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Want to make 2023 your most successful year yet? Don’t leave success to chance. This step-by-step guide to goal setting for bloggers in 2023 will show you how to dream big… and then turn those dreams into reality!
Confession time: January 1st is one of my favourite days of the whole year.
While most people are nursing hangovers, complaining about how much holiday weight they’ve put on and moaning about the weather, I am excited, fired up and ready to go!
The start of a new year always feels like a great big white canvas stretching out in front of me – ripe with potential and full of exciting possibilities.
I love to spend the whole day setting ambitious goals and making bulletproof plans to achieve them.
But you know what?
This isn’t just true for me – it’s true for YOU too!
Every new year holds so much promise… so much potential to achieve your goals and dreams.
And yet, so many people (my younger self included!) just drift through life… and those exciting possibilities, goals and dreams never quite happen.
If so, I have great news for you!
There is a much better alternative… and that is to:
- SET CLEAR GOALS for the year ahead
- Make a SOLID PLAN for how to ACHIEVE those goals
- TAKE CONSISTENT ACTION to turn those goals into reality
This approach has been my game plan for the last few years, and it is – without doubt – the number one reason why I’ve achieved so much success in such a relatively short space of time.
In fact, I almost called this blog ‘Purposeful Blogging’ instead of ‘Productive Blogging’. Why? Because I believe being purposeful and intentional about everything you do is the KEY to success in blogging… and also the path to a happier, more fulfilled life.
Think about it logically…
If you were to take just one hour out of your day to seriously consider what you truly want to get out of blogging (and life in general, since blogging and life are usually so intertwined), then break down those desires into an achievable plan, AND THEN (this is the crucial bit) actually follow through on that plan… your 2023 is going to be so much more successful than if you left it up to random chance!
It’s time to get excited, VERY EXCITED… Because with the steps I’m about to give you, 2023 has the potential to be your best year EVER.
In this article, I’m sharing my step-by-step guide to goal setting for bloggers in 2023. Let’s dream big and then turn those dreams into reality!
(Psst. Reading this some other time than January? I’ll let you into a little secret – there’s nothing magical about January! You can go through this process any month of the year, and still see incredible success over the next 12 months.)
How to make 2023 AWESOME
To make 2023 as awesome as you can dream, you are going to have to put in some work, but it will be well worth it. This is what you are going to need to do:
This whole process should take you LESS THAN AN HOUR today. (Plus a bit of time down the road for quarterly reviews).
Think about it…
One hour could be the difference between 2023 being YOUR BEST YEAR EVER… or 2023 being yet another year of wasted potential, yet another year when you fail to reach your goals, yet another year of ‘meh’.
That’s worth one hour of your time, right?
2023 Best Year Ever FREE WORKSHEETS
To help you get the most out of 2023, I have created this collection of FREE 2023 goal setting worksheets! There is a worksheet for each activity in my 2023 goal planning process. So hurry up and download them so you can get set to have your BEST YEAR EVER!
Step 1: Visualise – what would you like December 2023 to look like?
OK, so the first step in the process is probably the most fun
I want you to close your eyes for a couple of minutes and visualise what you want this next year to look like. And, in particular, what you want December 2023 to look like.
In your ideal world, what would you have achieved by December 2023? Where will you be? What will your life look like? What will your blog look like?
Use your imagination and allow yourself to dream big
A word of caution – I say ‘dream big’ – and what I mean by that is to imagine how great things could be – don’t limit yourself at this stage… Don’t allow doubts or ‘but I could never do that’ voices to creep in. But at the same time don’t go too crazy – avoid thinking things like, ‘by next year I want to have won the lottery, be president/prime minister and have solved world peace, famine and climate change!’
Don’t put this visualisation off until another day, do it right now!
Stuck for ideas?
Here’s a few to get you started…
- Money: How much money will your blog have made by December 2023? What ways will your blog earn money? How will having that money change your life?
- Content: What sort of content will you produce in 2023? Will your blog take a new direction? Which blog posts will you update? Will you delete any old content? Will you improve your site structure? Will you start creating video content or a podcast in 2023?
