When I was a child, I thought retirement was for old fogies who were too aged to be productive in the workplace. Seriously, I was convinced that retirement equated to being put out to pasture, left to while away the days in a state of relentless boredom. At least that’s the way my grandpa made it sound. Grandma, on the other hand, took to retirement like a duck to water. More content than I’d ever seen her before, Grandma filled her days with the exploration of one beloved hobby after the next. Maybe this concept of retirement wasn’t so awful after all.
With my 40th birthday looming ever closer, I recently retired from the corporate rat race, and moved to Hawaii. I couldn’t have done it without setting clear and detailed goals. A simple post-it note on my wall that read “Hawaii” helped, but that was just the start. To turn that post-it into tangible bliss I turned to the likes of Zig Ziglar and internet marketing expert James Martell for a crash course on setting goals that equal results.
Setting Goals Helps You Monitor Your Success
Whether your goal is to retire early, earn a sustainable income online, or simply get a better handle on your social media management, it all begins with writing it down. Like James Martell says, “if you start putting things to paper it forces you to think”. Easier said than done, most folks don’t even know what they want to do with their lives, let alone how to establish the goals to get there. So expect to spend some time giving careful consideration to your goals, as well as how to make these ideas come to fruition.
Goal Setting Guidelines – Seven Easy Steps
- Write it Down – It’s great to have a big, lofty goal of enjoying a four-hour work week while living like royalty, but something like this requires smaller goals be met along the way.
- Determine the Why – Okay, okay, I get that your reason for wanting this is to earn a comfortable living, but I’m pretty sure it goes a little deeper than that. Do you want to earn a comfortable living so you can always have money and not have to worry about unforeseen circumstances? Maybe you want to be able to take two vacations a year without having to scrimp, save, or survive on a shoestring budget? Whatever your reason, it goes beyond simply earning an income, because you can do that anywhere, anytime.
- Determine the Challenges – Before I retired from the cubicle farm, I was trying to juggle my day job with freelance writing deadlines. Talk about burning the candle at both ends! If you’re trying to work a regular job in addition to your social media efforts this would be one of the challenges to add to your list of challenges and obstacles. Maybe you would like to hire a writer to produce content but have a very limited budget in these early stages, add this to your list of obstacles as well. Essentially, anything that may slow or hinder your progress should be included here.
- Determine the Resources – You’re not alone! Help is always available! You just have to consider the people and resources around you that can help you meet your goal. Maybe you can have your mom watch the kids a few nights each week while you work on pre-publishing content for the days to come. Or your neighbor can carpool the kids to soccer practice, allowing you a few precious hours each day to work towards your goals. Perhaps your daughter is especially talented when it comes to photo editing. All of these can help you combat the challenges which would otherwise cause detours.
- Determine Your Role – Now that you’ve thought about how everyone else can help you, think about what you can do to help yourself. There’s no need to take total control of every aspect of the project. Yes, I understand that it’s your baby, but don’t you have enough on your plate already? Be realistic in what you can do, will do, or are willing to do, then outsource the rest using contractors found through Elance.com.
- Develop a Plan – In this important step you’ll want to determine a clear plan of action which acts as a sort of to-do list to reach your goal. Here you’ll be able to see what has to happen, who is in control of what aspect of the project, and what parts must be completed before moving on to the next phase.
- Establish a Time Frame – Now that your ducks are all in a row, you can better determine how long it will take to move your project towards successful completion. Setting a goal of 600 pages of fresh content each year sounds daunting, until you realize this really amounts to two pages of content per day. Two pages, or two hours of work, is reasonably attainable compared to trying to generate 600 pages at the last minute.
True success is built upon a foundation of smaller successes, so start with something you feel you can reasonably attain and write it down. Even if it is as simple as publishing two pages worth of content every day, this adds up to over six hundred pages of content by the end of the year – a very worthwhile goal.
Goals are Easiest to Achieve Through Consistent Effort
Consistency is key. It’s not enough to simply determine a goal and post pleasant reminders around the house, you’ve got to really think it through so you can see measurable progress as you get closer to your dream. Once I made the goal to retire and move to Hawaii I established a time frame of 30 days to make it happen, then arrived on the big island some 28 days later. Finding success in social media is no different, it requires the same adherence to goals and the steps to reach them. Start small, remain consistent, and build from there. First the Ferrari watch, then the matching sports car.
Freelance writer Rachel Cook could live the rest of her life on a white sandy beach in a wooden shack as long as she had internet access to upload her articles to clients. With Christmas time right around the corner, she’s browsing websites like for gift ideas for the family.