Who 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 TheNextGoal.com 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.
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: