December 28, 2010

New Year's Resolutions: No Way

If you are looking for another list of resolutions, I'm afraid this post will disappoint. Promising ourselves to lose weight, exercise more, or stop smoking never work. Statistics show most resolutions made January 1st are broken by January 31st.

So, let's not go there. Instead I want to talk about setting some goals. Goals are different from resolutions in one major way: goals have specific steps to achieve them. A resolution says, "I will lose 10 pounds."  A goal says, "I will lose ten pounds by March 1st and here are the steps I will take to achieve that goal. Think of a resolution as a goal without a plan. Think of that as an approach that will not work. It is about to be a new year. Let's try something different on our satisfying retirement journey together.

Because I can't possibly know what your goals might be, I'll use some of mine. The nice thing about a blog is these words will live on in some server somewhere forever. So, I can't deny having declared these goals. All I can do is attempt to fulfill them so I don't embarrass myself. So, for 2011, here goes:

Publish an e-book. My reading and study of successful blogs make it clear that just blogging is probably not going to be enough to push any blog to the next level. Other steps are required to get your name and brand in front of more people. One of the most effective steps is to put together a book. Unlike a traditional book, though, a book for a blogger must be available on-line for instant download. At least at first, it must be free. Its goal is not to make money, its goal is to increase awareness.

So, Goal #1 on this very public list is to have a Satisfying Retirement e-book available, for download, for free, by March 1st. Somebody keep track!

Start a web site to sell my wife's abstract photographs. Betty has so many talents it is hard to pick just one. But a goal requires a focus so I want to work toward developing a web site that sells her incredibly inventive abstract photographs. With a digital camera and Photo Shop she produces true works of art. If enough other people agree we could fund some exciting travel through the sale of her photos.

Goal #2 is to develop a web site to market her photos by May 1st.

Become one of the top 3 blogs in the non-financial retirement my one year anniversary. I'm not quite sure how I'll measure this. Maybe it will be subjective based on comparisons of subscriptions or mentions on Google. But, it is goal I'd like to set for myself. Why? Personal satisfaction primarily. If I'm involved in something I want to keep growing and developing. This seems like something I might be able to accomplish, mainly because at least 80% of retirement blogs are financially-centered.

Goal #3 is to be a top 3 non-financial retirement blog by my one year blogging anniversary, June 23rd.

Take another extensive driving Trip. I refuse to wake up some day and be upset that I waited too long to get back on the road. We enjoyed our last trip and want to schedule several more, but with one major change. Instead of being a "drive till we drop" trip they will become "drive and stop for awhile." The only downside of the driving excursion we took last Spring was attempting to cover too many miles in too few days. in 2011 the goal will be different.

Goal #4 is to take one driving trip of 3-4 weeks before the end of the year, but cover much less distance than the last one.

Simplify/downsize  one aspect of my life. I've mentioned this in posts before but I want to set a firm goal, with a date, to eliminate cable TV from our house. We watch so little that paying that bill every month is silly. But, I keep putting off pulling the plug because I'm afraid I may miss it.

Of course I can always sign up again (at probably a better, new customer rate) if it turns out to be a mistake. So, there is no real downside. I just have to do it.

Goal #5 is to eliminate cable TV by April 1st (when my current contract is up).

Five goals, a few that are ambitious, a few easier, a few more difficult. One thing about a blog is that it is public. There are nearly 5,000 people a month who can hold me accountable.

What about you?  Are you prepared to set some goals that will make you stretch yourself and sacrifice to achieve? Are you ready for the challenge? Are you ready to commit yourself to having the best year of your life?

Game on.

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  1. I'll be looking for that e book.

  2. OK. Janette. The clock is ticking!

  3. Hi Bob, You're so right that achieving a goal requires an action plan with steps. I've read that those who write down their goals are MUCH more likely to achieve them too.

    New Year's Resolutions? I am a member of the local YMCA and every January classes are full to overflowing and by February they are back to normal again-lol.

  4. Morning Janette,

    Goals and action plans are essential. I've read the same thing about writing them down. That's one of the reasons I committed to them in this post. It is written down for all the world to see.

  5. So you got me thinking – and I usually make some kind of resolution, only to totally forget about it in a few weeks.
    I am going to try your idea and make a few resolutions and set measurable goals to see if I have kept them.
    Yours are pretty ambitious – mine will be simple with the hope that I will reach the goal. Something like “try a new recipe every week” or “keep the top of my desk clean”.

  6. Hi, Pat,

    Thanks for stopping by. Starting with simple goals is an excellent idea. I took on bigger targets for two reasons: I want to push myself this year. And, frankly, it makes for a better article!

    A new recipe a week is an excellent start. When you find a really good one, come back and share it! I may develop a whole new section on food !

  7. Looks like a busy year ahead for you! But having specific goals is the way to get it done. Good luck on all and I look forward the the ebook as well!

