Let’s talk about goal setting.
I personally love goal setting. It’s something that Heath and I talk about a lot, especially at the beginning of a new year. If you missed it, you can listen to our review of last year’s goals here.
In this podcast episode, we want to share some of our big goals for 2018 and how we plan to achieve them.
This post is laid out in three different sections, if you will:
1. Why we take goal setting seriously
2. Our goals for 2018
3. Our strategies and tactics for actually getting these things done
Why We Take Goal Setting Seriously
Before I share our goals for the year, I want to let you know why we are choosing to make our goals public and why are talking about them so much.
Last year, my uncle said something that stunned me. He shared that he thought it was amazing that we set and worked toward goals, because no one had ever told him how to do that.
Even readers or listeners of our blog and podcast have commented on how we seem to be laser-focused on our goals (they don’t have access to my Netflix queue to know any differently).
I’ve always loved New Year’s Resolutions and set them every year (I’m eight-years strong on setting a resolution that this is going to be the year I can finally do the splits).
Why set goals? Because they keep me looking forward.
Goals keep me thinking “Hm, I’m pretty cool right now, but how can I be SUPER EXTRA HYPER cool by the end of the year?” It’s a way to push myself (and our business!) to grow and be better each year.
Because if we aren’t trying to grow and be better and do more each year, we have really good chances of the year passing and we are more or less the same at the end of it all. Of course, if you’ve already achieved perfection, this won’t apply to you.
For Heath and I, setting goals is how we keep ourselves on track. It informs us where our focus should be and reminds us what’s important. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Heath has shiny ball syndrome. And while we would love to say yes to everything that comes our way, our goals are a great guide for helping us see what opportunities we should or shouldn’t say yes too.
So let’s talk about those goals…
Standard goals we are keeping (and expanding on) from the past couple years:
(I wouldn’t even call these goals so much as they are just showing up doing the work we’ve said we’ll do with HeathandAlyssa.com.)
1. Posting at least one blog/week and two podcasts/week
2. Grow our social media followers on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook page, and our Facebook group
3. Keep growing our website page views to 250K/month (100K/month was our goal in 2017)
Our Wildly Important Goal
To stay focused, Heath and I have one wildly important goal, a concept he learned from The Four Disciplines of Execution (thanks Michael for the suggestion).
This year that wildly important goal is 10K subs on Youtube. We know we want Youtube to be our big focus and 10K is a good easy to understand goal. It keeps us thinking about our audience, how we can serve them, and how we can reach more people.
As Heath would say, that’s our “lagging goal” or the goal that we can’t really control. Our “leading goal”, aka the goal that will get us to the lagging goal, is to define our niche on Youtube and post three videos a week. (I’ll talk more about that underneath my goals section).
To give you a better idea of what different things Heath and I are working on this year, I’ve separated our goals in Heath’s and Alyssa’s. I did, however, write down all of Heath’s notes on his goals for this blog post.
Heath’s Big Goals
500,000 Podcast Downloads
Last year, Heath topped out with 350K downloads for the year after an initial goal of 200K. He doesn’t see his potential for greatness like I do, obviously.
This year his goal is to grow to 500K downloads for the year through posting consistently (100 podcasts for the year) and by being a guest on other podcasts. I’ve pushed him to be a guest on other podcasts in the past, but he hasn’t had time for it. But it’s recorded this year for him to be a guest on one podcast per month, so it’s going to happen!
If you have a podcast and want to grow your downloads this year, here’s our advice:
1. Post consistently. When we started posting every Tuesday like clockwork (okay maybe sometimes the clock is a little behind) downloads increased. It’s the professional way to do it!
2. Share every episode. This is something we didn’t do well at the beginning of 2017 or in 2016, but something we’ve focused on more in the past couple months. Share your posts and help listeners find you!
3. Be on other shows! Heath and I have done “podcast circuits” on two occasions: when we were promoting Hourly America and when Heath launched The RV Entrepreneur. Being on other shows is probably the best way to discover new listeners that may be outside of your audience, or get momentum when you’re just starting.
Learn how to edit videos
Heath has been wanting to learn how to edit videos for a while now, but picking up a new skill is time-consuming (not to mention the mental barrier of “well I don’t really need to learn how to edit since my wife is already the absolute best ever most brilliant editor in history”, his words).
