4 Ways to Accomplish Your Goals in 2017

Maybe 2017 is the year you promise yourself to pay off your debts or visit a new country. Whatever goal you set for the new year, by articulating them, you’ve taken the first step toward accomplishing them. But that’s the easy part.

Identifying our goals is key to reaching fulfillment. It helps us stay focused and gives us a sense of direction. With the new year around the corner, it’s a good time to take a step back and reflect on resolutions that need to be made. But it’s one thing to have a goal and another to make the effort to achieve it. It’s even more important to have a plan for making it all happen.

It’s not uncommon for people to set the same resolutions each year. That’s because they don’t really develop a true sense of commitment. They quickly forget about them after the first few days when all the hype is gone. And I get it, it’s hard. Staying motivated is the biggest obstacle. You usually feel this intrinsic energy at the beginning, but it tends to dwindle as the months go by. There is more to it than sustaining motivation though.

The Problem With How We Set Goals

When it comes to goal setting, we tend to focus on the changes we want to see in our lives, but not on the steps that will lead to them. We aim for things like losing 10 pounds by summer, but we don’t look at what we can change in our diet or commit to going to the gym at least once a week. Or we say things like, “I want to read one book a week” without making time each day to read a few pages.

As James Clear argues in How to Achieve Your Goals Easily, “the problem is this: we set a deadline, but not a schedule.” In other words, we focus on the outcome, but not on the process. As a result, we tend to set goals that don’t take our reality into account and pressure ourselves to achieve them by the arbitrary deadline. We only look at the end goal instead of the building blocks that will allow us to get there. And when it doesn’t happen, we feel like a failure.

How to Set Your Goals

Think about where you are in life. Is there anything you’d like to change? How have your actions in 2016 contributed to your long-term vision? Do you feel closer to where you wanna be? Try to objectively answer these questions.

Did you only work hard for a raise, yet promise yourself you’d diversify your income? Be honest with yourself. We all struggle to create the changes we want to see in our lives, but it’s only by acknowledging them that we can make progress. If your current situation fulfills you, congratulations! I wanna be like you when I grow up!

When setting goals, you’re essentially trying to bridge the gap between your dreams and reality. If you don’t take your current situation into account, you risk falling into delusion.

Take Jamie for example. She has 3 kids and is the only breadwinner in the family because her husband is a stay-at-home dad. She makes about $70K a year working as a communications director at a non-profit and that’s her only source of income. If Jamie makes the resolution to become a millionaire by the end of 2017 without changing anything about her situation, she’s not being realistic. It’s not like she can magically get that kind of promotion at her job. Instead, if she decides to increase her income by $36K, that’s a more approachable goal – and one that can eventually lead to her dream of becoming a millionaire. Breaking it down, she’d need to make an extra $3,000 a month and she can do that if she gets a raise and makes time to freelance on the side. And again, she’d have to take an objective look at her life and figure out these pockets of time.

I’m not saying you should lower your expectations, but rather, stay away from arbitrary deadlines for these lofty goals. Think about what you can do now to create a different outcome and focus on that.

How to Accomplish Your Goals

Photo credit: Marwa Morgan via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Now that we’ve established how to set goals, let’s talk about ways in which you can actually accomplish them.

In the past year, I have set many many goals. Some I was able to achieve and others I’m still working on. I am slowly figuring out the strategies that guarantee results and have come up with a few solid ones:

Be specific

Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. Wishes are nice, but they don’t pay the bills or make us happy. It’s easier to do that with some goals than with others, but you can create a plan for everything. Let’s look at some scenarios:

Example 1: Shaun wants to become a Forbes contributor. Where does he go from there? These are all things he can do to maximize his chances:

a. Develop his expertise

  • Identify his area of expertise
  • Learn as much as he can on the topic (from blogs, interviews, podcasts etc.)

b. Build his portfolio

  • Share his thoughts by launching a blog, podcast or YouTube channel
  • Produce as much content as he can (2-3x a week)
  • Get publicity from smaller publications (Cold pitch editors)

c. Research his publication of interest (in this case, Forbes)

  • Familiarize himself with their voice and try to implement that in his own writing style
  • Look for what they’re missing in terms of content
  • Determine how he can use your expertise to bring value to them

d. Connect with already existing contributors and get their insights

  • Research the content in his specific niche and collect the writers’ information
  • Cold email 2-3 of these people every day and see who responds
  • Invite them out for coffee and ask as many questions as possible
  • Build relationships with these insiders and express his interest in contributing

Shaun can easily just set the vague goal of becoming an influencer. But he knows that’s not specific enough, so he figures out exactly how he wants to do that. Once he establishes that he wants to do it through having a Forbes column, he chooses to be proactive and commit to small, daily goals. With much consistency, he will eventually be able to reach his goal.

