Episode 268 | How to Set Annual Goals

Episode 268 | How to Set Annual Goals

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Show Notes

In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about setting your yearly goals and some processes to use in order to make sure you meet those goals.

Items mentioned in this episode:


Mike [00:00]: In this episode of Startups For the Rest of Us, Rob and I are going to be talking about how to set annual goals. This is Startups For the Rest of Us, Episode 268.

Welcome to Startups For the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Mike.

Rob [00:23]: And I’m Rob.

Mike [00:23]: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. How are you doing this week, Rob?

Rob [00:27]: Doing pretty good. I’m gearing up/down for the holidays, gearing up to hunker down. I want to do some reading, some thinking, and some high-level plotting of next year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to take my retreat in the next two weeks, but it’s getting to be that time, because I really need to nail down how I want 2016 to shake out, the goals that I want to achieve, and frankly taking an in-depth look at how 2015 went and measure it up to the goals that I set last year. And we’re going to do that in an upcoming episode. I think it’s next week where we actually revisit the goals we set last year, talk about whether or not we achieved them, and then look at our 2016 goals. So I’m hoping to take some time in the next couple of weeks, and then go on my retreat hopefully to nail everything down. How about you?

Mike [01:09]: Well, I’ve been recovering from about two weeks’ worth of major back inflammation. My back’s been acting up on me again, so there were several days where I literally just could not even sit down.

Rob [01:19]: That’s a bummer.

Mike [01:19]: So I basically just laid in bed and read the entire time, because I literally couldn’t do anything else. So five chiropractor visits later and a ton of Aleve, I’m feeling better, but there’s still lingering issues to get over.

Rob [01:32]: Yeah. It’s really hard to get work done when you’re debilitated like that.

Mike [01:36]: Well, when you can’t even sit at your desk. Literally I was just sitting there. It was painful.

Rob [01:40]: Yeah, it’s a real issue. So MicroConf sold out pretty quickly.

Mike [01:43]: Yeah, what was it? Do we have official time on that? Was it seven minutes, or was it six?

Rob [01:48]: Yeah. It was pretty bad. So we did it in waves this year where we sold through Academy members first, then returning attendees, and then the early bird list. And each year it has sold out faster and faster. So we’re having some internal discussions of what we want to do next year in terms of there’s a lot of possibilities, right? You could throw a third conference. You could expand this conference, which is something we haven’t really wanted to do in terms of the size. There’s a lot of alternatives. I think as [Xander?] said, it’s a success problem. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s definitely a problem that we need to think about ways to work around.

Mike [02:18]: Yeah. As you said, there’s a bunch of different potential solutions, but every single one of them also comes with its own set of problems. So trying to figure out what the lesser of two evils is – or the lesser five evils, I guess in some cases – is a little bit difficult.

Rob [02:33]: Right. Because is MicroConf still MicroConf if there are 325 people there?

Mike [02:37]: Yeah. I don’t know. The thing is it’ll change no matter what. I mean, if you’re just adding people it will it make it change? But I also think that much of it is the factor of how much year-over-year growth there is. So if you go from, let’s say, 250 to 400, obviously that’s a much bigger difference than 250 to 325. But even that doesn’t necessarily solve the problems. So tough call, tough call.

Hey, we’ve got all good listener question here come in from [Jeremy Vot?], and he says, “Hi, Rob and Mike. Love the show. I’m curious about something I’ve seen, and recently I’ve seen Rob do it with DRIP, which is to giveaway e-books and video courses for a limited time, and then charge for them. I assume they’re free for things like webinars as gifts. So in all reality, these are free items. So my question is about the strategy of putting a cost to them. Do people actually buy them? Is it simply to give them more value in their minds? Thanks, Jeremy.”

Rob [03:24]: Yeah, that’s a good question. The bottom line is the reason we put a price on them is to communicate the value of what they would be worth if they were not subsidized by the main business, which is obviously the software business – the email marketing software known as DRIP. What we did is we literally sat down in the office and said, “What would this be worth if we were running an info product business, and how much would we sell this for?” And we released a set of three e-books a few weeks ago on email marketing, beginners’ guides, and we released a 20-part video series. It’s an interview series with Patrick McKenzie on DRIP email marketing and tactics and things like that. In both cases, we set it less than I think I would have if we were really trying to turn a profit.