- Email: Will 2023 be the year when you finally get to grips with email? Will you create an opt-in? A welcome sequence? A new style of newsletter? Will you send newsletters more frequently? How many email subscribers will you have by the end of 2023?
- Design: What will your blog look like by the end of 2023? Do you see 2023 as being a year when you redesign your blog? Get a new blog theme? Get a new logo? Add new functionality? Improve your home page? Update your About Me page? Finally get proper professional headshots?
- Products: Will you create a new product in 2023? If so what? Maybe an ebook? Or an online course? Or will 2023 be the year you land a book deal?
- Sponsored Posts: What sponsored posts would you like to do in 2023? Which brands will you pitch to? What sort of fee would you like to be able to charge? Will you give your media kit a major update this year?
- Life: What will your personal life look like by the end of 2023? Will you have earned enough to quit your day job by the end of 2023? Will your OH be able to quit their job? Will 2023 finally be the year when you lose weight / get your digital life organized / learn Spanish?
- Productivity: How organized will you be by the end of 2023? Will you have a dedicated work space? What systems would you like to have put in place? Will you start a content calendar? Will you automate your social media? Will you be able to employ a VA?
- Stats: How many visitors will your blog be getting by the end of 2023? How will you achieve that?
- Courses: What courses will you take to fast-track your success?
Give yourself 2-5 minutes, with your eyes shut, to just imagine what December 2023 will look like!
Step 2 Brain dump – all the things you’d like to achieve in 2023
Once you’ve opened your eyes, grab yourself a blank piece of paper – or the BRAIN DUMP worksheet from my 2023 BEST YEAR EVER printables and get scribbling – write down all those things you imagined in your visualisation and everything else that comes to you. Don’t hold back. Dream big. Now is not the time to prioritise or be overly realistic – that comes later.
Use the questions above to help you
Here are a few examples to give you an idea:
- Update my About Me page
- Get Mediavine ads on my website
- Double my blogging income
- Learn how to create video content
- Start a YouTube channel
- Update all my old content with new photos and better SEO
- Get a new theme/logo for my website
- Get proper professional headshots
- Create my first digital product (ebook or online course?)
- Get a new computer / Tidy and organize files
- Finally start doing email marketing PROPERLY
- Learn how to build an evergreen sales funnel
- Finally start doing affiliate marketing PROPERLY / Double my affiliate sales income
Give yourself 10-15 minutes to do this (pro tip – set a timer!) and as much paper as you need and just go for it. Just write anything and everything. The time for refinement and priorities is later!
Step 3: Gather the threads – which goals fit together?
Now take a look at what you’ve written. You’ll probably notice some goals which fit together nicely.
Perhaps you’ve jotted down ‘design new logo’, ‘get new theme’, ‘update about me page’, ‘get professional headshots taken’ and ‘redo homepage/sidebar’. It makes sense to lump these together as one goal called ‘redesign’ as they will all need to be done together.
Or perhaps you’ve written ‘learn to do video’, ‘buy video equipment’, ‘add how-to videos to my most popular blog posts’ and ‘start YouTube channel’. Again, these could be combined into one goal called ‘Video’. It makes much more sense to do these things all together at one time, rather than scattered throughout the year.
Step 4: Take stock – what do you really, really want to achieve in 2023?
Take a look at your brain dump again and ask yourself, ‘If I could only do ONE of these things in 2023, which would it be?’
Grab a new piece of paper and write at the top of it ‘Goals for 2023’ (or, even better, use the free worksheet), then write that one thing at the top.
Look again at your brainstorm and ask yourself, ‘OK, if I can only pick ONE MORE thing, what would it be?’
On your new list write that second thing down under the first thing
Now look at your brainstorm again and pick a third thing to write on your ‘Goals for 2023’ list, keep going until you have 10 things. Then stop.
Take one final look at your brain dump. Is there anything else that really has to be done in 2023? If it’s a small thing, do you think it might fit within one of your other projects? If it’s a large thing, what can you bump off the ‘Goals for 2023’ list to make room for it?
Then look at all the remaining ideas on your brain dump and decide if they are A) just too crazy, B) not something you really want, or C) good ideas – just not for this year.
