Welcome to 2022! The month of January offers something no other month can offer – a fresh start. Besides reflecting on what worked and what didn’t in 2021. It’s also the best time to think about what do you most want to improve/do next year?
When I check what others folks online set as goals. I feel weird.
Usually, you’ll hear people owning websites set goals like… I want to get 10,000 followers on Twitter or sell X amount of items or increase the open rate of my newsletter to 60%.
This all sounds good.
But how are you supposed to reach these numbers? By magic?
It’s not important what you want. But what are you going to do to get it?
That’s the million-dollar question.
The more I see people talk about setting goals. The more I think that they are missing a step.
Like stating that you want to lose weight this year.
If that’s the case. First of all, I’m glad you finally noticed that your jeans no longer fit. And no, it has nothing to do with your washing machine. Most commonly, it’s you. But voicing your desire to get rid of a couple of pounds won’t magically remove them from your body.
Oftentimes, we set the goal, and we think that the universe will start to shift. Adjust the current. Clear up the sky. Smoothen the path. And pave the way to our desired destination just because “I want it!”
Sadly, we’re not inside an animated movie where everything works out in the end. Life tends to become tougher with age, not easier.
So, if you are, too, thinking about what you should do this year. Don’t focus that much on the outcome. Focus on improving the process. Getting better daily at the skills that will get you the desired outcomes. And most importantly, work towards becoming the type of person you wish to become.
Here’s what I’m choosing to do this year:
My Goals for 2022
- Better writer.
- Better curator.
- Better library.
These are my main goals for 2022 (and beyond).
But these things won’t happen by themselves. I have to do something to make them happen.
So, the question isn’t, “How many subscribers do I want?” but, “What do I need to do to make my content so damn good so people will want to subscribe?”
Outcomes are a byproduct of our actions.
In my case. I want to get better at writing. I want to become a better curator. I want to create an intimate online library packed with the best ideas from the best books.
Let me expand a bit on all three:
Writing is a huge cluster. Plenty of things can be said here, but my main motivator to improve my writing is simple: The cornerstone of every website is writing.
Remove the words, and I have nothing but empty packaging. Even if I have a cool-looking website. If the writing sucks, the packaging won’t do me any good.
Obviously, there is a difference between just writing and writing to evoke emotions.
I learn daily to get better at articulating the topics I’m covering. But I don’t simply want to write better in terms of punctuation. I want the people reading to feel the words come out of the page and excite their senses.
The better I become at getting people emotionally excited with words, the stronger the connection between the topic, the writer, and the reader.
You might argue that having access to the world wide web is enough to progress in life. But I think the opposite.
The more the net gets flooded with information, the less we know what to do.
It’s not enough to just have access to information. It becomes more important to have access to the right information in an organized way.
Here, curation enters.
When we hear the word curator. We immediately think about museums.
But a library also needs curation (and our lives, too).
Imagine walking in the biggest library. How can you find the best books on a particular topic? You need help.
Curatorial habits are beyond just arranging stuff that is related to one another. It’s a way of thinking. It’s a careful consideration of putting on display the right thing at the right time. A careful consideration of what’s available, what’s not, and how you can take the best of the two. As stated in an article I recently read on the topic: “Good curating involves communicating complex thoughts with maximum efficiency.”
Now, I realized that this was the wrong approach from the start for two main reasons:
1) More books don’t mean more knowledge.
It doesn’t make sense to pick ten books on ten different subjects and understand nothing in the end. It’s way better to pick one topic and understand everything about it.
In my case, besides writing a summary. Now, I also write a couple of articles based on my findings. This doesn’t only fortify my understanding in the field. But also provides more info for my readers to improve their skills in a particular area.
2) Make your limitations your main advantages.
I can’t compete with large websites that have hundreds of employees. Meaning that I will never reach a point of publishing 10,000 book summaries, for example.
So, instead of trying and failing. I decided to do the opposite.
Don’t offer every book on the planet. Offer a carefully curated selection of books.
My goal is to build a small but mighty online library with hand-selected books – and not only.
This means two things: Since I don’t have unlimited time, I spend a lot of time choosing the books I read. I don’t default to bestselling. I choose books that are intellectually stimulating. Not such that are intuitively boring.
Secondly, the reader won’t feel like he’s constantly behind schedule with the content I’m publishing. There are fewer book summaries but that’s exactly the point.
Fewer summaries but from only the best books.
Some Closing Thoughts
Focusing on the metrics won’t get you far. As James Clear writes in his famous habit book, “The goal is not to finish a painting, the goal is to become an artist.”
Setting a goal is easy. Becoming the type of person who paints daily is the hard thing.
So, you don’t need goals in the first place.
What you need, what we all need, is adjusting our lifestyle. Focusing on who we wish to become, not what we want to achieve – i.e., identity-based habits.
You read not because you want to finish 50 books this year. You read because you want to learn. You read because you want to be a lifelong learner.
In this case, learning becomes the most important element for you and a permeant part of your life.
A goal implies an ending. A lifestyle implies a way of living.
Having said that. For me specifically, it all boils down to writing. Not as a goal. But as a way of living.
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