Short Term Goals, Long Term Vision

Retirement PlanWho doesn’t dream of retiring in comfort, not having to worry about growing old and sick, dying alone, or dining on cat food? How many of us really plan ahead that far? I admire those who have a five-year plan, a ten-year plan – but frankly, I don’t know what I’m going to have for lunch tomorrow.

That said, I do have a vision for how I’d like old age to go. I’ve watched too many men die, shortly after retirement, to believe there’s no connection between a sense of driven purpose and a long life. Then again, I’ve known of men to die at their desks in the wee hours of the morning – so driven to achieve that they died alone, at the office, unnoticed.

There’s a happy medium, I’m sure.

My long-term goals are modest: I’d like to retire while I’m still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy my time off work, with enough income to live independently and enough to travel a bit. Comfortably travel, not backpack through eastern Europe on $7 a day. I’d like to die with my own knees and hips, and I’d like to die quickly, painlessly, and blissfully unaware of the fact that I’m dying. I’d like not to outlive my own kids, and I’d die happy knowing they’re happy, independent adults with families and purposeful lives of their own.

I don’t dwell on all that for the moment, though.

My Next Goal (the Very Short Term)

My next goal is to win immunity in Week 7 of Weblogbetter’s Surviving the Blog Contest. You can bet my teammates (sorry – “rivals”) Larry, Ntathu, and Neeraj all share this short-term goal. We’ve been focused on doing this for seven weeks, now – and we’ve been doing it by talking about how to achieve our goals! So, step by step, what do I need to do?

First, I need to formulate a “SMART goal.” This week’s objective is “to get as much traffic to this week’s blog posts as possible.” Straightforward and specific enough, but not very SMART. I need something measurable

Keeping in mind that “R” stands for reasonable, how many unique page views are reasonably  possible? One way to figure that out is to measure past performance:

  • How did I do on my worst week, with my least popular post? It’s a pretty sure bet I could hit, if not exceed, that target with each post I write this week. Let’s call that number x. That’s achievable, but not likely to win me Immunity.
  • How did I do on my best day, with my most popular post? To think I could do that every day gives me my aspirational number. Let’s call that number y.
  • The mean is z. That’s reasonable.

Now I have a “measurable” goal. I’ll need to track it daily, for each post I publish, to ensure that I am on track to achieve at least z unique pageviews daily – but preferably y+ unique pageviews daily—by Friday. I’m going to call that [target range].

What’s the deadline? Friday, 12/2/11, at 6 PM. There’s the “time-bound” aspect of a good SMART goal. What does that yield – written as a SMART goal?

To win immunity by generating at least [target range] unique pageviews for posts written and published by me on between Monday, 11/28/11 and Friday, 12/2/11.

That Which Gets Measured Gets Done

I’ll share the stats with you at the end of the week, and will blog about which traffic generation tips worked, which ones didn’t, and which ones I didn’t try because they didn’t seem like a good “fit.” It’s important not to lose sight of your core values in pursuit of your goals. Ask yourself if ends justify the means.

And Then What?

Win Immunity again in Week 8. You know, sometimes, long-term success comes down to something as simple as “Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.” You’ve heard the old joke: How do you eat an elephant? Of course it’s easy – one bite at a time.

How You Can Help

Read and share my posts, please. Comment – then close your browser, walk away from the PC for a bit, “breathe” as my teammate Ntathu would say – but be sure to come back later and continue the conversation.

Do you have any suggestions you think will help me to achieve my next goal? Ana Hoffmann of Traffic Generation Cafe helpfully gave us all some great suggestions for using Twitter and comments to increase traffic to TheNextGoal. If you have any additional ideas,  I’d love to hear them! Please comment on this post and give me your advice.

Thank you!

As a thank you for helping me to meet my next goal, I’d like to give you a free report on my experiment in improving my Alexa ranking – with specific tips on improving your own blog. Just click the button below, tweet about this post, and you’ll be taken to a download link:

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About Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children's books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, "It's All a Matter of Perspective," at

About Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children's books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, "It's All a Matter of Perspective," at


  1. i believe these goals…may it be short or long makes us plan our future.It enables us see what we really want to happen

  2. short term and long term goals are a great way to plan for your future.Me i set short term goals 3 days from now and long term for a year or more.

  3. Sorry I saw this post too late for it to do you any good, but I do like the post and if I hadn’t been in the middle of a last minute push to write 20K+ in 2 days on NaNoWriMo might have come to more of these posts. I still found it helpful a couple of weeks later! 😀
    Grady Pruitt recently posted..Developing A Healthy Mindset For Weight LossMy Profile

  4. Tell me about it, Viv. I still can’t feel my bellybutton, but I can feel darned near everything else. Some days, that’s a good thing. Some days, not such a blessing.
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted..7 Links, 5 WritersMy Profile

  5. Congratulation on being one of the winners of this contest. I am here to do my share to help. I tweeted your post as well 🙂
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..The 3 Most Important Factors Of Persuasive WritingMy Profile

  6. I have one artificial knee and need another. I may need an artificial heart, who knows. I’m a coward when it comes to surgery, but if surgery means a better quality of life …
    Vivian Zabel recently posted..When discouragement arrivesMy Profile

  7. Don’t be too hard on replacement hips and knees! My mother had a knee replacement at 87 last year and it has restored her mobility.