Take the C’s and write them on a new list called ‘Goals for 2024’. This is a very small step, but it will make all the difference to your mindset. Anytime during 2023 when you start to think ‘I really ought to be doing XYZ’ – you can remind yourself, ‘it’s on my 2024 list’. It’s a tiny shift in thinking but it makes a BIG difference to how you feel about your workload. Now you don’t feel the weight of #allthethings and instead you know they are going to get done in due course, just that they are not one of your top 10 priorities for this year.
Step 5: Arrange your goals – what needs to be done when?
Now is the time to decide in WHAT ORDER you are going to tackle your goals. It might be that it makes sense to tackle them in the order you have written them, but it might not.
There may be things that are seasonal or things which need to be done in a certain order. Or it may just be that, after taking a look at those 10 goals for 2023 as a whole, some seem more important to be done in the early part of the year, and some are better left until later.
Try and map out roughly WHEN you are going to achieve your goals
I like to assign a month to each of my goals, which is why I pick 10. That’s 10 months minus August, because it’s the school holidays and I know I won’t have enough time to work on my goals then and minus December, which is always a busy time and it’s also the time when I want to get working on planning out my goals for the next year.
Start a new list and call it ‘Monthly Goals for 2023’ (or use my ready made ‘Monthly Goals for 2023’ worksheet), then assign a month to each goal according to what makes most sense. For example, your list could look like this:
January: Blog Redesign (new theme, new logo, new About Me page)
February: Video (take a video course, get equipment, create YouTube Channel, add videos to my most popular blog posts)
March: Take new photos for old content
April: Update photos + SEO on old content
June: Get new computer / Transfer and organize files / Do a digital declutter
July: Email (move to ConvertKit, learn how to use it, start sending a PROPER newsletter, create welcome sequence)
September: Affiliate Marketing (research affiliate programs, apply to join them, add links to existing blog posts, create new blog posts and promote them)
October: Create Product #1 (research product ideas, test/validate best idea, create product)
November: Create Product #2 (create launch materials, launch product, build evergreen sales funnel)
December: Off/Planning for 2024
Step 6: Evaluate your plan – be realistic, can you get all this done in 1 year?
The next step is to evaluate your plan and work out if it is REALISTIC.
First, have a good look at what you’ve planned in, and for when
Does the order make sense? Or would it make more sense to do things in a slightly different order?
For example, looking at my example monthly goals above, I notice that all the things that are going to make money (affiliate marketing and creating a product to sell) are in the latter part of the year. To me, it would make sense to bring at least one of those things forward so that there is more opportunity to make money in the year.
Second, have a good look at what you have planned out and decide what is realistic
Can each project be realistically achieved in 1 month? You will almost certainly conclude that some projects will take more than one month, while other projects may take just a couple of weeks. Rearrange your projects accordingly.
For example, in the example plan above, I have only allocated 1 month for update photos + SEO on old content – but it’s more than likely that this will take more than one month.
On the other hand, I have allocated a whole month for taking new photos, but perhaps this job could be done in 1 or 2 weeks?
So it might make more sense to put it like this:
March: Take new photos / Update photos + SEO on old content (start)
April: Update photos + SEO on old content (finish)
Step 7: Jumpstart 2023 – plan in some quick wins for January
Another genius hack is to plan in some quick wins for January. Getting a number of small goals crossed off early in the year will give you a motivation boost and set you up for success in the rest of the year.
You might find one of your goals is perfect for this…
For example, the one I have in the example above to Get new computer / Transfer and organize files / Do a digital declutter would be perfect. This is realistically achievable in just a few days, and yet would almost certainly lead to a great feeling of accomplishment and get the year off to a flying start. It might even mean February’s goals could be started early!
Alternatively, you might find inspiration from your original brain dump
Are there a number of small goals there that could be lumped together as a project and completed in the first weeks of January? It could be as simple as spending January setting up the systems you are going to use in the rest of the year – for example, starting a content calendar or taking steps to automate social media.
Getting your systems set up in January makes a lot of sense as this will streamline the whole of the rest of the year and make achieving everything else simpler and less time consuming.
Step 8: Finalise – make final adjustments to your monthly goals
So now you have evaluated your monthly goals, taken into account ‘reality’ in terms of how long activities might take and planned in some quick wins for January, it’s time to finalise your monthly goals.