Example 2: Cynthia plans to enroll in grad school next year, but before that, she wants to save as much money as she can. A vague goal would be, “I want to make more money so I can save more.” A better goal setting approach would be, “I want to save $12,000 before grad school next year.” For her to make that much, she knows she first needs to make more money at her job or find other ways to make money. Here are steps Cynthia can take:

a. Get a raise

b. Monetize her other skills (i.e. finding bargain deals, travel planning, coupon collecting)

c. Sell a product (i.e. start an Etsy store or resell thrift deals on Ebay or Amazon)

Sometimes, our goals are so grand that they can overwhelm us. Work backwards. From the big vision, determine the small, measurable steps. And by that I mean, outline the entire process. You will not only have a sense of direction, but you’ll be able to celebrate small victories. Create a system and stick to it.

Set visual reminders

On your walls, on your desk, on your fridge, on your lock screen or on your car wheel – set visual reminders everywhere. If you can picture it, you can do it. Visual boards work wonders. You can even host a “visual board” party with your friends where you add pictures or other pieces of content that remind you of your goals. Want to learn photography? Cut out a pic of a camera (okay, this may be too literal, but you get the idea). Seeing your goals is more powerful than writing it down.

With that said, having a checklist is just as fine. To-do lists work wonders for me. They help structure my thoughts and get things done one by one. But if you’re a visual learner, find ways to include post-its in places where you’re more likely to see them.

You can even treat your social media platforms like an extension of your visual boards. Fill your Twitter feed with inspirational quotes or the updates of the people you admire. If you want to become a jewelry designer, crowd your Pinterest boards with techniques and images. Save your favorite motivational TED talks or YouTube videos. You can design your environment in such way that it becomes your visual reminder.

Track your performance

Every 1st of the month is like a new year for me. I take it as an opportunity to review the previous month, see where I stand with my goals and determine what to do next. Whether you do that monthly or quarterly, be sure to set some time to track your progress. This will keep you connected with your goals and ensure you’re going in the right direction.

As some saying goes, it’s only when you look back that you can see how far you’ve come. Be sure to check in every now and then and stay in touch with yourself.

Have accountability

When you have people to hold you accountable for your goals, you tend to feel more motivated to reach them. This probably has to do with our ego – which often wants to “prove something” to others and ourselves. A great way to do that is to tell people.

Sure, it’s embarrassing to share your shortcomings, but you’d be surprised by how much support you get once you tell people what you’re working on. Join mastermind groups or document your goals via public blog posts. It will help you stay in track and you might find out that you’re not alone in your journey.

As I once read, “One year from now, you’ll wish you had started today. It’s that simple. Just start.” It may seem like nothing is changing day by day, but when you look back, you will realize all the progress you’ll have made.

Don’t let your goals drown in your daily routine. Change your routine so that you can reach your goals. Most importantly, make some new resolutions each year.

What are your 2017 goals? Let me know in the comments!

If you like this post, subscribe to my newsletter where I share tons of tips that help multipotentialites make a living by doing all the things they love.

4 Career Resolutions to Make in 2017

I don’t believe you should only make resolutions at the start of each year, but I really enjoy the tradition. It forces you to take a hard look at your situation and assess the changes that need to be made.

With 2017 around the corner, it’s a good time to review the year and commit to some new goals. I started writing down my 2017 career resolutions after I heard a quote from Doug McCormack in the Listen Money Matters podcast. It goes:
“No matter what your profession, you are a business owner. Your business sells labor and manages assets to support the spending needs of your family. Labor is likely your largest asset and must be actively managed just like your finances.” – Doug McCormack.

This quote has changed the way I think about my career. It reminded me of the book, “The Start-up of You” in which the authors make you see yourself as a company and urge you to invest in your success. This new approach will definitely manifest in my professional life and I set 4 main career goals for 2017. Feel free to use them as inspiration to advance in your own career:

Constantly update my skill set

The multipotentialite in me already has that covered, but I plan to take it to the next level. For example, if I decide to freelance in graphic design, I will master all the tools like Illustrator and InDesign. I’ll take it a few steps further and create different marketing materials. You get the idea. I basically decided to allocate more time to developing my abilities.
In a world where job security is obsolete, the ones who really stand out demonstrate adaptability, open-mindedness and curiosity. If you’re feeling stuck at your job, take on a new challenge and learn something new. If you don’t want to switch to an unrelated area, work within what you already know. If you’re a teacher, maybe you can sharpen your communication skills or learn how to use multimedia in your lesson plans. Whatever it is, keep pushing yourself. You will position yourself for upward mobility and financial progress.
Find the medium that works best for you to learn. Workshops? Seminars? Podcasts? Online courses? Books? The tools abound.
The saying, “Be so good they can’t ignore you” is my daily mantra. It’s easy to fall into stagnancy, but your brain will thank you for always exercising it.