But the idea was, A, to communicate the value, and B, yeah, we have actually sold several copies. It was funny, several hundred dollars’ worth of the e-books, and I was surprised that that happened. But it’s a nice little perk. We were joking that it’s our espresso/snack fund for the office, because it’s not any real revenue compared to what the main product is driving. But it does, A, make these things worth it. So it’s not like we’re giving away a free e-book on XYZ, because instantly that makes you think that this thing’s probably not very good. And they are good. We spent literally thousands and thousands of dollars across writing, editing, and the design and the layout and all that stuff. And we packaged something that is worthwhile, and so we wanted to put a value on it. And there’s also a nice thing. We give it away free for seven days, so there is a little bit of time urgency for people to download the thing. And it’s not something that is going to be free forever, and so you’re able to get it into more people’s hands sooner.

But coming back to it again, I don’t think you can just put a price tag on some white paper that you crank out that’s not actually valuable or not worth it, because that will come back to bite you. It negatively impacts the brand. People start thinking, “Well, they’re putting out crap and putting a price on it just to try to fool people,” and that’s not a good way to go. And so we’ve been very careful that any of these things we do put out are what I consider very high quality. They are production-level, things that I have no qualms about selling. And the people who have purchased them, no one has asked for a refund. So they’re obviously worth that to these folks.

Mike [05:22]: Yeah. The first thing that jumped into my mind when I saw this question was part of it was to set that time urgency so that people would pick it up sooner rather than putting it on the back burner. And that would also, I assume, drive people to your email list so that you can then do marketing to them afterwards.

Rob [05:37]: So what are we talking about today?

Mike [05:38]: Today, what we’re going to talk about is how to set your annual goals. And we’ve talked in the past about goal-setting in general and using a system that’s commonly known as SMART. It’s setting goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. And in this episode, what we you want to do is we want to focus specifically on how to set your yearly goals. Because this is essentially a timeboxed set of goals that you are going to have for a one-year period, and the idea here is that you want to be able to meet all of those goals. So obviously, in setting your annual goals, we’re going to conform to that SMART system. But this is going to talk through the process of how to go about setting those goals and some other things that should go along with it that are associated with that process, but not necessarily part of the goals themselves.

Rob [06:23]: Right. So we’re not going to rehash SMART here. We have talked about it in the past. A lot of folks have talked about it, and it’s. kind of, the elementary thing that you may have heard a little too much about at this point. Really we’re going to talk about seven ways to set goals that are meaningful and that are worth setting.

Mike [06:39]: And to make sure that you’re achieving them throughout the year, because obviously I think that there’s a lot of people who set their yearly goals and then they just don’t look at them for the rest of the year. They’ll maybe revisit them in September or October or November timeframe and say, “Oh, yeah. I haven’t even started on that yet.” So this process is really about not just setting those annual goals, but making sure that you’re putting systems in place, or forcing functions in place, that will help you to meet those goals throughout the year with various milestones.

So we’re going to walk through the seven different steps in this process, and the first step is to make the time to set your annual goals. And the problem I’ve been guilty of in the past on occasion is to set goals when I have time. Or I’ll think about them and say, “Oh, I should do this” or “I should do that.” And what I’m not doing is I’m not really dedicating time to sit down and really give some serious thought to it and making sure that those things are a priority rather than an afterthought.

Rob [07:33]: Yeah. And I typically do this in an annual retreat. We’ve mentioned it here before. And we did spend a whole episode of ZenFounder — if you go back to the ZenFounder Episode 2, we talk all through founder retreats. And this has been an impactful part of my entrepreneurial journey for the past, I think it’s three years, maybe four. And it’s a bit of a learned skill, but the more you do it, the more addicting it becomes to do it because you realize the value of it. I, kind of, view like It’s like an annual meditation where you go off by yourself and you carve out this time to review the past year and look at the future. And I use it as my goal-setting device. My goal of coming out of that two-day retreat that I do is that all my goals are set, and my vision for the next 12 months is secure.

