What Are Your Goals for 2020? Tell Me and I'll Check Up on You in a Year

What Are Your Goals for 2020? Tell Me and I'll Check Up on You in a Year

I'm not joking. Anyone who comments on this article will get a follow up message in December 2020 to see how you got on. Why? Because both committing a goal to paper and telling someone your goal both increase the chances you'll meet it.

I'm a bit obsessed with goals, in all honesty. I set myself short term goals, long term goals, stretch goals, and that's just to name a few. As if that wasn't boring enough, I also read a lot on and around the subject. In that standing obsession, I've learnt some truths that remain prevalent and useful, two I've mentioned already. The first is that you should physically write goals down for a higher chance of following them through. The second is that you should tell people what you are planning to achieve because you won't want to be seen to fail, and thus again more likely to reach your goal. But the third tip I'd like to unpack a little further: read your goals as often as possible.

For those of you who have read a few of my articles you might be aware of how many business books I consume; it's around 1 to 2 per month. It started off as something I thought I ought to do as I didn't have a clue about running a business, but it grew to be something that I either enjoy or am addicted to. Some of the books have limited application to photography businesses, but most of them are pertinent, and one of the latter category is Rob Moore's "Money". Moore was one of the first books I read that heavily reinforced my inclination to set goals, but he took the idea far further than I had. In fact, have a look at his goal planning document to see how in depth it is. He recommends that you take this planner, print it, fill it in, and read it every night before you go to sleep and every morning when you wake up. This isn't an alien idea which many successful folk giving merit to the idea that making sure that your goals are at the forefront of your mind at all times increases the chance you'll spot an opportunity to achieve them when it rears its head. Perhaps a chance you might have otherwise missed; not a too outlandish notion.

One other revolutionary takeaway from this planner for me was that there were sections for goals that weren't directly connected to his businesses. He had goals for everything from exercise and health, to cars he wanted to buy and education. It was around this point I started to realize the merit of seeing goal setting as a holistic procedure. While you can it break down into constituent parts, they all influence each other in a symbiotic way and contribute to the overall sense of success. Perhaps counterintuitively, there's also a section for "Giving" where you are expected to set goals for charitable acts, which I'm frankly embarrassed I hadn't thought to do of my own volition.

One way I've personally learnt to develop fitting and meaningful goals is to look back at the last year. For example, in my goals for 2020 (which I am still writing), I look back at 2019 and simply identify what I want more of and what I want less of. One my chief loves in photography is portraiture and looking back at some (like the image above) reminds me I want to do more of it. Many of my highlights for 2019 involve portraiture of some description. Walking around Tokyo with the GFX 50R and GFX 100 combined with the 110mm f/2 taking portraits of locals was something I could happily do time and time again. Similarly, working on a photojournalistic style piece about the Sami people of Norway and their reindeer is a style of work I certainly want to create more of going forward.

Your Goal

While I want you to set a number of comprehensive goals in a style similar to Rob Moore's template linked above, I want you to comment one particular goal you are going to achieve this coming year. Think carefully and then commit it to paper (read: the far more public paper of an internet comment section) and in a year I will contact you to see how you got on. Every time you have an opportunity to work towards your goal and you think about blowing it off or that you've got plenty of time, I want you to think how you will word your reply to me to say that you failed to achieve that goal. I'll give you the disappointed eyes and subtle shake of the head that only a mother can usually summon.

However, don't set yourself an easy goal just so that you can achieve it. Invariably, making headway on a difficult goal but not quite reaching the finish line is much more valuable than reaching a goal you knew you could definitely meet before you started. As a very rough guideline, I would recommend aiming at a goal that seems out of reach for the current you; anything less isn't propelling your forward enough.

Here's to a great 2020!

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Stuart Carver's picture

To get better and get out more.

Usman Dawood's picture


Usman Dawood's picture

ah damnn

What about game theory, does that not work?

Yeah, in my experience sharing your goals gives you a premature feeling of accomplishment and you don't go through with whatever it is you talked about.

