Last year, for the first time ever, I sat down and came up with a list of 5 concrete goals to work towards, with the deadline of April, 2015. I also created, for the first time ever, a list of 5 monthly goals, which I am proud to say that I accomplished every single month this past year. Some of them are directly related to my overall goals and some not so much. Today I want to tell you about what worked this past year, what didn’t, and why, and come up with a fresh list of monthly goals for 2013, to help me reach my overall goals.
As a reminder, my overall goals are:
- Write a book about my Peace Corps experience
- Make $3,000/month in passive income
- Play every song in my Intermediate Mandolin book
- Have 250 daily visitors to my website
- Perform 100 random acts of kindness.
My monthly goals for 2012 were:
- Write 5 pages in book
- Save 20,000 dram to Roth IRA
- Play mandolin 5 times
- Draw 2 times
- Post 4 blog entries
As I analyzed my goals and accomplishments this past year, I realized something. It’s something I should have realized a long time ago, especially as I even posted a blog entry about it. If my monthly goal didn’t line up with at least one of my overall goals, it was much much harder to get it done, every single month.
Makes perfect sense, looking back on it.
The following is my analysis of my monthly goals.
Monthly Goal 1, write 5 pages in book, increased over the course of the year to 10 pages, because I realized I wasn’t pushing myself very hard to make progress in my book. Then in November, since I was writing my novel, I gave myself permission to go back to 5 pages that month. I now have 128 pages written in my book about Peace Corps. None of it is very cohesive, and most will probably be scrapped when I get to the editing stage, but I’ve made a good start. Now my writing needs to be more focused. I have a very vague idea what I’m writing about; for now I’m just getting my impressions down on paper. I probably have enough now, to go back and see if I can find any major themes to focus on. One idea I had was to find out what other Peace Corps volunteers have done with their service in Armenia. So far, I have interviewed about 26 Peace Corps volunteers about their experiences in Peace Corps, and have a list of about 26 more who have expressed interest in helping me with my book. So while I’m still here, I need to be more disciplined about interviewing them. I need to do at least 4 interviews per month.
So for my overall goal of writing a book about my Peace Corps service, I need two monthly goals:
- Write 5 good, focused pages (or edit 5 pages)
- Interview 4 PCVs–until August, 2013. (After that I can drop this monthly goal.)
Monthly Goal 2, save 20,000 dram to Roth IRA, correlates to my overall goal of making passive income. It’s not much, but I figured it’s what I can do for the time being in Peace Corps. This goal, for me, was fairly easy. I’m good at saving money. The only problem is I haven’t figured out how to actually get my Armenian dram to my American investment account. So I’ve been taking the money out of my Armenian account and holding onto it for when I get back to America. This isn’t enough, though to help me reach $3,000 in passive income. I’m hoping my book will help, once it gets published. But I need to find out more about passive income and possible sources. If anyone has any resources for me, please help me out.
For now, I will continue to save money for my Roth IRA. My monthly goal for 2013 will remain the same until August, then depending on my job situation, the money amount will probably change. My monthly goal will remain:
- Save 20,000 dram to Roth IRA
My monthly goal of playing my mandolin 5 times went fine. Five times a month isn’t very much, but I wanted something that would be possible for me every single month, so I took into account that some months are very busy for me. It was hard to be really motivated for this goal, but it helped that I have the overall goal focus of getting through my Intermediate mandolin book. I’m about halfway through it now. I need to find ways to keep up enthusiasm for this. Maybe take my mandolin to more gatherings, practice playing with an audience, watch YouTube videos for inspiration… I can’t decide if 5 times a month is too low or not. I’ve definitely noticed that if I play more frequently, I play even more frequently. If I let it sit, I let it sit more. Whatever I’ve been doing, I tend to keep doing, in other words. So if I set my goal higher so that I have to play more frequently, it will become a more frequent habit.
For this monthly goal, I will try uppping the number by one this year and see how that goes. My new monthly goal is:
- Play mandolin 6 times
My goal of drawing twice every month fell completely flat. It was the very last goal I accomplished every month, and always felt like a chore to me. I tried to change the number to 5 one month, with the same theory about the mandolin playing. If I have my drawing stuff out more and get used to drawing, It will be easier to do. I drew 5 times that month, but it was still the last goal for me to finish. I realized this was because I didn’t have any overall goal to attach this to. It was like I said before–busy work with no purpose, so I couldn’t find a good reason to get it done.
I’ve decided to keep this goal, but to change it a little, to match up to my overall goal of doing random acts of kindness. This will give it more purpose and still satisfy my need to be creative and “artsy.” Instead of drawing, I can make a card, write a letter, design something in Photoshop, etc. My new monthly goal is:
- Create 2 things for other people
My monthly goal of posting 4 blog entries went fine. I did it every month, and didn’t usually struggle too much to get it finished. Some months I posted more than 4 times. But looking back, and seeing other blogs out there, I realized that an average of once a week is not very much in blog-world, especially when I want to increase my daily blog traffic. My current traffic is about 100 hits/day, and it definitely spikes when I post something. If I post more often, the traffic will definitely rise. Also, if I post more on a schedule, people will know when to come back for new content. Besides posting blog entries, there are other things I can do to increase my blog traffic, like comment on other blogs and try to get guest posts published on other blogs. I can also publish guest posts on my own blog.
I will try the following 2 monthly goals this year, related to my overall goal of increasing my blog traffic.
- Post 5 blog entries
- Submit 1 guest post to another blog
Finally, I had nothing in my goals at all about exercise. I’d like to incorporate something, in order to stay healthier. I also don’t want to keep fluctuating back to my “usual” weight, if I’ve managed to keep those pounds off for a given amount of time. It’s not much of a fluctuation, but it’s enough to get me discouraged sometimes. Basically, I need something to get me started on exercising and not give me an excuse to put it off. For this monthly goal, I’d like to have an overall goal as well, related to fitness or health, to keep me on track. My monthly goal needs to be sustainable through my Peace Corps-America transition next August as well.
My new monthly goal for exercise is:
- Do 100 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, and 300 squats
I don’t know what my overall exercise/health goal should be. It could be related to body fat, weight, accomplishing an exercise challenge, or something else. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
So these are my monthly goals for the upcoming year. Wish me luck!
I would like to hear what you would like to accomplish in the upcoming 12 months. Let me know in the comments.
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