Mike [08:20]: Exactly. And the first part of this process is making sure that you’re setting aside the time to do that. Because if you don’t set aside the time, you’re not really planning it out. You’re thinking about it, it’s, kind of, on your mind, but it’s not really a main focus. And I think if you’re going to do something as serious as setting these annual goals, you really need to make it a priority and make it your main focus for whether it’s several hours or a couple of days with a weekend retreat, something like that. It needs to be the primary focus of what you’re looking at, not just something you do a couple of hours here or a couple of hours there, or even just when 20 or 30 minutes here or there.

Rob [08:51]: Yeah, I agree. And you may have to do some trading. If you have kids, and your spouse needs to watch the kids for that weekend, then you may have to trade and work something out to where this is possible. If you want to do an overnight somewhere, it’s not always straightforward, and there may be some sacrifice involved. But I think there’s a lot of value in taking the time to set these goals.

Mike [09:08]: So once you’ve set aside that time to do it, Step 2 of the process is to recap the current year. And you have to give some thoughts on what went well, why did it go well, or what are the things that you didn’t accomplish that you wanted to, or are there things that you want to happen in the current year that you just weren’t able to fit into the schedule? I also think that what you want to do is you want to make sure that on your list for the following year, you want to keep in mind what it is that you want to be celebrating the following year. So at this time in December of next year, what is it that you want to be looking back on and saying, “Yeah, I’m really proud of that. I set this goal and I was able to achieve it.”? What is that? It might just be one thing. It might be two things. But you have to give some thought to what that is, in advance.

Rob [09:46]: Yeah, and this is a loose outline and, kind of, a high level. It doesn’t cover all elements of basically the outline of what I used for my retreat. And I took that, of course, from Sherry and adapted it for my purposes. And then she had also taken it from some monk from the 1300s who had a meditation and looked back and said, “What gave me life in the past year? What took life? What do I want to do more of? What do I want to do less of?”

There’s a brainstorming element of it. I always use my Moleskin notebook and I write a bunch of stuff, just page after page of notes. Sherry has a big sheet of butcher paper, sketches ideas out, thoughts, and she keeps the butcher paper from year-to-year. And, of course, I keep the Moleskine notebook. You can do it whatever. You can do it on your computer if you want. I find that the computer tends to tempt me to go check email, or go screw around on the internet, and so I like the feel of pen and paper because it is just so different. It doesn’t make me think of work like the computer does. But to each their own, and you want to figure out which way you do it. But I think recapping the current year and really looking at what you want to do more and less of ,and how you’re going to get there is your first step to setting these goals.

Mike [10:46]: And if you go over to ZenFounder.com or look it up in iTunes or whatever your favorite podcasting app is, there’s a really good episode. I think it’s Episode 2 in ZenFounder where it discusses how to go about a personal retreat. And I think we’ve talked a little bit about it on this podcast before as well.

So moving on, Step 3 in the process is to limit yourself to one or two major goals. And the thought behind this is that these goals are going to take quite a while to reach, and it might take you four to six months to even reach one of them. But you also have to allot some time for essentially a little bit of extra padding in case things go wrong, or you get sick, or some family emergency comes up and it’s going to set you back several weeks or a couple of months. There’s always other things are going to come up, and you have to make sure that you take those into account. But once you’ve got your one or two major goals set then you start doing backwards planning in order to set your quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. And along with this, you can start setting milestone goals that will give you specific feedback about what your progress is along the way. What you don’t want to do is you don’t want to have this big, fat, hairy audacious goal that you’ve set, and no real way to track how far along you are on that goal. So if it’s writing a book, for example, you don’t want to just say, “Hey, I’m going to write a book.” You want to be able to spell out how far along you’re going to be at different points to be able to make sure you are on track to finish that goal.