Work for what I want

2016 has taught me a valuable lesson and that is to stop waiting on people to give me the green light. I used to wait on opportunities to come my way, but once I realized my power to create opportunities for myself, I never looked back. I’m not one to complain, but whenever I get frustrated, I will take it upon myself first to fix a problem.
Too often we react to our circumstances when we have the tools to change them. We dread Mondays and get excited on Fridays, but we don’t look for a job that will change that mindset. We wait for a promotion, yet do nothing to actually earn it. Don’t let people decide what you can or cannot achieve. If you picture it, work for it.
As the saying goes, “One year from now, you’ll wish you had started today, It’s that simple. Just START.”

Read more

I did fine with reading one book a month this year. I also listened to a lot of podcasts and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. But in 2017, I want to raise the bar to 2 books a month. In an earlier post, I talked about how I’m currently learning about investing so I will most likely be reading more books on the topic.

You can gain so much knowledge from reading! If you want to familiarize yourself with a particular topic, pick up a book. When I read Seth Godin’s thoughts, I feel like a marketing expert myself.

Network and pick my circle carefully

As much as I hate to say it, “your network is your net worth”. As much as we’d like to do everything ourselves, we were brought on this earth to coexist. As Stephen Covey argues in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “the ability to work together (interdependence) is what will allow us to advance together”. Meeting new people is fun and most importantly, being surrounded with the right ones makes all the difference!

We absorb so much of our environment it becomes crucial to carefully design it. If someone (or something) isn’t adding to your growth, limit (or if possible, remove) your exposure to it. You only need people who believe in you and make sure you support them as well!

Related:

How to Pursue All Your Passions at Once

The Secret to Career Success No One Tells You About

What are your new year’s career resolutions? Let me know in the comments!

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How to Pursue All Your Passions at Once

My name is Shelcy and I am a proud multi-passionate millennial! I probably came out of my mother’s womb with a pencil and notebook – writing down all the things I was born to do. Having multiple passions makes life more complicated, but it can be a strength if you embrace it.

I’ve talked a great deal about the many things I currently have going on. My primary job is in digital marketing with a special focus on social media. On the side, I freelance in writing, photography and video production. I’m also taking courses in coding and investing. Even with all this, I somehow make time for my loved ones every week.

I used to feel hesitant whenever people would ask about what I do in social settings. I’d stutter and ramble on. I’ve come to accept my personal brand as a multipotentialite. I know it sounds crazy, but I feel very fulfilled by my crazy lifestyle. It accurately reflects my multi-dimensional self. I’m always learning and challenging myself to do more.

If, like me, you’re multi-passionate and you’re wondering how to pursue all your passions at once, consider the following:

Pick your 9 to 5 carefully

A lot of people think of pursuing their passions in terms of their primary job. It makes sense because that alone takes so much of their time. If you can only manage a full-time job, yet you are passionate about seemingly unrelated things, make sure your main gig incorporates different responsibilities. In creative industries, it’s not uncommon for people to have hybrid roles where they do a variety of things.

For example, if Jane is passionate about technology, business development, content analytics and marketing, a career in product management might be a good fit for her. Her tasks would constantly vary and she’d get to explore all her interests.

I cannot see myself doing only one thing at my job. That’s why on any given day, you’ll find me blogging, taking pictures, writing copy, creating videos or doing community management. This is because my position falls under the umbrella of “digital marketing”.

Keep in mind that your 9 to 5 doesn’t have to be a regular office job. Whether it’s working for someone or  for yourself (as is the case for a freelancer or an entrepreneur), your primary job is what you dedicate the most time to.

As Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Start a side hustle

There’s no better way to scratch an itch than to start a passion project. Maybe it’s catering lunch for special occasions or bartending on weekends. Whatever it is, a side hustle can be the creative outlet you may not find at your job.

Let’s go back to our fictional character Jane. If being a product manager doesn’t completely satisfy her because she’s also passionate about event production, she can get involved in communities that regularly throw events and learn the ropes. Then she can eventually start her own event series – and if she wanted to combine all her interests – organize meetups to connect other product managers.

