2011 Goals

How high do you dream?

Today I go over my 2010 goals to see how I graded. In part two, in an upcoming post, I talk about my 2011 goals and let you know what kind of posts and products you’ll see from me next year.

I believe goals make you more effective, whether you are aiming to improve your game mastering or running a business. Focus is key, and that was my achilles heel in 2010.

In past years I have discussed my goals in the Roleplaying Tips newsletter. Last year I moved that discussion to the Campaign Mastery blog.

This type of post is helpful for me, but it feels like a bit of public navel gazing. However, I do feel this post provides you examples of the kinds of goals to make and their brief assessment, so you can either feel inspired, or go off better informed, to make your own goals for 2011.

People quote studies done how people who make goals are more successful. “Successful at what?” I ask. And that is my point. Without a direction to aim for, how do you know if you are lost? How do you know where to spend your limited free if you do not do a bit of initial dreaming, organizing and planning?

How do you know what you want out of GMing or your business or your life if you do not take a few minutes to put it on paper. When it is on paper, you can hold it up to the light and see if the picture it forms sits ok with you. If it does not, change it. And change it now, before you spend time going down the wrong path.

Being a “better GM” or “better blogger” are great goals, but too vague. Goals must be specific. What, exactly, do you want to learn or improve or do differently than last year?

Goals must be measurable. How do you know if you are making progress? How do you know if you have finally achieved success? You need specific items to measure so you can keep track. Plus, tracking something measurable is motivational.

With the pleas for you to set goals out of the way, I challenge you to set a few simple goals for yourself for 2011. Read this post then write down some goals. Need incentive? I will offer a prize to a random commenter who writes what their 2011 goals are below.

I gave myself a B+ for 2009. Let’s see how I fared in 2010.

Goal #1: Publish an ebook

I ended up self-publishing two ebooks, but not the one I planned, lol. The first ebook was Filling the Empty Chair, a product that helps you uncover nearby gamers using simple online or offline methods.

Sales and reviews were tepid, but those who were actually looking for new players instead of looking for a gaming book to just read found it comprehensive and effective. And just about everybody who purchased the book signed up for the free updates list, which is awesome.

The second ebook was 650 City Fantasy Seeds & Hooks. This one flew off the shelves. Based on contest entries from a Roleplaying Tips contest, this valuable GM aid is still popular with daily downloads. The good news is you can get it free right now by subscribing to the Roleplaying Tips newsletter.

Getting those two ebooks out taught me a lot about publishing and the work required to build and make such things available to gamers. It was fun and I plan on doing more ebooks in the future. News on that in my upcoming 2011 goals post.

Grade: B+. Marks docked for not getting the book I wanted to publish done – a collaborative effort with Mike Bourke of Campaign Mastery and Michael K. Tumey of gamer-printshop.com.

Goal #2: Publish 52 posts

According to my records, I missed one week this year (Mike, correct me if I’m wrong). Lots of different types of posts this year included in the mix as a bonus, including lists, contests, reviews, GM advice, and tools and aids.

Grade: A

Goal #3: DM my D&D campaign every other week

My record this year was 16/26. On the surface that is terrible. However, we took the summer off and Christmas this year off. My dad passing away knocked me out pretty much all of January and February. It also seemed to wick away a lot of my personal energy, and it was not until June did I feel like I had my normal energy levels back.

So, given the remaining window of time in 2010, we did fairly well. Long-term, I would like to game weekly. To make that happen I need to at least game bi-weekly consistently. Therefore, still lots of work to go here.

Grade: C because I am over 50% but still far off the mark.

Goal #4: Roleplaying Tips Newsletter

Success. Roleplaying Tips had n0 unscheduled missed weeks in 2010, which is awesome. The newsletter did switch from weekly to bi-weekly in August, in part because of reduced free time available. However, it did not miss any planned publication dates.

The newsletter also receives very few unsubscribes. I track why people leave the newsletter when they offer me the feedback. Top answers in 2010 were:

  • Not gaming anymore (this saddens me – how to help gamers keeping gaming?!)
  • Too long / not enough time to read it
  • Switched to the RSS feed
  • Looking for World of Warcraft / MMO tips

Thanks to everyone who sends in positive feedback about the newsletter. Critical feedback is always welcome too – I especially love ideas for improvement, or ideas that would help the newsletter help you become an even better GM. Name calling is not so welcome, but I can at least use that to help me name some NPCs. :)

Grade: A+.

Goal #5: Contests and giveaways

A record number in 2010. More coming in 2011. This year, Campaign Mastery and Roleplaying Tips gave away over 50 products including dice, minis, books, ebooks, memberships and software. Thanks very much to prize sponsors:

Did I miss anyone?

Contests consume a ton of my time. If I can make running them more efficient and run the same amount next year, that would be worth an A+. However, this year there was considerable lag time between contest closures, prize winner picks or content making it back into the Roleplaying Tips newsletter.

Grade: B+.

Goal #6: A great year for Gamer Lifestyle

And it was. A bunch of new members. Members cranking out websites, growing their communities and publishing gaming products. We launched an ebook about the pitfalls of RPG publishing. We’ve just added public RPG business forums so everyone can discuss RPG product creation and publishing together. And we hired a Relationist to help serve members and grow our audience.

After helping gamers get their RPG work published, we noticed the biggest reported obstacle was lack of free time. However, those who succeeded in launching were able to simply corral their time, be a bit more organized and focused, and work a bit more efficiently than those who struggle.

This is the secret truth behind time management all the gurus and coaches teach: be focused, goal oriented, efficient and consistent. No matter how busy you are, there is always 15-30 minutes each day available for your goals if you structure things right. RPG revenue is possible for everyone, you just need to follow these practices.

Gamer Lifestyle teaches the tricks and techniques of time management, and we will continue to do so through our blog and forums in 2011.

Grade: A. Not A+ because some members are still having productivity and time management issues.

Goal #7: Have more fun

This is a goal I have every year. I did not measure it in 2010. However, I’d say 16 game sessions this year marks a lot of fun. Blogging 51 times in 2010 was a lot of fun. Dozens of Roleplaying Tips newsletters written, edited and published was a lot of fun. And doing my first two self-published ebooks was awesome too.

Aside from family issues, I would say 2010 was chock full of fun!

Grade: A

Overall rating

Last year I scored a B+. This year….

A A B+ A+ C A B+ = A-

That is great! Mind you, the goal is not to improve the letter grade each year. The goal is to figure out what you want out of life, including having fun and playing games. If you are like me, then you also consider GMing a worthwhile craft you can always improve at, so that factors into what I want out of life and needs its own deserved attention in the big picture too.

Rather than aiming for A+, my overall goal is to make sure all my individual goals are getting attention – that what is important to me is what gets my deliberate attention and time. I have personal goals too for family, exercise, food, career and so on. I won’t bore you with those as this is a gaming blog.

The point is, get off the couch and live your life with deliberateness and purpose instead of living vicariously each day and getting frustrated that you are not getting what you want.

Next post: I reveal my gaming-related plans for 2011.

Remember the prize. Leave a comment with your 2011 goals below (point form or link back to a post on your blog post on the topic is fine). A random commenter, which I’ll announce in my 2011 goals post, gets some Q-Workshop dice!

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