Rob [12:04]: I think that especially if you’re not totally in control of your time yet – meaning you have a full-time job, or consulting, or things where you’re not just working on your own products – I think one to two goals is where you want to be. And I think one goal can be, “I want to have quit my job by the end of the year.” Or it might be, “I want to only be doing 10 hours of consulting a week, or zero consulting.” That, for me, was my goal for several years in a row. I didn’t go through this process at that point. I wasn’t doing retreats. This is, let’s say, back in 2006, 2007, and 2008. But I knew that that was my one goal, and then I work backwards from that. And I have just focused all my energy on growing my apps, or acquiring apps, or building apps, or doing whatever in order to hit that revenue mark, and there was a number that I needed to make.

And so if you don’t have your “freedom” yet from your job, or from contracting, that, I think, has to be a goal of yours, assuming that you want to do the entrepreneurial life. If you already have products or you’re already working full-time for yourself in essence on your own products, and you’re making a full-time living from them, I think you can have more than one or two goals. I think you’re in a position where you have more control over it, and I think that having a revenue goal and then maybe a goal of launching something new, whether it’s a new, I don’t know, podcast or blog or even a new product or some new major marketing efforts around your existing product, I think all of those could be included in your goals. And it, kind of, depends on how you label the major goals, but I think early on that you’re going to want to keep it to one to two, and then you can maybe expand it a little later as you get a better feel for how much you can actually get done in a year. Because I think most of us early on overestimate how much you can get done. And then you become more and more pessimistic as you set these goals and you review at the end of each year, and you realize, “Boy I really didn’t get that much done.” And you start pushing stuff off to the next year. You become a bit more realistic about it.

Mike [13:58]: Step 4 in the process is to identify specific ways that you can hold yourself accountable through the various milestones that you’ve set up. And the idea here is that you want to set up an automated system that will essentially ensure that you don’t forget about the milestones along the way, or that you aren’t letting things slide. And you can do this through a variety of different ways. You can use a mastermind group. You can use an accountability partner. Your spouse or significant other is also a good one, or a fellow business owner. If you meet up for drinks, or lunch, or dinner, or something like that on a regular basis with anyone else who is doing the same types of things as you are, you can use them to essentially to bounce ideas off of, and essentially just put together an outline and say, “Hey, every week or every two weeks, this is what we’re going to talk about.”

And you have to schedule this time. One of the things that I’ve found is that if I don’t set aside the time for this, if I don’t actually schedule these periodic check-ins to go back and look at that, it’ll be three or four months before I even go back and look at my goals. So you have to schedule the time and make sure that in some way, shape, or form, that you are paying attention to that moving forward. Because it’s very easy, as Rob said, to just push things off. I find that if you have an automated email that comes in to you every week or every two weeks – this is one of the things that we do in our mastermind group – is we have a link that just gets emailed to us every Monday morning that points to the Google Doc, and that tends to work really well just by drawing attention to it. But at the same time, it’s also fairly easy to almost ignore that, or bypass it, just because it comes in on a Monday and we don’t meet until Tuesday night. So depending on the timing or scheduling of that, it might be a factor. But if you schedule it very close to a particular meeting, it’s going to pop into your email and you’ll see it shortly before the meeting. It’ll be essentially a trigger to remind you, “Hey, we need to discuss this.”

So again, any of those things – mastermind group, accountability partner, all of those things – if there are triggers that you can set in place, especially if they’re automated to remind you that hey, you need to review this on this periodic basis, that will help you to hold yourself accountable to those milestones.

