action goals

Action Goals for Writers: The Secret to Blogging Motivation

Today is a major milestone in my blogging journey. This is post #100 on this blog! A year and a half ago, I sat anxiously at our dining-room table. The cursor hovered above the “publish” button. I was nervous about sharing my life with the blogging universe.

  • How will my story be received?
  • Will I be able to write something thoughtful and encouraging week after week?
  • Am I guilty of sharing too much, or am I perhaps telling too little?

These questions flooded my mind.

After a moment of hesitation, I forcefully pressed my finger down. On August 26, 2014, this blog began!

Staying Motivated on the Blogging Journey

Today, most of those nagging doubts have vanished. Publishing new posts is a highlight of my week. The friendships that I have formed, and the privileged of sharing my ideas with the world, are things that I cherish.

Staying motivated has been easier than I expected. One reason for this is that I have become good at setting action goals.

To stay motivated, set up a series of quick wins. Share on X

Action goals are about making winning easy.

My Discovery of Action Goals

Two years ago, Jenny invited me to attend a Mary Kay phone seminar with her. Thinking that the training would be filled with overly excited women talking about makeup and pink cars, I was apprehensive but agreed. As it turns out, the conference was an incredible blessing. It provided an abundance of tools that I use daily in my writing and blogging.

During the call, participants asked questions like:

  • When will I reach my goal of becoming a director? 
  • What do I need to do to make $5,000 in sales each month?
  • How do I reach my goal of gaining ten new team members?

The speaker pointed out that each of these questions was connected to an outcome goal. Outcome goals are connected to factors outside of our control. Making sales and gaining team members are all dependent on the choices of others. Bloggers who set goals of adding a set number of e-mail subscribers, or visitors to their site, are creating outcome goals.

There is nothing wrong with having outcome goals on our list. However, bloggers who make outcomes goals their primary focus are setting themselves up for frustration.

I’ve discovered that outcome goals almost always take longer to achieve than I expect. Thus, these types of goals can quickly lead to discouragement. This is why I’ve switched almost entirely to action goals.

Action Goals

Action goals have controllable outcomes. In outcome goals, if I do the work, achieving the goal is guaranteed. Examples of action goals for bloggers include:

  • Publishing one new post every week.
  • Commenting on three posts every day.
  • Write one guest post every month and ask to have your post published on at least three different sites. In this example, even if all three people say “no,” you have still achieved your goal, so long as you have asked.

Action goals are dependent solely on the actions we take. They allow us to quickly build up a series of wins. For me personally: When I publish a post on Friday, I’ve achieved a goal!

When my e-mail newsletter goes out, it’s another win!

Every time I share a post through social media, I’ve scored again!

This may sound silly, but I love checking items off of my to-do list. There is a feeling of accomplishment. One of the highlights of the Mary Kay training was when the speaker said:

Keeping doing the work. You'll get there when you get there." Share on X

In other words, if we keep checking off our action goals—week after week—eventually, we will achieve the outcomes we desire. I’m finding this to be true in my own blogging, and it is exhilarating! The more consistent I become in reaching my smaller action goals, the more I move toward the outcomes I desire.

Changing Outcome Goals into Action Goals

If you are discouraged in your blogging, it might be because you have too many outcome goals and not enough action goals. Here are some ways to turn common outcome goals into action goals:

Outcome Goal: I’m going to add 1,000 people to my e-mail list this year.
This is an outcome goal because you can’t make someone subscribe to your list. 
Action Goal: I’m going to create three new lead magnets and promote each one through social media once a week.
A goal like this can be checked off every week. As long as you’ve created and promoted your lead magnet, you’ve hit your goal!

Outcome Goal: I’m going to grow my site view to 1,000 visitors a week.
Action Goal: I’m going to publish one new post a week.
Again, the goal changes from something out of our control (the number of visitors to our site) to something that is directly under our control. 

In action goals, if we take action, achieving the goal is guaranteed. Action goals are fun and a great way of staying motivated. Instead of fretting over results, my blogging advice–both to you and to myself–is, Take action, do the work, and you’ll get there when you do!

smart action goals

I’d love to hear from you! How do you stay energized and motivated to write week after week? Do you set action goals, and if so, how is this blogging tool working for you? I look forward to continuing the conversation in the comments below! Wishing you a highly-motivated and energized week of writing! 

For more creative writing ideas, be sure to visit our writing resources page. I pull back the curtain and show you all of my favorite writing resources. You can also check out my book Ten Great Ideas for Authors, where you will discover creative writing prompts and strategies to jump-start your author journey. I truly believe you are only one great idea away from writing success!  

More Writing Tips and Blogging Ideas

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Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at

31 thoughts on “Action Goals for Writers: The Secret to Blogging Motivation”

  1. Such smart ideas! I’m not much of a goal setter, I probably should be with all the blogs I read about goals, motivation, etc. You made this simple and that alone will motivate me. Thanks Jed for hosting.

  2. Jed and Jen, thanks for this encouragement. I do a lot of the things you talked about, but I guess I don’t think of them a “goals” so I never check them off and feel great about them afterward!

  3. Morning Jed!

    Congratulations on your blogging milestone! 100 posts – Woot! Woot!

