How To Set And Achieve Your Blogging Goals In 2012

This is a follow-up to my post on how to make 2012 your best blogging year. As I’ve stated in that post, I am not big on New Year’s resolutions. I am big on goal setting and feel it’s one of the keys to success. However, most people go about goal setting the wrong way and as a result, will fail to achieve the goal.

Every blogger has an ultimate goal. It’s usually something big and will take quite a bit of time to achieve. Let’s say your goal is to have your blog makes enough money to quit your job, and when that is achieved you plan to reward yourself with a new car or a month long vacation.

You put everything you got on achieving that goal. As time passes, frustration sets in because you’re no closer today than you were six months ago. When this adventure started, it was fun. Now it seems like a chore. What went wrong?

It’s Not The Destination, It’s The Journey

While it’s great to keep the end goal in mind, you have to remember to stop and smell the roses along the way. Most bloggers have an end goal, or destination, but they don’t have a map. They just want to get there but don’t know how to. It’s great to have a goal of making a living off your blog, but you also need an actionable plan to get you there. Without the plan, the goal is nothing more than a dream.

The real kicker is after you’ve achieved the end goal, you’ll discover that it wasn’t the end goal that was important. It was the journey along the way. The journey is where you’ll learn and grow. I’m sure you’ve all heard stories of lottery winners who ended up broke again after a few years. They had “success” dumped on them, but they never took the journey and as a result were not ready for it. This applies to blogging as well. If I were to give someone off the street a blog making $40,000 a month, chances are it will go to making zero within a year. You have to go through the journey.

The SMART Formula to Goal Setting

The best way to do goal setting is to use the SMART formula. The formula says that for goal setting to be effective, it has to be:

  • Specific. Drill down to the specific by asking the 6W: who, what, where, when, why and which.
  • Measurable. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. How could you possibly know you are making progress if you don’t measure?
  • Attainable. What attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity do you need to achieve it? How could you grow to match your goal?
  • Realistic. A goal has to be realistic. Set it too high and you are living in the bubble.
  • Timely. The goal must have a time limit. “Some day” is not good enough.

Reward Every Success No Matter How Small

One of the ways I keep things fun along my journey to world domination is to remember that success is cumulative and every success, no matter how small, should be celebrated. What I like to do is have a bunch of mini goals that accumulate up to the final end-goal. I don’t just celebrate at the final goal. Instead, I celebrate the achievement of each mini goal. This keeps thing fun and keeps me motivated to keep moving forward. Each mini goal is set using the SMART formula.

For a new blogger starting out, a set of progressive mini goals may look something like this.

Now, you might think that registering a domain name or setting up WordPress isn’t much of a goal but for some, it is an achievement that should be rewarded. The point is to reward yourself with the achievement of each mini goal. The reward should be proportional to the goal – you shouldn’t reward yourself with a new car for getting approved by an ad network (I tried that once, but the wife overruled it).

As an example, you might take the family out for a pizza night when you make your first $100. When you make your first $1,000, go on a fine-dining night. My rewards usually involve my family because they’re on this journey with me. It’s a lot more fun sharing a journey than to go on it alone.

As the goals get bigger, so does the rewards. Because the rewards are getting bigger and because the next mini goal seems a lot more achievable than the final end goal, you are far more motivated to keep building. Doing it this way is a lot more fun than just trying to reach the big end goal. You reach the top of the success ladder one rung at a time. It’s impossible to hit the top rung without going through the lower ones.

2012 has just started. Now is the time to write down your goals and map out your journey. Remember, it’s not the final destination that is important, it’s the journey along the way. Enjoy the journey, set up a bunch of mini goals and reward yourself along the way. I’ll see you at the top!

42 thoughts on “How To Set And Achieve Your Blogging Goals In 2012”

  1. John Chow says:

    Copycat! J/K 😛

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      @John Chow Exactly, you’re copying me. 🙂 You’ll notice my post on SMART goals was from 2007.

  2. Nice post john…..well currently iam new to blogging and using the blogspot platform for blogging and have been approved by adsense 🙂 and looking forward to you for inspiration 🙂

  3. Nice post john…..well currently iam new to blogging and using the blogspot platform for blogging and have been approved by adsense 🙂 and looking forward to you for inspiration 🙂

  4. IamNTB says:

    @John Chow Great post John ! Just like Mr. Kwan, I wrote something similar in mid December.

