Last night, I talked over the importance of goal setting with my son.  Being 12 years old (him, not me) it may seem a little young to do this, but that is what my parents did with me.  My son wants to create a video game, but this is very applicable to collecting as well.

The first time I set a goal was when i was 12 years old.  I wanted to buy 25 T-206 tobacco cards.  Using the formula below, I was able to accomplish this – quite a huge accomplishment for a kid!  This formula has stuck with me ever since, and is from Zig Ziglar.  I also use other techniques as well to continue pushing forward toward what I want to accomplish.

Hopefully this will help some of you out in achieving your goals as well!

1)  State the Goal
A goal not written down is not a goal at all … it is just a dream!  Things get real when you write things down.  There is something psychological that happens once pen is put to paper.  Make sure you are specific about it as well.

For example:

“I want to have an awesome baseball card collection”

is not specific!  Try this:

“I want to have 10 PSA graded gem mint rookies of meaningful players in my collection.”

2)  Set a Deadline
Writing down your goal is not enough.  If you want to realize your dream, you must set a deadline, or it likely will never start.

For our 10 PSA graded gem mint rookies, you might put the deadline at the end of Summer – September 22, 2015.

At the writing of this article, the great thing about this is that you can now begin to identify what needs to happen within this time for this to happen!  September 22 means you have about 15 weeks, or 105 days to reach your goal.  It is important to note to NOT be afraid to extend the deadline.  Many get frustrated with this, and shut down if they miss a deadline.  Just keep going!

3)  Identify the Obstacles
“Nothing in life worth having is free”.  Your goal is a goal for a reason – there are obstacles to get to what you want!  Don’t ignore them – identify them.

For finding your 10 PSA graded gem mint rookies, your obstacles could be:
– Finding them
– Getting the money together for them
– Dealing with your wife when she things you have gone bananas because you want to drop so much money on pieces of cardboard like a nerd.

4) Identify the People, Groups and Organizations who can Assist
There is a saying:  “Travel alone, and you will get there fast.  Travel together, and you will go far.”  Sometimes, we all need help on things.  Who / what can help you?  What tools?  What websites?

Ebay and COMC are great places to find cards you want.  The forums are also a great tool, because not only can you buy cards, you can also network with other collectors and share your goal!  Try doing this kind of networking 15 years ago – it would have been insanely difficult.

5)  List the Benefits of Achieving the Goal
Ask:  “What’s in it for me?”  Never lose sight of why you are working toward your goal!  If you cannot come up with a compelling list as to what the benefits are, perhaps you need to pull the plug.  Life is short – make the most of your time.

For the 10 PSA graded gem mint cards, you will probably easily be able to write out a laundry list of benefits:

– They will be the center piece of the collection I love so much.
– My friends. family and fellow collectors will be impressed with such fine specimens of cardboard.
– I LOVE showing off new cards on the forums, and would be able to do that with these.
– The chicks will be swarming me because of these cards.

6)  List the Skills you need to Acquire to Obtain this Goal
This isn’t too terribly applicable for this goal, but one skill you may need is a good working understanding of the value of what cards you want!  You want your purchases to be smart, so don’t just blindly throw $500 on that beautiful 1991 Fleer Ultra Phil Plantier you have your eye on.

7)  Develop a Plan
This is where the rubber meets the road.  You have identified your goal, set a deadline, identified the obstacles and who to work with.  You have listed the benefits of achieving the goal and listed the skills needed to obtain this goal.

You now have all the tools needed to make a plan – write it down!  This is the “HOW”.  Setup mini goals / check points for yourself.  In our example goal, we have 15 weeks to get the 10 psa graded cards.  The plan could be to:

– Identify the 10 cards you want (and perhaps 10 alternates if something else catches your eye instead.)
– Determine how much each should cost.
– Develop a plan to get the money needed (or adjust the goal / go for other cards that might be more attainable.)
– Start hitting the online websites and look!

As it has been said before, it is VERY simple, but it may not be easy.  Virtually any goal can be achieved, so put this list to work, and remember – if you don’t see success 100%, you will still be a lot further along than if you hadn’t tried for it!

A few notes that I feel I should share about this:

1)  Any goal worth going for should not negatively affect anyone.  If it is going to take away precious time with your family, or cause a rift between you and close friends, then consider doing something else.  This should be a positive experience – a change for the better.

2)  Review your goal every morning when you wake up and every night when you go to bed.  Try your hardest to do something … anything EVERY DAY to make progress.

So, that is it for now!  I’m looking forward to hearing from YOU!  What are your goals?