    Great post, my friend! Their is some sage advice and words of wisdom in this post. Outcome goals vs. “Action” goals…I’ve never heard or thought about that before, but I oh, so needed to hear it. It’s really liberating! I’m going to get working on creating some new action goals because that’s what I can control – I’ll have to leave the “outcomes” up to the Lord. (And kudos to you for attending that “very pink” phone conference with wifey. That’s “simple act of love” is something you just blogged about in your “How to Keep Love Strong All Year Long” post. Great example!)

    Wishing you a highly motivated and energized week of writing, too.


  4. These are great tips, thank you so much for posting them! As a new blogger, I feel like there’s so much I need to be doing. This makes me just want to relax, make a list of goals, and start working through them.
    Thanks again!

  5. Congratulations on reaching the 100 post mark! I love how you differentiate between outcome goals and action goals. Focusing on the former would take the fun out of blogging after a while, wouldn’t it? Action goals are a great idea and besides keeping us positive they
    d also keep my sanity! As I read your post I was thinking, “boundaries…making action goals like ‘posting 3 comments per day’ will keep me from spending all day lost in the computer”. (I tend to do that and then sometimes get stressed out.) Thanks for posting these suggestions!

    Blessings to you and Jen, Joan

  6. This post is just what I needed at this moment. I haven’t been blogging for very long, but sometimes it can seem like I’m not growing as fast as I had imagined I would, and that’s discouraging. This helped me realize that there’s only so much I can do, and keeping my focus on action goals will help my blog in the long run. Thanks!

  7. Jed, you really hit a home run with this post! I love the idea of action goals verses outcome goals. I will definitely be putting your suggestions into action (goals that is)! And I’ll be pinning and saving this to review in the future. Blessings!

  8. I really like your distinction between action goals and outcome goals. We may know what we want, but the struggle is coming up with those actionable steps that may get us there, and focus on those.

  9. I really love how you differentiate between action goals and outcome goals. Just thinking about goals that way makes such a difference. They actually sound doable, and I can see how they eventually will lead to your outcome goals. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love how dedicated you are. I wish I were having the success you are, but I know I’m learning a lot about God by writing my blog and that may be all He wants for me right now. I am fighting to increase my pageviews a month and think I will reach my goal for February by Monday. Maybe sooner! Starting with reachable goals.

    1. Hey Jennifer,
      I love your site, and such a great name for it too! Congrats on moving forward toward your goals. I still feel like I’m fighting to increase page-views each month 🙂 It’s been such a blessing to have a consistent group of people stopping by and cheering me on in this incredible journey–thanks for being one of them!

  11. Congrats on post #100! It is amazing the encouragement and friendships that can be found in blogging. Thanks for hosting and hope you all have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  12. Congratulations on your 100th post! I should reach my 100th in a couple weeks. I am sure you will meet your goals with the great plans you have in place. It is always inspirational to me to see great blogs like yours achieving success. Keep up the good work!

  13. So Dejavu this post!

    Funny coz I was talking to my team members Friday and encouraging them to do just this focus on Action rather than outcome! Yes setting targets is great, But once done, forget it and DO the Work. Coz as HBOs and Internet marketers it can get frustrating when yo set a rank up goal and the month comes and goes…know what a saying. But if you focus on the action then results shall come esp. when ou 10X those actions in order to get those desired results.

    If you wish to add 1000k to your list in a year you gotta publish at least one post per week with a super attractive lead magnet and promote the heck out of that post all over the www to get more people to rad post and see that awesome Offer…if you target the right distribution routes the audience will come.

  14. YAY for 100 posts! Blogging can be difficult in staying motivated. For me it is not the writing that is difficult, but the constant building building building that I find myself doing. And I feel like I can’t take a break.

  15. Great advice, Jed! (Your Mary Kay thoughts of pink cars and excited ladies made me giggle ;)). I would get incredibly discouraged if I had outcome goals–because, like you said, the outcome seems to take forever! My action goals include posting at least three times a week and keeping my Buffer filled with social media shares and reading and commenting on at least four blogs a day. In addition to life, of course ;)!

  16. You always have such great thoughts and tips on blogging. Thanks for sharing with us at Family Joy Blog Link Up this week. Have a wonderful week.

  17. Awesome post! You’re really doing an excellent job with this site. I’ve found encouragement from some of the Mary Kay ideas as well. That lady was inspiring…

  18. Good morning, neighbor, from over at Lyli’s …

    I love what you said about when we get there, we get there! I’ve found contentment and joy in my site as I’ve given the results to God instead of focusing on the numbers, the stats. It’s been a freeing choice, for sure.

    And in the process, the conversations have only gotten richer, the online relationships stronger …

    ‘Cause when all is said and done, it’s His blog, not mine. I like it that way! Takes the pressure off for sure …

  19. “The more consistent I become in reaching my smaller action goals, the more I move toward the outcomes I desire”
    This is such a wonderful concept to keep in front of us. We cannot control others but we can control our action items to meet our goal and being consistent in those actions will lead to bigger things.
    Congrats on the 100th post! Way to be consistent!

  20. I love your take on action goals versus outcome goals. I agree that outcome goals will leave us frustrated and so, this year, I started working with action goals. I start my day with a to-do list and I feel accomplished just by checking off the completed tasks. I look forward to doing this daily and it has helped me stay sane, no matter what happens. I do my best and leave the rest to God. I’ve asked Him for results and I know He’ll answer me in His due time.

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