Heath isn’t a half-bad editor. I’ve taught him a few things and he can get by in Premiere asking me questions only every 10 minutes now. But the work is tedious and slow-moving and he has pretty low confidence in his abilities. Hence why the videos he’s edited aren’t actually published on our Youtube or anywhere else. (He has a really cool behind-the-scenes video for Winnebago that likely no one will ever see…actually I just decided I’m going to steal it and put it on our Youtube cause it’s pretty cool!)
In 2018, he’s going to learn how to video edit with confidence. Honestly, Heath learning to edit is on my goals too, because my life would be so much easier if we could split video editing! Especially if we are slated to post three videos a week on Youtube. That’s a lot of days of editing!
If you want to learn video editing this year, here’s my advice:
Ask questions of people who edit professionally. Google everything you don’t know how to do. Someone else has gotten stuck in the same place before, and no matter your question, Google or Youtube will hold the answers.
Or take a course! I’ve used Creative Live to find good (and sometimes free) courses on film and photography.
Launch Campground Booking
Heath is currently in a launch period with 50 different campgrounds in British Columbia!!! He and his partners deserved all the exclamation points because this a long time coming. Heath said his goal was to get “one paying customer” (he sells himself short, I know!) who isn’t a beta customer, so knowing Heath he’ll probably hit that next week. I’ll keep you updated.
If you want to launch something new this year, my advice is actually written underneath my goal for the RV Entrepreneur School, so keep reading!
Run a half marathon
It wouldn’t be a new year without fitness goals!
Heath and I are admittedly terrible at exercising regularly. It takes everything in me to get 5K steps every day, and that’s not even the recommended goal! (Somehow people seem to instinctively know this about us because someone sent us a Beach Body fitness DVD with exercises we can do inside our RV).
But Heath’s goal is to run the Austin Half Marathon on February 18th, right before our RV Entrepreneur Summit. If it goes well, he’s hoping he can keep this running habit going all year.
If you want to exercise more this year, here’s my advice:
Find accountability. This is the only thing that works for me! Find someone to exercise with (in real life or virtually) and keep each other accountable.
Heath’s running the half marathon with a bunch of friends and they use the Nike Running app to keep each other accountable to run each day. (If you’re also running the Austin Half Marathon, let us know!)
Have a ton of fun in New Zealand (the adrenaline capital of the world)
Wife speaking here so take it with a grain of salt. Heath works too much. He needs more fun in his life.
In New Zealand, I’ve forced upon Heath the goal of taking time to have fun. New Zealand is apparently the adrenaline capital of the world—who knew?—and I want him to take full advantage. Bungee jumping, skydiving, rock climbing. All the things I know he wants to do but has trouble making time for. What better place to take advantage of crazy adrenaline-junkie activities than New Zealand?!
If you want to have more fun this year, here’s my advice:
Put it on the calendar! Especially if you’re someone who thinks you “don’t have time” for things. You do. It’s all about priorities.
For us this month, we have hot tub o’clock (that’s daily whenever sunset is) and we have planned days to go hiking at local state parks (we spent a half day at Enchanted Rock yesterday and it was wonderful!). Our fun plans aren’t anything too crazy—although we do have plans to go wine tasting on Saturday so you never know—but they are on the calendar and prioritized.
Alyssa’s Big Goals!
Throw an awesome second RV Entrepreneur Summit
Right now, plans for the RV Entrepreneur Summit have consumed my mind. We are already camped out in Fredericksburg at the Jellystone Park (we seriously LOVE this park) and since we are here, it’s hard to ignore the impending Summit.
When Heath and I have conversations about the Summit, we usually ask the same question over and over: “What can we do to make this more fun?”
We established three values for our conference last year: knowledge, community, and fun. Yes, fun is a value, don’t try to tell me any different!
With our killer line-up of speakers and workshop presenters, knowledge will be plentiful.
With attendee-led meetups and pre-conference activities, community is a given.
But fun is a little harder to create, oddly enough. It takes intentionality and spontaneity. It makes us ask questions like, “How can we wow attendees?” or “What will make this experience exceed expectations?”
It requires creating opportunities for random things to happen, like last year when we all took photos on the Jumping Pillow:
So far this year, we’ve brought on Xscapers to sponsor the week leading up to the Summit with activities around town (you can see the Summit schedule here). And we’ve got a few other tricks up our sleeves that we are working on (because surprises are fun too!)
The best part of the Summit last year was walking away with so many amazing friends, people we’ve met up with again and again over the past year. I seriously CANNOT WAIT until next month. I know this year will be just as amazing!