Regardless of your reason to start a side hustle, it’s a great way to explore a passion, learn a new skill and possibly earn some extra income along the way.

As Roy T. Bennett said, “Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.”

Cultivate hobbies

The best way I’ve heard someone define a hobby is, “Any activity that makes you lose a sense of time”. What do you do when no one else is watching – collecting coupons, writing poetry, reading? The answer will hint at your hobbies. A hobby is different from a side hustle in that it requires no special time commitment. You do it whenever you want and there’s no pressure to achieve a specific outcome.

Keeping Jane as our example – it turns out she loves gardening too! It’s not a skill she’s expecting to monetize. She just does it on the weekends because she genuinely enjoys it.

Putting it all together, here’s what the life of a multi-passionate like Jane would look like:

From Monday through Friday, she works as a project manager where she gets to indulge the analytical and business-driven side of her brain. Sometimes after work, her creative side takes over and she hosts a variety of events like workshops or meetups to network with different people. When the week ends, she loses herself in gardening because she finds it therapeutic.

See, it’s totally possible to pursue all your passions at once! It takes a lot of work, but the results should be measured in happiness points.

The difference between people who dream of doing what they love and the ones who do is that the latter group takes action. Dreaming is passive. Moving is proactive.

To quote Shanti about doing all the things you love, “At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.”

Are you multi-passionate? How do you pursue all your passions at once? Let me know in the comments!

If you like this post, subscribe to my newsletter where I share tons of tips that help multipotentialites make a living by doing all the things they love.

3 Traits Every Multipotentialite Shares

While most people typically follow a traditional path – go to college, get a job then work until retirement, multipotentialites are different in that they actively carve their own. They don’t necessarily have one true calling unlike people who discover their vocation early on. They try different things, start passion projects and leverage what they learn in order to reach success. Because they go against the grain, they tend to face more challenges in their quest for fulfillment.

Traits every multipotentialite shares

Being one myself, I’ve been around a lot of other multipotentialites and I’ve noticed some commonalities among us. Each one of us is unique in our talents, gifts and creative pursuits, but something connects us all. I’ve boiled it down to the 3 traits every multipotentialite shares in the inforgraphic below:

Are you or do you know anyone like that? Please let them know they’re not alone and share this post with them!  You can download the infographic here.

If you like this post, subscribe to my newsletter where I share tons of tips that help multipotentialites make a living by doing all the things they love.

Related: Your Dreams Don’t Have to Make Sense to Anyone

The Secret to Career Success No One Tells You About

3 Actionable Tips to Leverage Being a Jack of All Trades and Land More Gigs

How I Made $310 From Craigslist Gigs in One Week

Sometimes, you just want to increase your income without doing too much work. Craigslist gigs can do the trick. When your salary falls short of your financial goals and you don’t have time for a second job, these low-commitment tasks can help!

Making money on Craigslist is easier than finding a job because the standards are different. However, it takes the same proactive attitude. You have to aggressively look for listings that fit your skill set and apply. There is a part you can’t control and that is, waiting to hear from your prospective clients. But you can maximize your chances by applying to as many gigs as possible because making money on Craigslist is a numbers game.

It’s no surprise that a lot of people hate it. On top of competing with other job seekers, you have to screen the ads for potential scams. The saying, “Practice makes perfect” applies to making money on Craigslist. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

I’m always looking for easy ways to supplement my income and Craigslist is my go-to site for scoring work quickly. I made $310 this week from the platform. It’s not a huge sum of money, but hey, it covers a bill or four. I documented all of it:

Gig #1 Survey Writing – $110

making from craigslist - survey writing

Task: Write a 12-question survey testing how members feel about the potential sale of their club.

Time: 1 hour

The only reason I got paid so much is because the client really needed help. I was apparently the only person who responded to his ad and it was a time sensitive project. This was a pretty sweet deal.

Gig #2 Proofreading – $200

making money on Craigslist - copywriting

Task: Edit a 2-page article

Time: 3-4 hours

I found the posting while browsing the “writing/editing” section under jobs. I’m always on the lookout for these opportunities, so when they don’t appear under gigs, I find them in other places.

Regardless of your personal feelings, Craigslist is a legitimate platform to make money on the side. It’s not the most user-friendly site and the interface is updated, but once you get past the hurdles, it can lead to some real business opportunities. I will walk you through the process.

