I’m a full-blown Type A person, so goal-setting feels deliciously second nature to me. There’s pretty much no planning related book, Pinterest post, or technique that I wouldn’t be all over, and the idea of establishing a definite roadmap for my year hits all my OCD spots in a way that is borderline R-rated.
Like many people who really enjoy goal-setting and planning, however, I struggle with keeping my objectives realistic and with sticking to the intentions I set in January. Looking back at the goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2016 in my bullet journal (yes, I’m one of those bullet journal people – did you even have to ask?), it’s painfully obvious that I was over-ambitious and also that I didn’t really go back to track my progress throughout the year.
One of the ways to try to keep goals for the year more realistic is to subdivided them into smaller goals assigned to shorter periods of time. I’ve decided to set yearly goals for both myself and the blog that I’m going to subdivide when possible into smaller digestible chunks with clear target dates. By doing so I can also refer back to my intentions every 3 months or so to determine wether I’m still on track, refocus my motivation and adjust as necessary.
I started picking a word for the year a few years ago. I like the additional focus it brings to my goal setting and the process of figuring out which word to pick really gets me thinking about the ways in which I want the coming year to be different from the one before. My word for last year was Simplify and I think I may have gone overboard with it, especially with regards to diminishing my social obligations. This year I’m picking Renew because I’m looking to bring some change to life in its key areas – career, social life, health, finances – but I don’t want to completely revolutionize things, I want to keep what works and refresh what doesn’t.
I also like to create a new Pinterest board each year focused on my word for the year as well as on any images and quotes that resonate with me and set the mood for what I want my year to feel like. You can make the board private if you want to be as comfortable as possible to get very personal in it. I’m going to create my 2017 one this week – it’s always an inspiring and motivating process for me. It can also be a great affirmational tool to turn to as part of your morning routine. You can refer to it briefly when you wake up or every so often to re-center and refocus your intentions.
I think my overarching goal for the blog in 2017 is to increment my viewership sufficiently that I can turn Novels And Nonfiction from a hobby to a small source of income. So far I’ve had so much fun learning about blogging, WordPress and social media, and I’m also enjoying the level of structure and depth that having a book blog is adding to my reading. I will likely just then reinvest that income in the blog by purchasing a custom-made theme, moving my blog to a self-hosted platform and maybe investing in some promotion – and of course books 🙂
- Increment blog viewership to 10,000 views per month by the end of 2017. I currently get about 1000 views per month, so I’m hoping to hit 2500 by end of March, 5000 by end of June, 7500 by end of September and 10,000 by end of December.
- Post 4 times a week most weeks. I’m getting the hang of writing review posts and other types of posts, so now that I’m a bit faster at it, I’m hoping to increment my posts from 2 or 3 a week in the last three months to 4 a week as consistently as possible.
- Have a two-week backlog of posts. I’m aiming to have this implement by early Winter 2017 (in fact I’m working on it right now) and to be able to keep it up throughout the year. I really would rather be able to dedicate time to writing posts on the weekends rather than feel the pressure of writing a blog post the night before or even morning of its publishing date.
- Bring Twitter and Instagram followers to 600 by the end of 2017. My Twitter and Instagram followers are currently between 200 and 250, so I’m hoping that hitting 600 by the end of the year is realistic. I would like to hit 300 by end of March, 400 by end of June, 500 by end of September and 600 by end of December. Hopefully this a conservative expectation and I actually do even better than this.
- Increase my WordPress followers to 250. I have 59 WordPress followers currently (hi guys! Thanks for following) and I would like to reach 100 by end of March, 150 by end of June, 200 by end of September and 250 by end of December. I really only want to gain followers organically, so I’m okay with slower growth to gain people who are really interested in my content.
- Create an organized archive page on my blog to provide an easy way to look through all the books I’ve reviewed to date. I’m hoping to start this week and have this done by end of January 2017.
- Create more Pinterest friendly images for applicable blog posts. My Pinterest is lagging a bit compared to other social media platforms, and the reality is that it’s hard to make images that work well on Pinterest for individual book reviews. For Book Lists and other kind of posts however, I can make tailored images to link back to the posts that will be more palatable to Pinterest users.
- Participate in more Top Ten Tuesday linkups. I’ve already planned most of my Winter 2017 editorial calendar for Novels And Nonfiction, but once the Top Ten Tuesday topics for late January, February and March are posted, I’m going to review it to see if I can add in a few more Top Ten Tuesday posts to the mix. I’m going to aim for 2 TTT posts in Winter 2017, 3 in Spring 2017, and 4 in Summer and Fall 2017.