  8. Hey Dave,

    I hope you have been having a great holiday season. I have set my personal bar pretty high. We'll see if I can clear it.

  9. Hey, Bob... What's the subject of your e-book? Will it be a compilation of your blog posts?

    Regarding your measuring the ranking of your blog, how about your ranking on Technorati?

    Regarding your "more time in fewer places" road trip, I certainly agree that less is more. I'm for longer, deeper visits. And, during your drive, if you find yourself anywhere near Central Oregon, stop by for a visit. Happy New Year, Bill

  10. I agree that goals define our objectives so much better than resolutions. So far, as I do every year, I've mapped out writing goals but not life goals. Your post has motivated me to add a goal or two to the non-writing part of my life.

  11. Hi, Bill (Adventureretirement),

    Yes, I am taking selected posts, grouping by major categories, and writing open/closes and transitional sections. We'll see how it works.

    Ranking on things like Technorati or Alexa are possibilities. The problem is the ability to sort out financially-oriented blogs from the rankings. Technorati seems unstable. I went from a score of 119 to 437 and back to 118 in the space of two weeks! So, I don't know how I'll determine whether that goal is achieved. It may be totally subjective.

    Happy New Near, Bill.

  12. Good afternoon, Ryshia,

    I'm glad the blog resonated with you. Setting goals and seeing them through can give one a real sense of accomplishment.

    I assume it is a little nippy in Saskatchewan. Bundle up and have a great New Year's weekend!

  13. I am going to get rid of "stuff" that I have not used in who knows how long. My goal is to have the contents of my former darkroom gone by June 30th! I actually began the sell off on eBay this past month. In addition reducing clutter, I am adding $$ to my PayPal account. Not such a bad thing.

  14. Getting rid of stuff you don't need and converting it into cash...a perfect plan. That's a realistic and useful goal.

    Happy New Year, Steve.

  15. Bob -- Fantastic! Good for you, and good luck. Keep us posted.

  16. Good post. I set goals each new year. I write them down because no matter if it is the New Year or not I find that I will actually carry them out if I have them clearly written out as to what I want to achieve. This year is no different and I have already been thinking of what will go on my list. There is something about the New Year that gives a list of goals a freshness to it.

    Concerning your wife's photography, you should check out some of the Art and Photography blogs if you haven't already. The best ones are set up pretty simple and they let the art speak for it's self.

  17. Hi Bob,

    This is one of the most simple yet crystal clear explanations of goals I've ever read. I liked this line in particular: "Goals are different from resolutions in one major way: goals have specific steps to achieve them."

    Clearly articulating your own goals is an excellent model for others to emulate. This makes goals setting easy and fun.

    I haven't set any goals for the new year. As you know, I'm into the "one powerful word" approach. But you've set such a shining example, I may be tempted.

    I'll be visiting on March 1st to download your ebook. :) I'm sure it will be fantastic!

  18. Busy night..I woke up to three fresh comments.

    J295, Thanks as always for the support. I look forward to continuing to interact with you in the new year.


    Good suggestion about the Art and Photography blogs. I have scanned a few but not spent much time. In order to sell her photos I'm thinking we'll need more of a commercial site rather than a blog. But, there would certainly be a marketing plus to having both, plus a Twitter presence.

    You've raised a good point I haven't given much thought to, but now I will.


    I guess my powerful word this year could be either "goals" or "stretching", as in stretching myself with aggressive goals.

    I'll look forward to your request for the e-book! Have a relaxing, safe, and enjoyable weekend.

  19. Wow,
    Those are major goals for the New Year. I think that everyone of them is possible and you are going to finish 2011 ready to set a brand new bunch.

  20. Well, Ralph, only time will tell. Now that it is out there for all to read I wonder if I over-promised. I don't like to look silly so I'll give it my best shot.

    Have great New Year's weekend.

  21. Hi Bob! Great goals. I'm cheering for your ebook and for your success. Let me know if there is any way in which I can help you achieve your goals.

    In terms of eliminating cable, you can watch TV on your computer through Hulu or even Hulu on your TV if you have the right device. You can't see show from a lot of the cable channels but at least you won't miss TV altogether. That may help you kill the cable bill. :)

    May you have a gorgeous 2011 with much success. Loving blessings!

  22. Thanks for the well wishes, Andrea. It is going to be a race, but I need the exercise!

    Besides Netflix come from Blu-ray player, we do use Hulu through the laptop and a hookup to the TV. All the major networks have their primetime shows on their web sites usually within hours of being shown.

    The good news is we watch so little TV that any loss will be unimportant, though my wife will miss HGTV.

    Love to you and your family for 2011.

  23. Hi,
    I think this is awesome. Love it! Let me know how I can help you with any of these major goals. I'll be keeping track;)

  24. I'm trying to be bold, Tess! I'm feeling good about it all. I'm working on my focus after Sandra Lee's excellent posts on the subject.