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?
As always, very nice. I got into comms only to further team work on cqb type training and within 6 months made my way over to North Carolina to see NCScout in his intro course…so very worth it and so excellent of an instructor and guy! HF hasn’t really gotten my attention because of the price point, but a Technicians License was so very much worth it and for $100 or so, you can go have some real fun for cheap and the license is good for 10 years. Bushcraft is where I started before ever shooting but like most… Read more »
Hey Mark! Thanks for coming by, I’ve got something I think you’ll like coming very soon. I’m glad to hear you thought well of NCScout’s stuff. He has a lot of things that are of interest to me, especially the comms stuff. I was looking over his catalog the other night and saw a few other things that looked cool, but there are some closer schools to me for doing those subjects (DMR work, etc.) I was just going to go for tech, but I may just try and do Tech/General at the same time. I’ve been looking over hamstudy.org,… Read more »
Yes, comms are a technical skill that is nearly all work and no play for me. Finding others willing to fill gaps in their skill set is nearly impossible due to schedules and life in general. People will buy a nice rifle with an expensive optic and never push to even train, let alone on a cold and rainy day…try to get them to study for a test for a few weekends and show up somewhere and invest $15 in said test?! I literally don’t know anyone who would. I inquired far and wide. It surprised me honestly. And then… Read more »
I think your frustration with people buying a nice rifle and never really doing anything else is widespread. I know a few trainers who lament the same.
My goals are to complete Desert Brutality and keep putting out a post every week. I need to make more long term goals.
What do you think about Voodoo Man’s 1-year and 5-year goal ideas?
I must have missed Voodoo’s post on that. But, generally speaking, having long range plans like that is always a positive thing so long as you can stay flexible. A lot can happen in five years that totally blow up your priority list.
Another version I’ve seen is 3 year/3 month plans and goals.
My primary goal in 2019 is to expand the Army Reserve Postal Match Program and to have it include shooters outside of the Army Reserve, to include civilian shooters.
You’ve piqued my interest. Can you share more information about the postal match program? I checked the link and read up on the postal match program, but didn’t see a schedule or calendar for it.
Is there anything I can do to help get the word out?
2019 Goals: Fighting the battle to live a more rugged life in a very soft complacent society! Continue the journey to toughen up and drop weight. (goal is to get to 215). Goal: Improve diet, increase hiking distances (5-9 mile hikes increase to 7-11 miles max weekend hikes, increase loads on Starting Strength “geezer mode” 3×5’s. Continue to improve rifleman skills. (shooting CMP Service Rifle and NRA Small bore year 2 after 28 year hiatus). Goal: Improve 440 scores to > 450 scores Get a rifle training class knocked out in 2019. (Any suggestions?) Get my 2 sons onto the… Read more »
Jerry, those are some great goals. Good luck!
I’d be happy to recommend some training courses, as I’m sure many folks around here would. Is there something in particular you want to learn?
Matt was leaning towards Ried Henrichs Rifleman 1 course. That way I could take the boys to a good fundamental class to get them started on their journey. Selfishly I would not mind putting a DMR build through its paces either. Open to all suggestions. Thanks
I can’t say I’m familiar with Reid, so I can’t really offer anything there.
Another good option is an Appleseed course. I like how they mixed in history in between lessons. If teaching the fundamentals is the goal for the kids, it’s a great program. But if you’re looking to stretch out a DMR, that’s a different animal.
Thanks Matt! An Appleseed event would surely be a cost savings and great starting point for younger shooters.