Don’t set goals for how much money you want to earn on Medium next month

I see many posts on Medium where people set goals for how much they want to earn in the next month. For example, someone might say they earned $50 this month and have a goal to earn $100 next month. But this is a completely pointless goal. Let me explain why.

If your goal is to earn $100 next month, as in the example above, how are you planning to achieve it? It’s totally out of your control how much money you’ll earn. Medium could start paying less for reading time. You could get fewer views on your articles. An algorithm change could negatively affect you.

You don’t have any control over any of these things.

So, what should you do? Not bother setting any goals and just hope for the best? That doesn’t sound like a great idea either.

I agree. It’s not a great idea at all.

What you should do is set goals that are within your control. Whether you achieve them or not is totally on you.

If we continue with the example above, this is how I would approach it. Suppose that this month I published 30 articles and earned $50. Now also suppose I would like to earn $100 this month. How can I achieve that? One way would be to double the number of articles I publish.

It’s a fair assumption that if I earned $50 from 30 articles that I should earn $100 from 60 articles. It’s not guaranteed, but it is a possible way to get there.

In this case, my goal for next month would be to publish 60 articles. That is totally within my control. If at the end of the month I’ve published less than 60 articles, then it is my fault. I can then try to figure out what I did wrong and correct it. Maybe I write in the evening but get too tired some nights. so I skip it. A possible solution might be to write in the mornings instead.

Whatever the cause of my failure, I know that it’s on me and that I can fix it.

But what if my goal was to earn $100 and I only earn $80? Is that my fault or was it due to something outside my control? I have no way of knowing, so it will be very difficult to try to fix it. This is why setting monetary goals is a futile exercise.

When setting goals, we need to set ones that are within our control. Setting goals that we have no control over are doomed to failure.

The difference may not seem to matter much, but it’s critically important.