Rob [16:01]: I pretty much always have a revenue goal for the main product I’m working on, which has been DRIP for the past few years and was HitTail before that. And what I have found as extremely helpful for me in the mastermind groups that I’m in is at the end of every month, the next mastermind that I have, I say what the revenue was. And just forcing myself to calculate it to the penny and report it in the mastermind group, even though people aren’t necessarily holding me super accountable to anything in the meetings, it really helps me visualize where I am on the path to that goal. And the nice part is your mastermind folks aren’t going to remember your revenue from month to month, so it forces you to basically say, “Hey, two months ago, I was at this. Last month, we were at this. And now, we’re at this.” And it makes you actively think, “Oh boy, we only grew by a thousand each of the last two months. I’m not going to get there if I grow that slowly.” Or if you can say, “Well, last month we grew by 5000, like the month before,” then suddenly you just become more aware of it because you have to explain it to another person. It’s like the concept of how you really know something once you can teach it. I think that, for me, I’ve always calculated monthly revenue. I’ve always looked at it. But something that helps me absorb it and process it is to then explain it to the folks in my groups. And it really helps solidify that, and it adds this level of a recurring accountability milestone.

Mike [17:21]: The fifth step in the process is to identify your motivational triggers, and these motivational triggers can be either positive or negative. So a positive motivational trigger would encourage you to do more work, or to be more productive, while a negative one would essentially hold you back from that, whether it’s making you procrastinate or just doing some form of work avoidance, or spending too much time on certain things because you feel like maybe they’re ultra important and they need to be just perfect. Those are the types of things that you need to identify so that you can implement additional ways to make sure that those things are not holding you back, or that you are encouraging those motivational triggers that are positive. And these are essentially feedback loops that you want to set up.

Everyone has a different motivational trigger. Some people are positively reinforced by money or fame. Or other people who just say, “Hey, I just want to be healthy.” They don’t necessarily have these giant, grandiose goals, but they just want to concentrate on their family, or they want to concentrate on personal learning. Each of these things, there’s nothing right or wrong with any of them, but you have to recognize what your own motivational triggers are and then set up feedback loops so that you can make sure that you positively reinforce and double-down on those ones that are positive and reduce or eliminate the ones that are negative.

Rob [18:34]: Recently with DRIP, we’ve launched those two knowledge products; that e-book that I mentioned that we gave away for free for a week and then started selling, and then the video series with Patrick McKenzie. And what I’ve noticed is the motivational trigger during that time was that the positive feedback of doing something risky and doing something scary in public, right, because you launch it, you email the list, and you’re wondering, “Boy, are people are going to like this? Is it going to go well? Or is all this time and money we spent just going to go out to crickets?” And I saw excitement in the team as we were reporting the numbers and the number of downloads, and the number of uploads on product time, and the number of comments and all that stuff. And so for me, doing things in public and getting positive or negative feedback has always been a trigger of one kind. And I think the further I’ve gotten away from that, You know, I blog less than I used to due to time constraints. Luckily, I still have the podcast and the conference and stuff. But I think that getting back to the things that really matter to you, and push you in a virtuous cycle, I think, is important. I know that I’ve just recently rediscovered that and remember it. I published just a couple of blogs posts in the past few months. And the feedback, and just knowing that I pushed something out into the world again, and writing – it was something I don’t do often – was really a motivational trigger for me. And so I think that learning that about yourself, and then noting it down and not forgetting – which is frankly what I’ve done as I’ve stepped away from that – I think it’s a positive thing.

Mike [19:57]: And some of those things you just talked about lead us into Step 6 of the process, which is to identify the patterns that indicate that you’re demotivated. And some of these things just boil down to a basic sense of procrastination, but sometimes you can recognize certain patterns. So, for example, maybe you wake up later than you usually do because you lack focus, or clarity, or lack a sense of drive to just get out of bed and start working on your product. And this is especially true if you own your own time and you aren’t sure what you should be doing. And it’s very difficult to motivate yourself to get out of bed and sit down and be motivated to be productive if you’re not really sure what it is that you’re driving for, or what you’re trying to do, or you’re not sure what to do.

Another symptom, or a pattern that you might be able to recognize, is if you’re playing an excessive amount of video games, or watching a lot of TV or movies, or you’re just making a general lack of progress towards your milestones. Any of the activities that you typically do that are essentially time-wasters tend to fall into this category of patterns where you can recognize that you’re demotivated. And I think the recognition piece of it is really important, because if you don’t even recognize that this is a problem there’s nothing that you can do about it because you don’t even know where to start because you don’t know that there is a problem. So recognizing that the patterns that you undertake during those situations is really important. And it warrants writing them down so that you have it in your mind that, “Hey, these symptoms, or these things that I do, or these things that go on in my environment, are demotivational to me, and will hold me back.” So as long as you have that in mind and you’ve written it down, you can use that as essentially a trigger to recognize them. And again, going back to identifying specific ways to hold yourself accountable, these are things that you should review on a periodic basis to make sure that you’re not falling into any of those traps that are going to hold you back.

