar to […]. I think there is almost chemical proof of this since we are talking about it rather than doing it can give you that same sense of satisfaction. So, his argument is do not tell people. 

I personally think if you find the right type of person, so I am looking for a special person and there is someone who might kill the idea or judge it, and critique it too early. There are some people that will tell your brand new embryonic plan to a nice […], just squash it and then you do not want to do it anymore. So, you want to find someone who is going to give you permission but also someone who is going to keep you accountable and maybe even join in and motivate you […] journey as well.

Stacey: If you’ve got a mastermind group, a blogging buddy, or someone else who is equally as excited to work on their blog and to reach goals as you were, then you can help each other out, you can get together at the end of every week and say, “How did you do it? How did you reach that goal that might be useful for me? This is how I reach this goal and it might be useful for you.” So if you get someone on the same level, it can probably really work very well.

Darren: Yeah, I know a number of bloggers have coaches as well and that obviously need a little bit of money to invest into that. Even if they are not a blogger but they are just purely there to keep you on track and accountable, it would be useful.

Stacey: There is also that idea that if you invested money and that you will actually perform things you say you are going to, like ebooks are free and people were like, “[…] it’s free and I won’t bother reading it,” but if they have spent money on it, then they think, “I need to invest some time to get some return on that investment of money.” So, perhaps if you do have a coach, they are there every Friday waiting for you, and you have paid for it, you may as well find that that is going to be motivating to you to get something done.

Darren: Yeah. The next one really relates to this and that you need to keep tracking.

Stacey: Yeah, this relates to my love of stationery. I like notebooks, I like organised Evernote folders, I like all of these things. The biggest thing for me was that I did not know how far I had come, so I could not see how far I had yet to go. So the best thing that I could have done was I wrote down the goals, I wrote down where I was at when I made the goals, and then (obviously), I wrote down where I wanted to go and the steps that I had to get there.

When it comes time to the next point to review them, you’ve got all the data there in front of you, you can’t really make a proper assessment if you are just looking at it quite vaguely. A little notebook that’s just for your blog goals, an Evernote folder, or the note app on your phone, whatever it is just as long as you’re keeping track of where you were, how you’re doing, and where you got yet to go.

Darren: And then the last point was with you.

Stacey: Yes, but it’s the only real way that you can see if you have made any progress. I am sure you have got an intrinsic idea of what you have been doing but reviewing them not only to see how you have gone. If you’re still interested in that goal, there’s no point trying to reach your goal that no longer serves you or you are no longer interested in, so it’s still good to see if that’s still going to get you where you’re going. If you’re still excited about it, if it’s still something you feel as though you want to spend your time on. There are a few reasons to review the goals but at some point that you do, sometimes it’s a step that people skip and I wouldn’t recommend that. You definitely need to have a look at what you’ve done.

Darren: Yeah, I find that it’s obviously a great time of year to review the role of playing, and we always, as a team these days. When I used to do it by myself, I would always sit down and do a review and then do the plan […]. It’s often in the review that you do notice little things that happened during the year that you didn’t even notice the time but when you look at where you were at the start, where you are at the end, that you can see something quite big did change.

Stacey: Yeah for sure. I actually wrote a post last week about how to do an end of year blog audit, to see whether your blog has performed the way you wanted it to and also how you would feel about it, like are you still excited about that, is that still something that you want to spend your time on. I think it’s still important. It’s such a busy time of year and everybody’s running around doing everything they need to do but 10 minutes, 20 minutes, half an hour that you sit down and really assess where you’ve come from and that’s the only way that you’re going to get a proper goal for next year is to see what you’ve actually done this year.

Darren: So you finish off the post with three reasons people don’t set goals and we’ve touched on a couple of these already. The first one was you are too busy. What do you say to those who were saying, “I don’t have time for this”?

Stacey: No one has time. They make time. If it’s important to you, you will make the time. Maybe don’t watch that TV show one night, maybe clear everybody out of the house and have half an hour where it’s just you and your notebook. We have to make time scheduling and if  your schedule is on, if that’s the only thing that’s going to work for you, then you actually have to sit down and say this is important to me. Here is the time that I’m going to do it.

Darren: Yeah and it can be short or long as well. I know a couple of friends of mine just went away for a weekend together. They’re both bloggers and they spent the whole weekend brainstorming and planning next year, whereas I’ve got another friend who took a 10-minute coffee break then came up with her goals in 10 minutes. The kids were going crazy but she just put that time aside. I think whatever time you’ve got available you just need to put that time […].

Stacey: Yeah, and you’re really going to make a priority or just make it done.

Darren: I think you’ve mentioned a few times your love of stationery. Sometimes, getting that new book, that notebook, starting to use Evernote for the first time, or getting that new app, sometimes that can just give you that little spare one as well. I don’t think you should spend too long looking for the perfect app, but sometimes, you just have to do that type of thing, just to give that little nudge along as well.

