Now I know it seems early to reflect on 2015, but the year is over halfway finished, and I feel it’s time to start looking at 2016.
I recently wrote about focusing on the “next step” towards your dream, instead of thinking long term. One of our readers asked me how I felt about goal-setting and it got me thinking.
Setting concrete goals is an important “next step” but not as necessary as some might think. It’s still debatable whether or not people who set goals accomplish more than those who don’t.
Instead, I like to take a slightly different approach: theme setting. Pick a theme for an interval of time (month, year, etc.), and build action items centered around each theme. Allow me to explain…
Pick a Theme
For those of you new to this blog, my end goal is to be self-employed by the year 2019 (the year my wife graduates from pharmacy school). My dream is to be a stay at home dad with a successful online business to keep me busy and supplement my income.
How will I get there? I have no idea. A lot can change in five years, that’s why for the time being my dream is still on the horizon.
So earlier this year, I mapped out a five year plan. It wasn’t a complicated list of everything I needed to do. Rather, it was five simple bullet points:
- 2015 – Learn
- 2016 – Implement
- 2017 – Invest
- 2018 – Build
- 2019 – Launch
Each year represents a theme to embrace. Instead of constantly focusing on an end goal – launching an online business – I use each year to slowly and methodically grow.
Dissect into Action Items
I then took each year and broke it down into actionable items. For example, this year I wanted to:
- Grow our email subscriber community to 100 (80% of the way there!)
- Grow our Twitter following to 1,000 (85% of the way there!)
- Take at least one writing course (finished one in April)
- Finish a rough draft of a 20,000 word eBook (8,891 words written so far)
- Launch an online course (coming August 31st)
- Develop a daily writing habit (going strong!)
Stay within your Theme
This year is all about trial and error. It’s easy for a content creator like myself to feel the pressure to succeed. Therefore, with a theme based approach, I’m less inclined to worry about failure this year.
Take my eBook for example. As you can see above I’m about 45% of it completed so far. I read over it a few days ago and it sucks. But I’m cool with that, this year is just about trying and practicing.
I’ve also spent a great deal of time learning about marketing, entrepreneurialism, content creation, grammar, and social networking. At times I feel overwhelmed by all the information; 10 Things Every Successful Person Does Every Day, 12 Ways to Boost Traffic, 7 Tools Online Entrepreneurs Must Have!
But again, no pressure. I’ve filed away articles I find helpful so I can reference them next year when I switch to Implement mode.
Right now I’m only learning, absorbing, gathering, and practicing. Come 2016, however, I will begin to strategically implement what I’ve learned into action. I will focus on the areas that I deem are most important while still continuing to learn.
How about you? Do you have a five year plan? If so, what are your major themes? Let me know in the comments below.