Rewrite your ‘Monthly Goals for 2023’ taking into account any changes you have made. So my revised plan might look like this:
January: Get new computer / Transfer and organize files / Do a digital declutter
February: Affiliate Marketing (research affiliate programs, apply to join them, add links to existing blog posts, create new blog posts and promote them)
March: Take new photos / Update photos + SEO on old content (start)
April: Update photos + SEO on old content (finish)
September: Video (take a video course, get equipment, create YouTube Channel, add videos to my most popular blog posts)
November: Create Product #2 (create launch materials, launch product, build evergreen sales funnel)
December: Off/Planning for 2024.
Step 9: Activate – turn your monthly goals into actions
Of course, having a list of monthly goals is a bit pointless if you don’t turn those goals into actions. You can do this one of two ways:
- You can just plan how you are going to achieve January’s goal now. Then plan how you will achieve February’s goal at the end of January, March at the end of February and so on.
- OR you can plan how you will achieve all your goals now.
Which option you take will depend largely on how much time you have right now, how much you like planning and how easy it is to plan for these goals in advance.
It doesn’t really matter which option you take…
…but I will say option 2 has a couple of distinct advantages.
The first is that, having pre-written action plans for each goal will make each goal will feel less daunting.
The second is that you will be able to quickly identify any activities which have to be done prior to the month you have allocated.
For example, if you have allocated ‘improve SEO on old posts’ to March, you might consider adding ‘learn SEO’ or ‘get Yoast plugin’ to January or February’s actions so you can hit the ground running in March.
Likewise, if you have planned to take a video course in September, you might think it sensible to research video courses and maybe buy some new video equipment in the months leading up to September – and you might want to start putting some money aside each month to pay for it too!
Whichever way you decide to do things you need to create an ACTION PLAN for each goal
Grab a new sheet of paper and write the month, the goal and the words ACTION PLAN (better still, print off my ready-made Monthly Action Plan worksheet) . Then start jotting down all the things you will need to do in order to achieve that goal.
For example, say your goal for January is to start making money through affiliate links, your action plan might look something like this:
January Action Plan
Goal: Start Earning Money Through Affiliate Links
1) Research affiliate programs
2) Apply to affiliate programs
3) Add affiliate links to all existing posts, where appropriate
4) Write 4 new posts which aim to generate affiliate sales for the 4 highest paying affiliate programs
5) Promote these 4 posts using social media and Pinterest
6) Create a spreadsheet to track monthly income from these affiliate links
I don’t know about you, but I think that looks very achievable for 1 month. And it only took me a couple of minutes to write that plan. You could easily have all your action plans written in under half an hour!
But if you don’t have time right now, at least write out the action plan for January and put a date in your diary for late January when you are going to write the action plan for February.
When your January action plan is written, print it off and stick it somewhere where you can see it. When you come to do your weekly and daily planning, make sure you are including activities from your action plan every day.
But I don’t have time!
If you are feeling like you never have time to do any of your actions from your Monthly Action Plan, question why that is. After all, your action plan was carefully created to ensure you achieve all your most important goals for 2023.
If your time is filled up with ‘other’ activities, why are they there? Are they super important and urgent activities which must take precedence over your goals (e.g. your website has just crashed)? Or is it just ‘busy work’ which is not actually contributing to your goals at all? In which case look to minimize, delegate, automate, or simply get rid of these ‘busy work’ tasks entirely.
I find bloggers especially guilty of putting things like emails and social media ahead of actually doing the work that would really help them achieve their goals! If that’s you, it’s time to rethink your priorities! If you truly want to achieve your goals, you need to prioritize your goal-focused work over your admin tasks. For more help with this check out my post on How to plan your day for maximum productivity.
Step 10: Evaluate – monitor your goals throughout the year
It would be nice to think that going through this planning and goal setting process is all the planning you will have to do for the year. However, in all likelihood it won’t be: things will change, projects will overrun, and new projects will emerge that are (or at least seem to be) more important than the ones you planned to do in 2023.