If you want to create an awesome customer experience, here’s my advice:
Freely brainstorm ways to wow your customers. We have a tab where we did this in our master spreadsheet (please don’t tell me spreadsheets aren’t fun). Dream big and don’t let things like money or time or “teleportation is still impossible” stop you. List everything you think of! I recommend taking up to an hour to do this, and yes Googling ideas is 100% allowed.
We then broke up our list of ideas into different columns: absolutely doing this, hopefully doing this, and sure let’s do this if we win the lottery and can afford it.
Some things on our list are logistically or financially impossible, but the more we push ourselves to dream big, the more ideas we come up with to make this year’s event even better than the last.
Focus on carving out a niche on Youtube
Metrics are great. I love numbers. I went through a period in college where I decided to major in Pure Mathematics, if you would like a way to gauge how nerdy I am with numbers.
But numbers don’t always make great goals.
So my personal Youtube goal is to carve out a niche for ourselves there. We have our blog and podcast niche: building and running a business from your RV. But we are still figuring out how to translate this to video.
Right now, the plan is to post three weekly videos (yeah I’m already four videos behind, we must’ve been stupid drunk when we decided three videos a week was an actual possibility): one vlog-style video, one here’s what we are working on in our business video, and one video that is more like our test drive podcasts with actionable advice.
I think we can work up to that over Q1, but it’s definitely too much to tackle right out of the gate. This is actually a big key to how Heath and I have been able to reach so many past goals. Don’t put pressure on yourself to complete them all immediately! You have a whole year. Use it.
If you want to succeed on Youtube, here’s my advice:
Read my blog post highlighting everything I learned after posting our first 25 videos or listen to these podcasts with actual successful Youtubers:
Launch and grow the RV Entrepreneur School
The RV Entrepreneur School was “created” in September of 2015 and publicly launched December 31st, 2017. Progress is slow, people!
My goal with the RV Entrepreneur School has nothing to do with revenue or number of students. My official goal is to provide value to our audience in a better way than we were previously serving them.
But when you just say that willy-nilly it doesn’t sound so much like a goal as it is a mission statement.
My less official goal is to create 12 courses this year (one per month) and for three of those courses to be paid courses. That means at the end of the year we’ll have a total of 12 free courses and 3 paid courses to round out our school.
I get really excited writing that out. As I talked about last week, Heath and I have been working in the online course space for a while now, so we are really excited to finally be launching our own!
If you want to launch something new this year, here’s my advice:
Find a cheerleader.
For me, this is my friend Kelsey. She supports everything I do (having a person like this in your life is an actual necessity, I’ve learned!).
This person used to be Heath, but since we run this business together, his cheerleading usually becomes comments like “I don’t like that photo, that should be an H3 header instead of H2, and why don’t you add 25,000 more words to that lesson real quick?”
Having someone who will encourage you, give advice when needed, and tell you that you’re being overdramatic/stupid/lazy/etc when you need to hear it is INVALUABLE if you’re launching something new.
Read 52 books (or one per week)
Last year, I read 45 books. My goal was 36 books, or three books a month. The year before that I read 24 books and the year before that only 10.
Every year, I set a goal for how many books I want to read. In 2015, I hit my goal of ten books in September…and promptly stopped reading for the rest of the year since I had hit my goal. I know, that’s a really silly approach to goals, but I’m sure I was busy with other things, probably a new season of Daredevil.
So in 2016, I said I wanted to read 20 books. One thing that held me back in the past was paying for books. I hate buying things (especially since this was while we were paying off student debt!). I discovered Prime Reading and Kindle First and that really changed the reading game for me.
If you have Amazon Prime, you can read so many books for free. Prime reading is a collection of random popular books (okay so 7 of my 24 books in 2016 were Harry Potters BUT I had never read them before! And they are all free to borrow. Highly recommend).
Kindle First (which this year they are changing the name to Amazon first reads) is where you get to read one book for free before it comes out. You get a choice between six different titles in all different genres. I’ve found some amazing books and new authors this way. I like this program mostly because it makes searching for books (a personal rabbit hole of mine) really easy.
Like I said, both of these options are free with Amazon Prime (which if you don’t have Amazon Prime, you’re probably crazy because we save SO MUCH MONEY in shipping alone with Prime, let alone all the other services that come with it) and are key to helping me find new books to read for free.
