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Whether it’s the beginning of a new year (like… right now) or the beginning of a new project, most of us have set lofty, ambitious — even audacious — goals.
Guilty? Me too.
But how often do we actually hit those goals? If you’re anything like me, the answer is a resounding “never.” Why not? Well, I’m usually drunk on optimism & ignorance — clueless to the amount of work (and resilience) required.
“One Ambitious Creator Cocktail, please — hold the Reality”
For Growth Currency⚡, I knew things had to be different if I wanted success. So when I started my newsletter 2 years ago, I set one long-term goal & one “ongoing” goal:
These were goals that strictly required my action to achieve them.
If I do the work, I win.
Last week, I published my 100th weekly edition, accomplishing both goals I set 2 years ago (🙌). I set two concrete ‘Action’ goals and achieved them. I’ve been reflecting on why they worked, and believe that all my goals going forward will fall into two distinct buckets — and if you suck at setting goals, maybe this will help you too:
I’m not a goal-setting expert/guru/savant, so I’m not suggesting this will work for everyone, but it worked for me.
Action goals require you to take action and create a habit or routine. Your success is found in doing the action, not in the outcome of doing it. These repeated actions build positive momentum.
This is important because it allows you to focus on the actions in the beginning. You won’t get distracted or discouraged by the outcome of your actions (like followers, likes, website visits, subscribers, sales).
Once you start hitting your action goals repeatedly, reassess.
For example: I just hit my 100th edition. I’m now reassessing because I have a better picture of what’s possible. I know what’s worked, what hasn’t, where my energy is best spent, and most importantly: I know what I want and what I’m capable of.
I shared two Action goals earlier for my newsletter, but here are others to spark some ideas for you:
An outcome goal is something you achieve as a result of your Action goals.
But be careful: having an ambitious aim is important, but outcome goals can be dangerous if you set them too high, too soon. Be patient.
You control your actions. You can’t control the outcomes.
Outcome goals shouldn’t be set until you have an idea of how you’ll achieve them. Outcomes are the result of an action formula. You need to know what actions are needed to achieve them.
Action(Y) + Action(X) = Outcome(Z)
IMPORTANT: Outcome goals need a clear strategy, including the Action goal(s) required to achieve them. Otherwise, you’re setting a goal with ‘hope’ as your strategy. I don’t need to tell you how that’ll end…
An Outcome goal I recently set for my newsletter is to reach 10,000 subscribers by the end of 2023. I’ve set that goal now because I started with Action goals. Had I set that goal 2 years ago, I would have given up immediately. But now, I have a good idea of what actions (how much work) it will take to reach 10,000 subscribers.
I also know that’s a milestone I want.
Sounds like common sense, right?
We get hypnotized by others’ success and seduced into thinking it’s what we want. We see accounts with 100k followers and think that’s what we need, too. Or we see a founder sell their business for millions. And think that’s a desirable goal.
I saw The Hustle and Morning Brew making millions and then sell their newsletters for millions more. I thought I wanted that.
Until I realized I didn’t.
I didn’t want to work 80-hour weeks and scale a business. I don’t want to build an empire. I wanted to build something helpful, enjoyable, and profitable. I’ve reassessed and reset the coordinates for my newsletter from “empire” to “lifestyle business”. All thanks to the Action goals I originally set.
So why do I want 10,000 subscribers by the end of 2023? Because I want my newsletter business to bring in enough revenue for me to scale down my full-time corporate job and scale up helping others build their newsletters.
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My open rates were suffering - until I made 2 changes.
Here’s how one newsletter is getting readers hooked.
As I publish my 100th newsletter edition, I reflect on how my aimless hobby turned into a 5-figure media business. And how it all comes back to ONE goal.