- Run one or two big giveaways. I’ve only done one giveaway on my blog so far, and I think I want to wait to run more until I can put together book packages that will be really exciting for my followers. I’m aiming to run a giveaway in the Spring and one in the Fall, then we’ll see how it goes.
- Run the Thanksgiving Read-A-Thon again with Jackie of Death By Tsundoku but with more advance planning and promotion so we can make it a bigger event. I really enjoyed this year’s first attempt but it was super spur-of-the-moment, and I think we can get more people to join with sufficient notice.
- Start monetizing the blog by including limited ads and applying to Amazon Affiliates. This is a late 2017 goal – I’m not expecting to get to it before the Fall. I made the mistake of applying to Amazon Affiliates as soon as I started my blog and my account was ultimately closed because I was not getting enough traffic through my affiliate links by Amazon’s standards. I’m going to wait until I’ve incremented my viewership significantly before reapplying and starting to use Amazon links again, of course always disclosed. For now I’m using Book Depository, which still has competitive prices and ships worldwide (and free to the U.S.).
The three things I’ll be most focused on at a personal level for 2017 will be health (losing a bit of weight I’ve gained), finances (increasing savings and eliminating the little debt I have) and jump-starting my social life.
- Read 120 books in 2017. I thought I would start with my reading goal, since it’s the most a propos for my book blog. I read between 30 to 40 books a season, so I think the goal of 120 is definitely doable for me. I plan to set it in my Goodreads and see how I do!
- Restart my morning routine. I don’t know what it is about winter, but with the darker mornings and colder temperatures (even in Los Angeles) I’ve fallen off the wagon with my morning routine.This is really several goals in one since it involves starting to meditate, journal and do yoga on a daily basis again.
- Increase savings. I have a little bit of debt but since it’s of the kind I have time to pay off before it accrues any interest, I want to first focus on strengthening my savings in the first four months of 2017. I would like to hit my initial savings goal by end of April 2017.
- Eliminate debt. I have some time to pay off the bit of debt I do have, but I’m going to turn any monthly surplus towards paying it off once I’ve hit my initial savings goal. My target date for debt elimination is end of December 2017.
- Lose 20 pounds. I’ve been on a medication for a while that made me gain a little weight, and now that I’ve been able to go off it, I’d like to lose that weight slowly in the first six months of the year, 10 pounds between January and March and another 10 between April and June. I don’t want to crash diet or get obsessive about it, just increase my workouts to at least 4 times a week, increase water intake, limit sugar, carbs and fried food, and that’s about it.
- Socialize more. I’m hoping to focus on this goal especially in Spring and Summer 2017. As a homebody who loves to stay home and read, I have to work to resist my urge to stay under the covers. I want to hike regularly with friends, go to farmers markets, attend church weekly, volunteer with the rabbit foundation that I work with, date when the mood strikes me and go to the usual movies and dinners.
- Secure a promotion at work. My work is on a review cycle that ends in October, so though my boss is already aware I’m hoping to be promoted at that time, I should start discussing how to frame my promotion request with him beforehand, as early as June or July 2017. I have many of the responsibilities that are associated with the next level title in my department already, and I’m hoping that my hard work will be officially recognized with a promotion in Fall 2017.
- Travel to a city I’ve never been to for my birthday. I try not to use vacation days for other purposes than to visit my family in Milan twice a year, but I can afford to spare one for a long weekend somewhere I’ve never been like Seattle, Nashville, Austin or Vancouver.
- Recommit to being minimalist in my purchases and in what I own. I shopped more than usual in Fall 2017, though in general I’m pretty spare in what I own. I want to implement a practice of questioning my purchases in terms of needs vs. wants again, and try to stick to a policy of only replacing things I already own that need it.
- Cook one or two new recipes per month. I’ve been on an avocado toast, 5 minute slapped together meal and Trader Joe’s frozen entrée kick recently and I’d like to reconnect with how much I love to cook from scratch while also learning some new recipes to add to my repertoire.
If you’re starting to think about setting your own goals for 2017, here are a few links I consulted before setting mine which I found useful:
Choosing A One-Word Theme For Your 2017 by Roni Loren
How To Plan Your Best Year Ever by Natalie Bacon
2017 Master Plan by Little Coffee Fox