In the summer of 2017 I took a friend’s advice and now also pay for a Kindle Unlimited subscription, which is like $10.81/month with taxes. I seriously upped my reading last year. There are so many books on Unlimited, so I always have a ton of reading options. I’ve probably borrowed 20+ books on Kindle Unlimited so far, so it’s been worth it. Plus then I can have my CC auto-charged every month instead of having to pay for new books each week.
If you want to read more books this year, here’s my advice:
- Buy a Kindle (game changer for me, seriously!)
- Take advantage of the number of free books on Amazon. For me, Kindle Unlimited is worth it because when I read two Unlimited books, it pays for itself each month. But Prime Reading and Kindle First are good places to start.
I’m currently reading Eat, Pray, Love—because I like to be at least ten years behind trends—and a book on yoga for beginners—which, by the way, a contortionist can’t do half of these moves, let alone me.
How We Accomplish Our Goals Each Year
Heath and I don’t hit every goal we set each year—nor do we expect to—but we do get pretty close. We make progress on our goals throughout the year (one major pitfall with new years resolutions is everyone abandons them in January).
Here are our strategies for pursuing our goals all year:
Create leading and lagging goals
As we’ve mentioned, there are two types of goals (Heath got this all from the Four Disciplines of Execution book that he can’t recommend enough): leading and lagging.
I think what’s most important here is to recognize that you will set goals that you have no control over. For example, a lagging goal is to lose 10 pounds. A leading goal is to work out twice a week or hit 10,000 steps every day.
Whatever your goal for the year is, make sure you set two goals to get you there. It took me a while to understand what Heath meant when he started teaching me this concept, so here are a few more examples:
Lagging Goal: 10K Likes on our Facebook Page
Leading Goal: Post daily and creating weekly video content on Facebook
Lagging Goal: 250K pageviews/month on our website
Leading Goal: Publish content 3-5 days a week and share that content on social media
All of these goals work together, but one you have total control over while the other is the intended result of your hard work. I personally don’t have an opinion on if one type of goal is better than other (Heath does—all goals should be leading goals he says) but I like setting both because it gives me numbers to work toward and actionable strategies to get there.
Don’t get lost in the minutia
For years, I would set resolutions and goals but by May, I had completely forgotten about them. And I don’t mean like “Oh yeah I said I wanted to write a book in 20156, I should work on that.” I mean, “When did I say I wanted to write a book? I mean it sounds like me and all, but I have no memory of writing this down!”
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and not remember the big picture. Heath and I avoid this pitfall in two different ways:
- Writing your goals down every day (Heath)
Heath journals daily using OneNote (it’s by Microsoft and it’s free and it will sync across all your devices).
This is the place where he writes down his big goals and makes sure everything he’s working on that day is in line with them.
- Weekly check-ins and tracking (Alyssa)
Personally, checking in with your goals every day sounds a little taxing for me. I think I’d get too caught up in thinking “We only got five subscribers yesterday! We have to get at least 25 today to get back on track!”
I check-in with my goals weekly. Every Monday morning a reminder dings on my phone at 8:55 AM “Goal Check-In”.
I use a master spreadsheet to track our goals and metrics. I got this idea from Chris Guillebeau (another great person to follow if you’re looking for year-end reviews) who had a spreadsheet download on his site. But his template was set up for monthly and quarterly check-ins. I used his template for 2015 & 2016, but I didn’t check-in often enough and legitimately forgot about my goals.
So weekly works best for me, WITH reminders on my phone otherwise I would forget.
I’ve created an open template of what I use to track my goals for you here. I’ve included an Instructions tab so that you can download my template, add in your goals, and keep track of them throughout the year. This has been so helpful for me that I wanted to share it with anyone who is equally neurotic about goals and loves watching your progress week over week 🙂
Publicly stating we’re going to do them (like this)
Nothing says you’re serious about a goal like stating it publicly. We’ve done this with so many goals and it makes a huge difference. It’s helped us pay off debt, launch books, and start a podcast.
When you publicly state your goal, your friends and family become your accountability. You’re inviting others on this journey with you, and therefore you’re increasing your chances of success.
What are your goals this year?
We want to keep you accountable. Fill out this form and share your goals with us. We’ll publish everyone’s in a blog post on our website (if you don’t have any goals set or need ideas, this post will be a great way to get ideas!). You can see the list here.
We’ll then follow up with you throughout the year to encourage you to work toward your goal 🙂
Setting goals with intentionality has grown our business exponentially over the past few years. It keeps us on track and focused and we want to share that journey with you.
We can’t wait to hear them!
Happy goal setting everyone!