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One of the best gifts you can give yourself is specificity.

Okay.  That’s not really true.  There are probably other really good gifts you could give yourself.  An African Safari has always been high on my bucket list, but I don’t trust myself in a car full of strangers, a loose fitting convertible top and a hungry lion named Len.

But in terms of business goals, or starting something new, or launching a creative writing project, the only way I know of to really force myself to see things through, is to know 2 things in advance:

  1. How Many?
  2. By when?

It really matters not what your goals are.

  1. How many words written, by what time?
  2. How many emails sent, by what date?
  3. How many books published, modules made or pixels pushed……by when?  (exactly)

I’ll give you a little pro tip when it comes to setting up your “how many, by when” goals….gleaned through much experience and much disappointment.

The only way to truly make this work, is to set the rules up, in a way that YOU can control.  The worst “how many, by when” plans are made with inspired enthusiasm and rely on OTHER people to get shit done.

This rarely works.  And is destined to disappoint.

But on on the stuff YOU control: (word count, emails sent, pushups done, meditation minutes logged or anything else that is firmly and completely inside of our ability to accomplish on our own?)

There is truly no better way to get accountable, and to make powerful progress in the direction of a meaningful goal, than this.

One other quick thought about specificity.

It sells.  People are attracted to specific goals, specific commitments, specific targets, specific outcomes and specific timelines.

Last night I was doing some competitive market research for my newest project, a community style “authority site” and social network for a very specific niche, aimed at developing and growing a very specific business (an online agency serving that specific audience) and trying to see what others who we’ll be competing against are building  in the same space.

I outsourced a “SEO” style report on the top content that is out there now, serving this niche, and being read, shared, clicked, and consumed by folks most likely to want to buy, what we plan to sell.

What was so starkly obvious was the specificity of the top content that we’ll need to compete against to make a move in this market.

Out of the total top 10 – articles, social media posts, youtube videos, etc – almost every one had some sort of specific commitment in the content.

There was, even if not explicit at first blush, some strong sense  of “how many, by when” element to each and every piece.

So think about that for yourself as well.

Your personal goals.

And your business ones, too.

How many?

By when?



View all posts by ian

I am an author, artist and entrepreneur. My 2 passions are writing about, and teaching Marketing and Meditation. I like to think I’m a lot like Eckhart Tolle, if only he was taller, and a much better tennis player. (it turns out in person, he’s super short, has a terrible backhand and wears this weird scottish hat thingy that makes it really difficult to concentrate while serving) Plus he refuses to keep score and says ” it’s always NOW” when you ask who is up. Enough about me. We barely know each other. Stop staring. You’re making me nervous.