Once you go on the website (it automatically defaults to your location), click on the “Gigs” section at the bottom right of the page. You can select a specific category, but I usually click on the full list because I don’t think they efficiently filter out unwanted offers. Once you click on “Gigs”, it will look like this:

Craigslist

 

On the top left section, I like to deselect domestic and labor gigs because they aren’t what I’m looking for. But you can adjust it based on your own preferences. I then click on the “Paid” and “Posted today” sections to choose from the most recent postings. Applying these filters reduces the number of listings and makes it easier to find what I’m looking for. It then looks like this:

Craigslist

I then scan the column and apply to my listings of interest. Because I’ve been doing this for a while, I know how to spot potential scams. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Spelling or grammatical mistakes
  • Level of details/transparency (The more specific, the better)
  • Contact information (For accountability)
  • Reasonable compensation (If you think it’s too good to be true, it likely is)

These factors can help you determine whether or not a gig is legitimate, but there is no guarantee. Ultimately, you should always go with your gut. If something doesn’t sound right, follow your intuition.

There isn’t much you can do once you send your application, but making money on Craigslist is a numbers game. Apply to as many gigs as possible and the right people will eventually get back to you.

How do you make money on the side? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks so much for reading! If you like this article, please share it with your network. If you like this article, subscribe to my newsletter where I share expert advice and tips like these!

Related:

3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Diversify Your Income

How I Earned $655 From Random Craigslist Gigs In One Month

Your Dreams Don’t Have to Make Sense to Anyone.

When I was little, I felt the pressure to blend in with my classmates when my teachers asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. I’d absentmindedly repeat what everyone expected me to become, “a teacher”.

Exploring My Potential

how to do what you love

At a young age, I taught kids from low-income neighborhoods how to read and write. I really enjoyed the experience; it was not only humbling, but very fulfilling. This is how my family and friends came to think of me as a teacher. I absolutely loved it, but I always felt like I could do more. Yet, my career options were limited – or so I thought at the time.

Growing up, I was never encouraged to challenge the status quo. That applied to my career as I thought having a traditional profession was the only way to success. Despite that mindset, I jumped on every opportunity to release my potential. I created a few side hustles, which I documented here. I participated in extracurricular activities and cultivated hobbies.

Articulating My Vision 

how to do what you love

At 13, I knew how to draw, paint and write poetry. I was also learning how to design clothes and sew. While this gave me a better sense of who I wanted to become, I was still not able to articulate it. It contrasted with my parents’ expectations and deviated from mainstream careers. Fear kicked in and I chose to conform to the existing paradigm.

I didn’t have the courage to completely rebel so I struck a happy medium. I majored in neuropsychology and minored in creative writing and media studies. I needed to nurture the side of my brain that craved creativity. By that time, I knew I wanted to create stuff for a living. While taking organic chemistry and molecular genetics, I ran a lifestyle blog and started a YouTube channel with my sister. I stubbornly fought to keep my passions alive. I had a genuine interest in the brain and its role in behavior, but I couldn’t see myself  following that path after graduation. So I built up the courage to tell my parents I was choosing differently. Few people approved my decision, but there was no turning back. It was intrinsic to being who I am. I felt alone in my quest, but I didn’t let the naysayers stop me. I have since dedicated myself to the pursuit of what I love.

Owning My Dreams

how to do what you love

Just because people don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not valid. Your dreams don’t have to make sense to anyone. We all have unique talents and the potential to live the life we want, but too often we choose to fit in a box for the sake of safety. We ignore our inner voice and do what’s expected of us, knowing we need more to be happy. We can always tell when something is not meant for us, yet we let fear hinder us. Fear of failure. Fear of disappointing the people around us. Or maybe we lack confidence in our abilities. As Robert Kiyosaki said in Rich Dad, Poor Dad, excessive fear and self-doubt are the greatest detractors of personal genius.

Let that sink in…

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the years. I know that I’m fueled by doing different things, which makes me the perfect mutlipotentialite. I’m seeing some success with what I’m doing, but not that’s the most important thing to me. The best part is that I’ve learned so much from the process that I’m fine with any outcome. Obviously, I want everything to work out, but it’s not a zero sum game to me. I will win either way because of developing a growth mindset.

Think about it. You take a risk and decide to carve your own path. What’s the worst-case scenario? Failure? Embarrassment? You’ll survive. When your self-worth is validated by an outcome, you remove the possibility to learn from every experience. Every new venture provides information that will allow you to grow. As with everything in life, finding yourself is about the process. Be brave. Take small steps in challenging your fear and give yourself the chance to be.