Before you answer that question, I’d like for you to let it sink in and really give it some meaningful thought. While you do that, I’m going to explain my process in coming up with my own answer. Ready? Let’s do this!
The question you see above is one I asked myself toward the end of 2016, a time when a lot of us get introspective and start thinking about goals and resolutions we want to achieve in the coming year. As I was thinking about my answer, the first thing that became glaringly obvious was that picking just one thing would be super difficult. Like way super difficult.
But it’s also super important.
Here’s why. Entrepreneurs tend to struggle with trying to do too many projects at once. If you’re an entrepreneur, I’m preaching to the choir. This struggle is like a rite of passage for us, a byproduct of an eagerness to achieve the next thing, and the next. You get it.
You’ve probably heard me on the podcast or even here on the blog talk about many of the different things I want to do in 2017—including writing a new book, releasing a physical product, and launching numerous online courses to help students reach specific business-related goals.
So, the question is, How can I purposefully choose just one thing to accomplish (when I have so many different things I want to do)? The answer to that question starts with the appropriately-titled The One Thing, an amazing book by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Before reading this book, I didn’t think it was possible to pick just one thing. Now I can better cut through the clutter and find the focus I need to effectively achieve the things I want to achieve—one at a time.
That’s step one. Read The One Thing. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Once you accomplish your “one thing,” it’s easier to move onto the next thing because you won’t be distracted; your mind will be focused! It’s then a smoother transition into thinking about things you want to accomplish that have the potential of producing goal-worthy byproducts themselves. For example, in 2016 I set the goal to dunk a basketball. As a five-foot-eight shrimp, it has seemed nearly impossible at times. But it’s not impossible! And I love the challenge.
And no, while I haven’t achieved my goal of touching the rim just yet, the effort I’ve put in to attempt to achieve the goal has benefited me in so many ways: improving my speed, increased my endurance, developed muscles in places I never knew existed. If I had simply said, “In 2016 I want to increase my endurance,” maybe I would have just gone for a run every other day, and I might have not stuck with it because, you know, running can be boring!
But, the lesson here is that I was able to create a goal, one that I’m still pursuing (one inch away!), that has had this amazing byproduct: physical health. It’s been great. In the same way, I’m already thinking about how I can adopt a similar type of goal in 2017, one that will benefit me in a variety of different ways, even if I don’t achieve it.
I’m sure you’re eager to find out about the one thing I wish I could accomplish in 2017, huh? Well, here it is:
My goal for 2017 is to generate a total of two million dollars in online earnings.
I’ve been thinking about this for some time now. Because I had so many things I wanted to do (do ALL THE THINGS!), I had to re-focus my efforts to an overarching goal that would encompass some other smaller achievements. So I created a plan to help me wrap all of these future achievements around what I was focused on, making sure that I was being purposeful about it, and achieving a measurable goal. That measurable goal is related to the dollar amount that I was going to be making.
But why two million, you may be wondering. The reason two million is an important milestone is that it’s approximately double what I earned as an affiliate last year. For the first time ever, I earned over a million dollars in affiliate commission, which is a significant percentage of my overall income. I’d like to improve that by diversifying my total income streams.
And to do that, I need to diversify my service and product offerings. In order to achieve a goal of a two million income in 2017, I will need to change things up, and I’ve started on that plan already—with my online course, Smart From Scratch, and plans for additional courses in 2017. But, in addition to courses, we’re also working on physical SPI products. I can’t wait to share that with you!
Ultimately, I’d like to get to a place where half of my income comes from my own created products. If I can do that, Smart Passive Income will be better off because it will be more secure. I’ll have greater control over its destiny. With affiliate marketing, although it’s been great over the last number of years, it’s still scary to rely on other companies to provide most of your income. If I can get to a point where it’s at least 50/50 with 50 percent coming from affiliate commissions and 50 percent coming from my own stuff, I’m going to have a lot more diversity, a lot more control over my profit and my income. If I can reach that goal, I feel confident that I will be able to continue to increase my overall income through diligent refining and optimization.
Because one goal isn’t enough (it’s not cheating, I promise!).
So, I decided to pick two goals I’d like to accomplish in 2017. I know, I know. I just finished by explaining why choosing one is a good strategy. That’s still true. The key is in your focus. It’s much easier and smarter to focus on one thing at a time. And I am still doing that, just one thing within two distinct categories: business and personal. I’ve already mentioned my business goal for 2017. But I also have a personal goal! 😀
My personal goal for 2017 is:
To take an entire month off throughout the year.
Not necessarily consecutive days, just a month worth of days that I can mark on the calendar. During these thirty days, I want to be able to confidently say to myself that I didn’t think about or do any business whatsoever. Hey, I didn’t say it was going to be easy!
These business-free days might happen during family vacations throughout the year. Last year, vacation didn’t amount to thirty days total, and even on vacation I would check emails once in awhile. For 2017, I need to get better at that and fully disengage from business, and fully engage with my family. If I can plan ahead, mark those dates on the calendar, I’ll have a clearer mind and be able to be fully present with my kids. I think I’ve been good at being present with them and not allowing work to get in the way, but there’s still a recognition in the back of my brain that knows I can pick up the phone, send emails, or jump into the office. I need to be more disciplined with that.
Because this goal is a measurable one (I can literally mark off the days on a calendar), I feel like it has the built-in structure that I need to make it a successful one. Even though I feel I’m doing a great job with the kids now, I can always do better with them. Same goes for my wife. I can always give her more of the time and attention she deserves. There’s a difference between being physically present and being mindfully present. I want to focus on both.
Similar to my business goal, this personal goal has an encompassing quality to it that will allow me to affect positive change in a variety of areas. It could have been very easy for me to say, “I want to be more present with my kids” or “I want to give my wife more time with just us two being together.” I could have said that easily. But, since it’s a measurable goal, one that has clear trickle-down benefits to my family (and my business), I think it’s a worthy one.
But, of course, that’s not to say that taking a full month’s worth of time off during the year without any business whatsoever is going to be easy. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to take some time, training, and a great deal of discipline. So I will focus on its potential impact: increased happiness at home, a more singular focus on business when I’m back to it, and an improved ability to focus my mind and be present.
Before I go, my challenge to you is this:
At the beginning of this blog post, I asked you: If you could accomplish one thing in 2017, what would it be?
I’d like you to answer that, but now with a new perspective on goal setting. Think of something that can be measurable, something that’s bigger, something that will have lasting benefits in a bunch of a different aspects of your life. Think of why you’re wanting to accomplish that one thing in 2017. Why is it important to you?
Take your time, think through it, and when you’re ready, please leave your answer to that question in the comments section below! I can’t wait to read them!
Thank you! And thank you for reading this post. I hope it helped you formulate your “one thing” for 2017.