Stacey: Yeah, and I have definitely been known to scribble down some ideas on a scrap of paper and then write it neatly in my new book when I get it. So you just got to get them down. There is no way it is going to get done if you don’t make it a priority.

Darren: I found the next one that you talked about really interesting because I often come across people who say, “Oh, I just don’t really know what I want with my life. It’s almost like I have these vague feelings of what I want to be or what I want to achieve but they haven’t actually got that firm idea. Maybe that’s a personality type thing or maybe she just hasn’t had the time to think about it, but […].

Stacey: There is also the personality type like me who’s interested in so many things that they never pick one or two to devote their time to because everything is so interesting. You would love to be a master of it all. It’s pretty important, again perhaps like physically writing it down when you spend that little bit of time having to think about where you would like to see yourself in a year’s time or in five years’ time.

As you are going along doing the dishes, taking the kids to school, whatever it is that is taking up your time during the day, your brain never gets that chance to really just relax and have that idea of what you really want to do and where you want to be going. So, until you take the time to have a think about what you want, you probably could not articulate what you wanted and you have never taken the time to.

It is a big thing. People are just too busy or they want to do everything all at once. They don’t quite know what they want and that can be such a big stepping stone to finally figuring out where you are headed when you take the time to think what do I want? Where am I going? Where do I want to spend my time?

Darren: I’ve jotted down a few notes on this one as well. I think some people will just get so overwhelmed about not knowing what the future is going to look like, that they don’t actually […] anything and I think one thing I wrote down is you don’t need to know your whole future. You just need to identify that next best bet for you and that was something that I think […] said at the World Domination Summit a couple of years ago. Identify your next best step and so don’t always be thinking that you need to know to be looking at the horizon because you don’t often know what is on the horizon. It’s just vague shapes and you just need to work out. 

A general direction sometimes would take a step towards the vague hunches that you have. It’s okay to not see it clearly. Also, I think having a goal doesn’t lock you in. You touched on this before. You’ve got to have some flexibility and it’s often in that next step that you work out the goal.

Stacey: For sure. I have done that so many times.

Darren: You discover your passion. You discover, “Ah I really love that,” and people really responded to that. The next step might be a little experiment that you do that reveals to you the big thing in your future as well. The other thing I like about that next best step is that it doesn’t have to be perfect, your next step and your goal might actually be you discovering that you shouldn’t go in that direction anymore. I think that is totally fine as well.

Stacey: It might be a big fat fail, but it will point you (eventually) in the direction where you are going.

Darren: Definitely. So, just put some time aside and work out your next best step. The last thing that you said in terms of an objection people have the goals is that they don’t know […]

Stacey: Yeah. When you talk to people about goals and they are like, “I would not even know the first thing about setting a goal,” well I am just taking care of that for you with this post. The best thing to do is get a cup of coffee, get a glass of wine, get 10 minutes, a nice notebook, and just let your brain slow with whatever it is that you want to do with your blog, with your life, whatever, and have a little bit of a brainstorm.

As I said before, you prioritize those into short- and long-term goals, run them through the snot filter, and then break them down into those little chunks that you can achieve daily, weekly, monthly whatever it is. You can put that list of goals where you are going to see them, so can keep on track, you can paste them on your wall, you can put them on your laptop, you can use it as a screensaver on your phone, anything like that.

If you are into accountability, then you email your friend or you find a buddy to buddy up with him and help each other. Do the first task that you have set down for yourself. Just as you said, take that next best step. I’m sure the post will be in the show notes for people to come and check as they are writing down their goals, but you can no longer say, “Oh, I don’t know how to write a goal,” because I’ve just done it for you.

Darren: Yeah, we definitely will link it to the post in the show notes today. One last little tip I think really bounces off your last point there, is actually once you have written your goals and identified your next step is make that first step something that you can achieve in […] 10 minutes. Make it a really little first step, so within 10 minutes you have achieved something that is taking you towards your goal. This really gives you a sense of achievement, it gives you a sense of momentum, and I think it’s really important. Maybe the first few steps should be the little things that you can really take off quick and will give you a sense of […] as well.

I hope you enjoyed my chat with Stacey today. I certainly enjoyed kicking the New Year. I hope with her today on this particular topic and hope that it does help you with your goals-setting for 2016. It is really important to do this type of thing and I would encourage you to set a little bit of your time aside in the next day or two to look at your own goals. 

Again, you can find today’s show notes including some further reading at Just a little announcement that for the next few weeks over the month of January we’ll be going into a weekly show. I know in December we are doing three shows per week but January here in Australia is summertime and I am away with my family doing a little bit of relaxing.

I may record a podcast or two while I am away but I do have one weekly show plan for you over the month of January. Once we hit February, you can expect a couple of shows per week as per normal. We’ve got a really great one with a very special guest, which will kick that series off in February. I look forward to chatting with you in the next few weeks on the ProBlogger Podcast. Happy New Year.

How did you go with today’s episode?

What other questions, strategies and tools do you use to help you set and achieve your goals? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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