    As for me I want to go out with a bang, either a heart attack at age 95 while streaking on a public beach or better still at the same age, falling off a Thoroughbred at full gallop over the last fence in the veteran servicemen’s steeplechase held in England every year.

    I won’t complain if I have to endure a few metal joints to keep me in the saddle or on the beach.

    How about a competition to help you reach your goal? Isn’t there a reality show about 1000 ways to die? What about “How I would choose to spend my last day” That might be too morbid,

    Good luck.
    Peter Wright recently posted..Online Scamming Season gets into full swing.My Profile

    • If I weren’t laughing so hard, Peter, I might misunderstand that and think you didn’t mean a writing contest.

      This contest is all the “reality show” I care to participate in for the foreseeable future, thanks! And you’re right – I know you’re right, Peter. They do wonders with artificial hips and knees, these days. But I hear the rehab is hard and the memories of a torn ligament in one knee, 25 years ago – a knee that now predicts the weather with about 90% accuracy – is still fresh.

      Still… I like your idea about the steeplechase. I haven’t really ridden in years, but always thought that looked like a thrill. My dad always tried to discourage me and steer me back to the notion of dressage. Something more ladylike and less likely to get me killed. But if I had a choice between steeplechase and skydiving, I’d be looking for a saddle…

      Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

      • I agree Peter! A well engineered Titanium/Chromium joint is better than giving up and hobbling around for lack of a worthy goal or motivation.

        Your Mom sounds like a keen gal!

        Hope you don’t get arrested on the beach or in posession of a saddle Peter:)


  8. Do you have a particular brand of cat food you recommend? I generally have to feed my cat the expensive prescription diet, and I would want to get something less expensive for myself. Are there any taste tests out there?

    Just planning ahead


  9. Good luck. I thought I had everything worked out to retire when my health forced me to do so, but by the time medicare kept increasing premiums and the medicare supplement did, too, our comfortable cushion became the bottom of a deep well.
    Vivian Zabel recently posted..Christmas begins with musicMy Profile

  10. Wow, talk about self-serving spam. The Holly I know is contained in the first few paragraphs before the bullet points…

    I’m planning to die in a kayak on the Ocoee River after teaching my kids how to talk-down the guy that collects recyclables. During the holidays, it’s a hassle when the dude in the giant truck won’t accept foil and rejects my entire load on the curb because aluminum-foil isn’t his idea of aluminum.

    Holly tucks every “urban-rub” away in a suburban tomb like Ermma Bombeck pooh-poohs an embarrassing neighbor’s mailbox or choice of coolots when she’s allowed that option.

    I hope this contest isn’t consumed by the “mundane tsunami” where folks don’t actually have to write something that someone might “Love” reading.

    • Dave, can you explain your last sentence to me? Are you saying you WANT us to flood your inbox with a tidal wave of mediocrity? Or…

      Double negatives confuse me. You know that.

      Metaphors, on the other hand, I read those loud and clear. Trockle, Irma, and Prunebutt are just ITCHING to write you a post on how boring grown-ups are with their metrics-driven goal-setting and crap. Trockle’s goal is to wake up on Christmas morning in a stocking stuffed with broccoli. But not the usual, ordinary broccoli – no, he’s discovered Romanesco. Isn’t it terrible when they grow up and acquire champagne tastes on a paper-route budget?

      You know what goes really well with spam? Romanesco and gorgonzola.
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted..Do You Think Like A Frog?My Profile

      • I was giving you a hard time, of course. This goal setting stuff is making me, a reader feel like a non-performer. I subscribe to a passel of industry newsletters and I always delete those that talk about goal setting as those writers use subjects like goal setting, or a history of Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, etc. as a topic when they blank-out and don’t have anything to write about yet have a need to fill a writing obligation.

        This contest has been enjoyable enough to hold my interest because the content has been substantial and the writing top-notch by all. I enjoyed this post because you wrote about the obvious goal of winning, I’m pretty sure your friends and opponents didn’t get my humor and that’s why writing will never be among my goals.

        I actually fried some thin-sliced spam a couple weeks ago. I discovered that I had never introduced my kid’s to spam as a culinary option. They loved the SLT’s (spam, lettuce and tomato sandwiches). Somehow, the real spam never made that ever changing punch list of parenting goals but it’s checked off now.

        Here’s hoping that you continue framing and explaining the mundane, expected and tolerated subjects in Bombeck style:)

  11. Hi five girlfriend. Holly I love how you weave all the info tips and inspirations into your post. You are a great role model and am glad we are on same team. Have a great week.
    ntathu allen recently posted..An Update On The Next Goal TeamMy Profile


  1. […] Imagination Needs Play Time, which I wrote in response to Dave M.’s rather pointed comment on Short Term Goals, Long Term Vision. Dave wrote, “Wow, talk about self-serving spam. The Holly I know is contained in the first few […]