Confession time: I’m really good at setting goals, but not so good at following through with them. Time is a limited thing, and I’m constantly reprioritizing activities and goals in order to keep things moving. Aside from this site, I still maintain a professional career, a family, stick to healthy fitness/nutrition goals, and still need time to actually do the things I write about.
I can’t do all of it all of the time.
One of the tools I learned about to help combat this is avoiding “annual thinking.” I first heard about this when another blogger I follow mentioned The 12-Week Year. Annual thinking leads us to “annualized goals.” The short explanation is that we become complacent about actually pursuing our goals because the deadline looms far off into the distance.
This kind of thinking plagues every person and organization in some way. Think about mad dashes to meet sales quotas for the end of the year. While in the military, I put off things like professional development or formal education because “I’m just too busy right now.” Those the deadline always seemed far off and would take care of it after this project was done or I moved to that team.
The problem is that the busyness never goes away. If you’re doing things right, it always seems like demands on your time get higher and higher.
So, instead of thinking about your goals in terms of the year, break them into shorter-terms.
The best way I’ve found to actually make and achieve long-term goals is breaking them into shorter segments. I’ve been doing this for years to combat complacency. But it was only after I left the Air Force and joined the private tech sector that I learned there was already a name for it in the software business: Agile.
The trick here is to set some larger goal for yourself and then break it into a series of “sprints.” Each one of these represents some sub-goal that leads to the final vision.
Each sprint lasts some set amount of time. They could be two weeks or three months. Within each sprint, you only focus on the objective right in front of you. As you work through them, you automatically achieve your overarching vision.
It’s important here is that you limit the number of things you’re working on at the same time. Focus.
I’ll Go First
I want to hear about your goals this year, including all of your short-term sprints. Remember, your goals should be specific and measurable. You have to know when you’ve actually completed them, so saying something like “To become a better shooter” isn’t going to cut it.
To get things started, I’ll start with mine.
A few things here:
- Grow The Everyday Marksman community to 5000 active and involved subscribers (hint: you guys are a part of this)
- Generate enough income through The Everyday Marksman so that it pays for itself (web hosting, domains, and supporting email/security/social functions aren’t free)
Interestingly, my marksmanship and other skillset goals are not part of that. It’s because I’m getting to those as part of the breakdown. I figure that by pursuing those goals and writing about them, then it supports my overall vision for the community and bolsters my own capabilities in the process.
- By April 1st, 2019, complete a downloadable PDF guide for buying an AR-15 rifle
- By April 1st, 2019, pass the technician and general amateur radio license tests
- On April 6th, 2019, successfully finish a GoRuck Tough event
- By July 1st, 2019, Participate in a formal pistol-training course to supplement my rifle training
- Compete in at least two local marksmanship matches before the end of Q2 2019
- By October 1st, 2019, write at least four guest posts for other blogs
- By October 1st, 2019, have at least four guest posts written for The Everyday Marksman
- Before October 1st, 2019, complete one overnight solo “bushcraft” camp and write about it
- By December 31st, 2019, have one physical product to sell through the site (stickers, mugs, swag, etc.)
- By December 31st, 2019, Develop an online-training curriculum to support the community vision of “Tactical skills for a life well-lived”
You’ll notice a few things here that might be…unexpected. I’ve wanted to learn more about radio communications for a long time and have followed guys like NCScout over at Brushbeater. I figure that radio is part of a nice well-rounded skillset.
Speaking of skillsets, I’ve been hinting at camping and woodcraft-related outdoors topics a lot lately. It’s another passion of mine, and one I want to explore that a bit more. Before long, things around here might start looking like Boy Scouts for grown men.
Most of my focus so far has been with rifle marksmanship. The simple truth there is that I have a lot more time behind the rifle than I do pistols. Don’t get me wrong, I’m competent with a pistol, but I know there’s a lot more room for improvement. I’d like to spend more time learning, practicing, and writing about pistol shooting this year.
One last thing. I’m being up front with you that I’m trying to make a little income on the side with the site. Don’t worry, I have no intention of setting up paywalls for articles or aggressively pushing ads into your face. I’m searching for ways to generate income that don’t violate your trust in any way. One of those might be selling bits of swag, e-books, and other items.
In the long run, though, I have another grand plan that I’m keeping a lid on for now.
Over to You
Now you see where I’m going with this. Tell me, what are your goals for the year?
Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He’s former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He’s a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.