This is why it’s really important to keep monitoring and evaluating your goals, pivoting as required to keep 2023 on track to be your best year ever. Here are a few things you might want to think about…
A project overruns
Even with your best endeavours, one or more of your projects is likely to overrun. If that happens, the best thing to do is to take stock at the end of the month and make a decision about what should happen next. Broadly speaking you have 2 options:
1) Decide you’ve done enough on that project this year and move on to the next project
This is a good option if the project is kind of ‘ongoing’ in nature and you know you will have to come back to it year after year: things like ‘improve SEO’, ‘update old content’, ‘refresh blog design’ and ‘grow subscribers’. All these things are not discrete projects that can ever truly be finished. So you might decide that, although you haven’t achieved everything you wanted to in this area, you’ve spent enough time on this goal for this year and it’s time to move on to other things.
If this is the case, put a note about it on your 2024 list and move on to the action plan for the next month.
2) Finish the project and adjust the rest of the monthly goals accordingly
Alternatively, you might decide that this project needs to be finished now. In which case you will need to adjust your remaining monthly goals. You should look at your remaining monthly goals and decide what to take off your plate for this year. What could realistically wait until 2024? Or could one of the projects you have planned for later in the year be shortened.
If this is the case, rewrite your monthly goals to take into account these changes.
In my experience, it is far better to readjust your plan like this, rather than to just keep pushing everything back.
If you push everything back, you will constantly feel like you are behind on your plan… and that ‘playing constant catchup’ feeling will almost certainly make you feel demotivated, overwhelmed and stressed out… and, as a result, you will become less productive and be more inclined to give up on your plans altogether.
Taking stock, making decisions and adjusting your plan makes you feel on track and in control… and ultimately this will keep you more motivated and productive.
A new project comes up that seems more important
It’s almost inevitable that, sometime during the year, something else will come up that is (or at least seems to be) super important and which you feel should take precedence over everything you’ve already got planned.
If this happens, the best thing to do is evaluate this new project in light of the monthly goals/projects you’ve already got planned. Tell yourself that, if you do this new thing, one of the other things has to come off your plan. Firstly, this will help you discern if the new ‘must do’ project is really that important (or if you just have shiny new object syndrome!), and secondly, this will help you make a practical decision as to how to fit this new project in.
Again, if you decide to proceed with this new project, you should rewrite your ‘Monthly Goals for 2023’ to reflect the changes you’ve made to accommodate this new project. If you have had to remove a project from your monthly goals list, add it onto the list for 2024 (assuming it’s still important to you.)
If you decide this new project is ‘not for now’, add it to your list for 2024 and continue with the action plan you originally made.
Even if everything goes swimmingly (and especially if it doesn’t), it’s good to conduct a quarterly review of your monthly goals.
Look at the quarter just gone and as yourself:
- Did I achieve everything I set out to?
- What went well?
- What went badly?
- What do I still have left to do?
Then look at the months on your Monthly Goals for 2023 that still exist and ask yourself:
- Are these still the goals I should be focusing on?
- Has anything has changed, such as a project which is now unnecessary?
- Do I need to include any new goals/projects? And if so, what should I get rid of?
- Is everything still in the right order? Or do things need to be switched around?
It may be that nothing needs to be changed, but it’s still a good practice to review each quarter and plan for the next one.
If you prefer, you could do this review process monthly instead of quarterly.
Either way, you will never regret setting and evaluating your goals on a regular basis!
2023 – your best year ever?
Ready to make 2023 your most successful year yet?
If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to set aside time to work through each of these 10 steps and set goals and action plans for yourself and your business in 2023. It will only take an hour, or so, of your time, but it will set you up for 2023 being your best year EVER!
Surely that’s worth an hour of your time?
Have you already set your goals? I’d love to hear what you have planned for 2023!
Let me know in the comments below, or over in the Productive Blogging Community Facebook Group.
I look forward to cheering you on in 2023!
And don’t forget to bag your free worksheets!
- Why setting goals will make you more successful
- How to actually achieve your goals: The real ‘secret’ to turning your dreams into reality
- How to create a content plan for your blog in 2023
- How to turn your blog into a profitable business in 2023
- 11 easy ways to make 2023 your best year EVER!
- How to plan your 2023 for maximum success
Don’t miss a thing!
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