    A goal without a plan is just a wasted dream. I look forward to reading your posts daily and hope you have a healthy and prosperous new year.

  5. RichBlogs says:

    I completely agree with you. Setting resolutions can be detrimental to your success unless you have a realistic plan to achieve them. My plan for 2012 is to make small leaps of progress with staggered and achievable goals that will lead to my overall aim of earning my income exclusively online by the end of the year.

  6. BobRoberto says:

    Wow! This is another very inspiring article from you John. I was actually thinking what you wrote here. Did I really have the road map towards my goal in blogging? Well, I’d say not so clear but because of the insight your blog has given, now I realize I should really start a real map for my goal in the future.

    Thanks a lot John for sharing this article.

  7. doablefinance says:

    Very inspiring yet most practical.

  8. Vijay says:

    thanks John for the inspiration!

    definitly everyone set the final goals but don’t know how to reach there. This post is good example how to fill the middle gap.

    Thanks again.

  9. Mercer says:

    You’re right about rewarding early success… especially the small ones. It’s those small successes people often overlook and don’t give themselves credit for. Then they tend to feel like they aren’t getting anywhere, but only because they have acknowledged how far they’ve come. Celebrate success!

  10. deansaliba says:

    I’m not big on resolutions either, I set 11 goals last year and was quite pleased to have acheived over half of them.

  11. Tracking your goals is going to be one of the most important factor of this entire process. If you can’t see where you were in January from March then your wasting your time. Some of the best bloggers and marketers can tell you where they were in 2009 up to this point because they tracked every step. Yesterday, patflynn shared his goals for this year and they all had an end date along with tomewer too. If you want to have one of the best years to date then track your success and failures it will become much easier for you in the long run.

  12. fas says:

    Very well said John, a action plan is very important to keep us on track.

  13. Another great post! I found that monitoring my Alexa ranking daily gave me the motivation to post to my blog more often. The most I post and submit to StumbleUpon and lots of other bookmarking sites, the fast my Alexa ranking has improved. Of course, getting Facebook likes for posts is also motivating. One of our biggest rewards so far has been being able to pay for our Christmas shopping with money we made off Google ads. Granted, it wasn’t an extravagant Christmas, but it really helped and made us proud of the work we’ve done and the progress we’ve made so far. Our ultimate goal is to grow our readership to the point where we can sell advertising directly and make a living from doing what we love to do 🙂 Then sell for $350 million dollars like Ariana Huffington just sold the Huff Post to AOL! hahaha Best of luck in 2012!

  14. Gregory Paul says:

    Great Post! I am not big on New Years resolutions but I have always set goals that are attainable to keep my motivation going. Thanks again.

  15. Abhik says:

    Great post John.. That’ll surely motivate new people to blog on a regular basis.

  16. hypnodude says:

    I’ve already reached almost every goal of that list, except the mailing list and the 50 subscribers which are my goal for 2012. Let’s see if I’m able to get there. But I should surely stick to the one post per week too.

    Also John, your advice on rewarding goals achieved is perfect. The best way to keep on tracks.

    Have a great day!

  17. inFamousOne says:

    Great post John. I have you say, you are one inspirational character. 😛

  18. DrHeckle says:

    Great motivational speech, John!

  19. jeanseeba says:

    Great post John!

  20. Thank you John. I always find your posts helpful and inspiring.

  21. newtechiegirl says:

    I just started blogging myself, and these are great tips on how to get started. Thanks

  22. Harry says:

    Great advice on goal setting. You may want to check out, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate, worth a try.

  23. Amy Lee says:

    I love that you mentioned this is part of a journey. I really believe that every obstacle is to prepare you for the next bigger greater thing. It’s there to teach us a lesson and help us grow. Once you understand the lesson, you’ll be able to move forward stronger and wiser and your next obstacle would be smaller and easier to overcome.

  24. BookLeverage says:

    I like the idea of “500 subscribers” and tying fun, family-centered activities to the first $100 or $1,000. I’m going to try those. Thank you for the ideas.