Rob [21:44]: We’re all going to become demotivated at one point or another throughout a year. The key is, as you said, to identify it, and then to figure out if it’s a short-term or a long-term dip. And if it’s short-term, you can often pull yourself out using tactics, or making small adjustments. And the tactics I tend to use are music, getting a playlist together that matches the mood and that I start to loop and, kind of, puts me in the zone. I will up my caffeine intake for the short term and do it at really key times or about 20 minutes before I’m going to start working. I’ll also change my work environment. If I haven’t worked from coffee shops in a while, I will go work in a coffee shop. Right now, I’m actually working at our house – that’s currently on the market – that we’re not living in, so there’s no one here. And I’m here maybe once a week. It feels like a new environment, and that is extremely motivational to me. And I think to most people, to be in a new environment, it tends to spark creativity and ignite something in your brain, because you feel like you’re in a new place.

I think something else to think about is if you find yourself being demotivated for longer periods of time, it might be that the work is just crappy. Or you’re doing the wrong thing? It’s not a good fit for you. If you feel like you’ve wandered off and you’re, I don’t know, writing an e-book or an info product because everyone’s saying you should, and you’re really, really struggling with it and hating it, then maybe that’s not for you. Maybe you’re more of someone who should launch software. Or vice versa. If you’re sitting there just toiling away at your SaaS apps for months and months and months and you haven’t launched it, and it’s demotivational, maybe that’s not the right path for you. Maybe you should take some expertise and put it into an e-book instead and do something in public, get that virtuous cycle started and go off in another direction.

It’s something to think about and reevaluate, and not just take things at face value that what you’ve decided to do is what you have to do. Because if two, three months down the line you’re still feeling this way, something is probably wrong, either chemically with you – which is certainly a possibility. Wintertime is definitely tough when it’s dark and cold and you don’t go outside. Or it may be that the work is just not a good fit for you and that you’re not going to be happy even once you launch. That’s the thing. If you’re not enjoying the journey along the way, for the most part, then you’re not going to enjoy the destination when you get there.

They’ve done studies and such with doctors, or folks in med school actually. And the people who are really unhappy and just grinding it out, trying to get through, and they’re saying, “Well, as soon as I’m a doctor, everything will be great,” it doesn’t tend to be great for them when they get to be a doctor, right? Because they really didn’t love the work and the journey. And it tends to be the folks who are enjoying themselves along the way. Even though they know it’s hard work, they are enjoying it along the way. And then when they get to their destination, now they can look ahead at the next destination. And it’s not like, “Oh no, I need to grind it out for four more years.” It’s like, “I’m going to enjoy the journey to the next destination as well.”

Mike [24:23]: And a little addendum to that is that if you recognize that you are in those situations, it might be a good time to reevaluate what your yearly goal is. Just because you’ve set those yearly goals, it doesn’t mean that halfway through you might change your mind and decide that it’s not something that you actually want to achieve. You shouldn’t just grind it through just to make sure that you meet that goal if it’s not ultimately going to make you happy. So keep those types of things in mind as well.

Step 7 in the process is to set up a reward system for meeting your milestones and major goals. Know what it is that you’re working for, both in the short and the long term, and use those motivational triggers to help push through some of the hard times. And some of the different rewards that you can give yourself — they don’t even have to be very big. You might just treat yourself out to lunch at Qdoba or something like that. I mean, just go to a taco place in the middle of the day for no other reason than it’s a Thursday afternoon and you decided that one of your milestones was to get to a thousand subscribers, for example, and that you just recently met that goal. So treat yourself.

