Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
I often talk about setting up goals to build momentum and how it affected my success over the years. In fact, it’s a process that I still use to this day to keep me moving forward in my career.
Today, let’s take a closer look at how to create momentum to get you to where you want to be. Keep in mind that the amount of time it takes to get you to your destination depends on the amount of effort you put in.
In the end, it’s all about being in a constant state of self-improvement.
What Are Momentum Goals?
Goals for momentum are those that focus more on surpassing previous bests as opposed to reaching a greater objective. Instead of possibly setting your sights too high and missing the mark, you’re constantly breaking personal records.
Each time you surpass your daily goal, you essentially build momentum and start taking on more and more. Over time, you can reach a pinnacle of success that you might not have achieved otherwise.
Many people find it easier to tackle smaller goals and work their way up. That’s what building momentum is all about. It’s for those who are not in a rush to immediately push as hard as possible, which could easily burn you out.
Especially if you really don’t know what you’re doing.
This process is partially responsible for my success while using content mills. I started off with a goal of 1,000 words and ended by reaching for 10,000 per day over time.
It all comes down to doing more today than you did yesterday.
Goals for momentum help you by:
- Building confidence that you can accomplish your goals.
- Giving you pride in what you have accomplished thus far.
- Making goals much easier to obtain while still progressing you forward.
This is aside from the fact that smaller goals such as these are easier to manage for those who have a very busy schedule. Taking care of children, balancing a full-time job, and other life elements can make getting some time to write very difficult.
How to Properly Set Writing Goals to Build Momentum
The idea behind building momentum is to help you adjust to greater workloads. As you break each daily personal record, you gain a greater understanding of yourself and what you can handle.
Before long, you’ll be aiming for 2 million words per year. But let’s start with the basics first.
Step 1: Find Your Baseline
Finding a baseline is actually quite easy. Just count the number of words you wrote today, it’s as simple as that. Personally, I use the Calc program from LibreOffice. It’s free spreadsheet software that you can use to start tracking your progress.
You could also use something like Google Docs and make a spreadsheet there. That’s a nice option if you plan on working from more than one computer system. Since it’s web-based, you can literally access it from nearly any device.
If you’re working from WordPress, you can get the number of words you wrote in each article by clicking the “i” icon from the top toolbar.
Another tool I have installed in Chrome is Word Counter Plus. It’s an extension that will count the number of words you select. Simple select the text, right-click, and click on Word Counter Plus from the list.
In my case, it’s at the very bottom.
I use this extension when working on pages that don’t have a built-in word count. I also use it to analyze the length of competing articles, but that’s a blog post for another time.
Anyway, the point is to get your first base number so that you can set your goal.
If you want to get more ambitious, you can always keep track of the entire week and divide it by seven. That would be your weekly baseline for productivity. Currently, I think in terms of months and years. But I started by using each individual day as a goal to build up momentum.
Step 2: Set a Goal to Write One More Word
It’s literally that easy. Once you have your baseline, just plan for writing one more word than you did before.
For example, let’s say you wrote 1,025 words today. Tomorrow, your goal would be 1,026. Even if you write one more word than you did the day before, you’re setting a new record for yourself to beat.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should simply stop once you hit that goal. In fact, it’ll be in your best interest to keep writing as much as you can for the day.
Sure, this will set a much higher goal for tomorrow. But you’ll be proving to yourself that you can handle writing as much. And that can be worth a great deal to your levels of confidence.
You see, true success isn’t trying to keep up with me or anyone else, for that matter. It’s about what you can handle and what you get out of the experience.
If you’re content with just cranking out 1,026 words tomorrow and you meet that goal, then no one can really say that you’re doing it wrong. As long as you’re happy with the results and you’re on track to be where you want to go, that’s all that really matters.
But if you want to replace a full-time income, or want more than just a few extra bucks for Christmas, you’ll need to put in the effort to go further.
Step 3: Rinse and Repeat
Once you beat that goal you set in Step 2, use the new number to set a goal for tomorrow and repeat the process.
Instead of trying to reach some absurdly large number, you’re purely working on improving your abilities over time. And in the long run, that has quite a few more benefits than just trying to hit those high numbers.
As you’re repeating the process, you’ll also be:
- Improving your typing skills to make you faster.
- Improving your research methods to make it easier.
- Finding ways to squirrel away a few more minutes to write for extra words.
- Giving yourself the confidence to keep moving forward and becoming an expert.
- Potentially making more money.
Let’s take a look at that last point; making more money.
If you’re starting off with content mills, then being able to type more words per day means more money you make from clients. This is accomplished by being able to submit orders quicker.
If you’re a blogger, it means more content for visitors to read. After monetizing with things like AdSense or affiliate marketing, it increases your chances of pulling in extra cash.
If you use Vocal, Medium, or Hubpages, it means more money from more views of your articles. This works much like blogging, only you don’t own the website.
If you’re writing a novel, it just means you’re that much closer to publishing your book.
Why Do Goals that Focus on Momentum Work for Me?
When I started as a freelance writer in 2012, my ultimate goal was to quit my job and write full-time. However, the skeptic in me wasn’t fully convinced this would be the case.
It’s one of the reasons why I am impossible to scam. I’m always looking for the other shoe to drop and question everything. So, instead of convincing myself that it’s possible from the get-go, I focused more on evidence.
Not to mention the fact that I had no idea what I was doing in AP Style writing. This is aside from the fact that I also had very little time to write throughout the day.
How much can I make today? Is there enough work to keep the cash coming in? Is this really something in which I want to invest my time?
That’s when I started working more on momentum goals. These types of goals helped me come up with strategies over time of how to get where I want to be. They also gave me adequate time to learn more about freelance writing in general.
Instead of trying to max myself out from day one, I took it nice and easy while learning all I could to become the writer I am today.
I also had to balance my job at the school district, caring for toddlers, and keeping the household afloat. I continued to work on that momentum until I was able to quit the school district and write full-time.
The problem a lot of new writers have today is assuming they can have it all right now. When these new people can’t instantly buy their sports cars in the first week, they give up.
Freelance writing is more about playing the long game and building a list of clients that will pay you good money for your skills. And taking time to build momentum from your goals helps keeps things realistic.
Nowadays, I work on a much larger scale. Instead of monitoring daily activities, I look at things in terms of months and years. And right now, I’m on track to break last year’s record for total word count.
Where Do You Want to Be in 10 Years?
So, 10 years ago, I just started my writing career. I was working for a very small paycheck at the school district and was making a few bucks on the side from Textbroker. Thanks to building momentum from my goals, I am a considerable distance from where I was a decade ago.
Sure, there are a few things that would have made success quicker to achieve. For instance, battling impostor syndrome made it difficult to trust myself to find private clients.
But I was still able to grow and become far more successful today than I was back then. All of this was because I worked more on keeping momentum with micro-goals that moved me forward in my career.
It all starts with writing one more word today than you did yesterday.
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