  25. Thanan says:

    I think many blogger focus to make the first $100 before focus on how to make the first $100. Everyone need prize. But prize belong to only someone.

  26. Joethinks says:

    Everyone wants happiness in their lives, but it is the pursuit of happiness that keeps us happy.
    I already have three ecommerce websites (all doing ok), my next goal is to create a blog just as you have and telling people my success and failures along the way. You’ll be surprised at how much knowledge you gain when going it alone in an online world.

    Watch this space…

  27. Joethinks says:

    What are your thoughts on blog names? I would like to register, but it looks like there is a mini me out there already. So I have registered a catchy dot com. Is this better or should I go with
    I figure the catchy .com name is better in terms of the wider audience and for seo reasons. But still, I’d like to have myname somewhere in there. Even choosing the right domain name for your blog isn’t easy!

  28. casper says:

    Really like the idea of setting up a plan to attain your objectives; its exciting but requires patience and hard work and making use of your time. you may like to check out to understand how to make the most of your blogging.

  29. What You’re telling is absolutely true – nothing will succeed without a plan and without goals to reach. The only thing is, that oneself is often too lazy or too what-do-I-know to work with the plan and doing things straight from the list.

  30. The more your create a valuable content the big mass of traffic you get.

    As in your post we may observe that you respect some important rules in SEO (Search engine Optimization) ie : Keywords, keyword density, paragraph etc.

    This is a good opportunity for a new marketer who want to join the Internet Marketing.

  31. angelaksgiles says:

    John, I absolutely love this article. I love goal setting as well. The vision starts with a goal, and then, you create steps to achieve it. Thanks for writing such an information rich article. When you get a chance, check out my blog at


    Angela Giles

  32. thanks again for the tips John:

    I like the smart rule.

    I usually want to get something by the end of year, i plan but i never follow… sigh… really frustated.. now i’m writing each mini gol for my blog , offline vennture and many more.. i want to achieve it bit by bit.. just like what you thaught us John…

    yesterday, i had my website sold for 220USD . and now i’m rewarding myself at KFC, eating breakfast… ahh what a life… breakfast at kfc is a big thing in my country 🙂

    thanks again for all your tips in 2011 John…

    PS: when I try to search for your blog, i mistakenly type johncow, and i went to this website, that have a cow, and then i wonder, what happen to John, try to sell cow?? but i think it’s a good venture to John… 🙂

  33. dadispen says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tip!

    I have known the smart rule for quite long and has been applying it in my work but I have never applied it in my personal undertakings. Perhaps your blogpost is a wake-up call for me to stop the frustrations and get to enjoy the journey by setting small goals without taking my eye off the ultimate one.

    I just wrote a blog entry today but I haven’t posted it yet. I won’t be posting any till I get my own domain name which I plan to do until the end of this month.

    Here’s to seeing you at the top!!!! 😛

  34. Blogging indeed is good for those who know the in and out of the business. And that is why some newbies, a group to which I belong need to have someone like you close by as a worthy guide. Keep up your good job of serving as ‘pathfinder’ to others.


  35. Blogging is one of the thing listed on my 2012 plan. At the moment I am carrying out some resarch on blogging as I am not an expert on this field. I knew about blogging long time ago but one thing I struggled with is being creative when I write a blog. Surely after my research I will should overcome this problem. Great post and a BIG thanks for sharing this with everyone.

  36. I’m only a few goals away from the “quit job” one, although I think I’ll stick around since I’m able to do both, and enjoy my job.

  37. hwaitah says:

    Ahh! Just what a needed to refire my blogging passion. Thanks, John!

  38. hwaitah says:

    Ahh! Just what I needed to refire my blogging passion. Thanks, John!

  39. bernie cole says:

    I am always setting goals for myself and don’t shy away from making my list long or the goals on it too grand. I do find, however, that it’s easy to become overwhelmed if I don’t allow myself all the help available to me. I use an <a href=””>online tool</a> to help with every stage of every goal. Before I found it I would achieve maybe 20% of the goals I set and now I would say that’s more like 85%. That’s a pretty good success rate considering the size of some of the goals I set. Keep up the good work!

  40. Mohan says:

    I am getting decent visitors for my blog but still i would like to increase my blog traffic.I hope it will happen this year.

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