And there’s a lot of different ways that you can treat yourself in small ways that will help with that positive reinforcement. And it’s great to be able to hit those milestones, but tacking on additional rewards to those things can be really helpful as well. And it could just be a dinner and a movie out with your spouse or your significant other. It could be a new video game. It could be some new music. It could be a new album, a new book, for example, or it could just be a short trip, or even just a day trip out to a museum or a theme park or something like that. Everyone’s is going to be different. Everyone wants different things. And some of those rewards are going to be more appealing to you than others, but make sure that you’ve attached some of those rewards to some of the different milestones that you’ve set up in order to make sure that you’re getting that closed feedback loop that is going to help reinforce you moving forward.

Rob [26:05]: I’m actually really bad at this, and I’m trying to get better. You know who’s really good at this, is Phil Derks. And he has his WordPress Simple Play plugin and a couple of others over at Moonstone Media. He did an attendee talk last year at MicroConf and he lives here in Fresno. And all along the way, he had these great milestones set up when he hit a thousand in revenue and X thousand in revenue. And it was fitting, too. They got bigger along the way. It was like, “Oh, it’s a nice dinner with my wife.” Then it’s a, I think, wine club membership was another one that I thought was a great reward for yourself, because that’s a non-trivial cost each year. But if you’re thinking to yourself, “Boy, when we hit five grand a month in revenue, it’s a big milestone for me,” then do something worthy of that. Go out of town for a night without the kids, or do a really nice dinner, and spend more than you typically would. Or do any of the things you said, or set up a wine club membership, something that you wouldn’t normally do, and that is really icing on the cake to give yourself the payback for all the work that you’ve done.

Because although the journey should be fun, and the goal should be worth doing just for itself, I do think there’s a lot of value in celebrating with some other people around you, and then just having that cool thing that then reminds you of the goals that you’ve achieved, right? Because then when the wine arrives in the fall, then you can think to yourself, “You know, I earned this. I built a business that supported this, and that goal paid it back.” And it’ll remind you of achieving that goal, which I think is something to relish. Because as entrepreneurs, I think oftentimes we are trained to be a little more pessimistic. Maybe it’s just me, but we can tend to look at the dark side of things or look at what’s not going right rather than what’s going right. And so I think we need as many reminders as we can.

And speaking of going and seeing a movie, opening night, Star Wars Episode 7, baby. I’m going to see it with my kid.

Mike [27:55]: We’ve threatened the kids with leaving them home or going to see it while they’re at school.

Rob [27:59]: Nice. That’s great. I love it. That’s a great punishment. Yeah, I wish I had a goal that I had achieved recently and I could attribute it to this, but alas, it’s just I want to see it. And it’s weird that they’re selling tickets Thursday nights. Are you seeing it Thursday? Because it’s supposed to open Friday, but then they have a bunch of Thursday showings.

Mike [28:16]: I didn’t know that they were doing it Thursday before midnight. Usually I like doing it on opening night for a movie. Like if it’s a big movie, they’ll do it at midnight, and so they’ll have midnight showings. I haven’t heard of anybody showing it before midnight on Thursday though. But I haven’t looked either. We haven’t really set aside the time to figure out when we’re going to go.

Rob [28:31]: Yeah, there’s a bazillion showings here starting at 6 or 7 p.m. on Thursday night.

Mike [28:35]: You could just say that your reward is for your lifetime achievement of being the oldest today that you’ve ever been in your life.

Rob [28:41]: Boom. That’s it. So to recap what we said in today’s episode, we had seven steps for how to set annual goals. The first one was make time to set the goals. The second one was to recap the current year and then look ahead. The third was to limit yourself to one to two major goals. Fourth was identify specific ways to hold yourself accountable. The fifth was identify your motivational triggers, both positive and negative. The sixth was to identify patterns that indicate you’re demotivated. And the seventh was to set up a reward system.

If you have a question for us, call our voicemail number at 888-801-9690, or email us at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from We’re Outta Control by MoOt used under Creative Commons. Subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for “startups,” and visit startupsfortherestofus.com for a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.

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