Chris Fowler's picture

That happened to me last year! I told several people I was launching a youtube channel, and in 3 months I only uploaded ONE video #fail

Robert K Baggs's picture

There definitely seems to be two opposing schools of thinking. I'm hoping there's nuance between just telling somebody your goals and telling somebody who you know is going to check if you followed through. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the "social reality" is true, but recipients of your goals in social settings I would presume are unlikely to chase you down to see if you did achieve the goals. I might well be wrong though, I'm far from a psychologist!

I like his template so take my shade with a smirk and a grain of salt...

On the front page it says, "Using the Goal Planner you can harness one of Rob's key techniques to keep himself on track and grow his wealth and business massively." So I'm using his planner to grow his wealth and business massively? ;) English is somehow one of the sloppiest and yet most used languages.


To get a photo 3 or higher on this community.

Pontus Stigberg's picture

My goal is to make 10 000$ 2020 with photography. I want to build a convertible van and that is approximately what I need.

Matthew Lacy's picture

My goal is to achieve a 3 star rating here on Fstopers by the end of 2020.

Be financially stable+
This year im hoping to transition to wedding videography from stills. Buy 2 cameras (ML/Dslr not sure yet) and other relevant gear. Be a sidekick to a videographer to learn the ins and out. Buy another maxi scooter as mine has electrical issues and its driving me nuts. Maybe find a SO as well. Not sure with the last though. Trying to heal from 8 year relationship that ended. Left me in financial trouble. I plan to pay back when I get restitution from insurance from a bad bike accident I had. Yes still riding 2 wheels

Deleted Account's picture

To still be happy in life. To not have lost any more loved ones and that the people I care about are all safe and well.

My goal is to start selling my landscape photos, take 10 compelling landscape/cityscape

Jerome Brill's picture

My goal this year just like last year is to spend more money on lenses than I make in photography. You don't need to follow up, I have the Sigma 24-70mm pre ordered so I'm already on my way.


Tom Reichner's picture

My goals for 2020 are:

Increase my stock royalty income by 40% ... I already have the images, I just need to discipline myself to do the tedious uploading, captioning, and keywording

Land a somewhat lucrative gig licensing images to my state's tourism department

Submit images to no fewer than 5 publishers to whom I have never submitted before

Learn to use Photoshop to perform edits that I have not been able to perform with my current software

Save enough money to be able to once again travel for a full month to Colorado and Montana to photograph the Whitetail Deer rut in November

I've never pursued stock royalties, might be something to pursue in conjunction with my 366 project.

Xain VanVooren's picture

My goal is to become active in photography forums, and to learn from my peers in the field.

Chris Fowler's picture

2020 goal: to become better at photography (just started in September 2019) and to launch a YouTube channel. Clarification on second goal, since it is too general; I currently have 0 subscribers, so let's say 500 subscribers by NYE 2020.

Tom Reichner's picture

Your YouTube goal is great, because it is specific, and can be measured. I like that.
I am interested in knowing what type of content you plan on putting on YouTube.

What is your YouTube channel? I'll check it out and help you to your goal.

Chris Fowler's picture

Tom Reichner Bruce Clement Thanks for the encouraging words!

I wanted to start a travel vlog, but since I work full time, I thought "Damn, if only I had more Free Time." So that gave me the idea for the channel name and then the content morphed into "well, what about weekend adventures?"
I still need to design the channel layout and update the landing page before I post new content, but here is the pilot episode:

It is currently unlisted because I might re-shoot it entirely for technical reasons you will see in the video. Feedback is totally welcome!

Tom Reichner's picture

You now have another subscriber, another like, and a comment. Thanks for posting the video!
Content that is Florida-specific is useful to me, as I road-trip to Florida to photograph birds, mammals, and reptiles, and can always use more info about locations for nature photography in your state.

Chris Fowler's picture

Thank you Tom! Re: Florida-specific content, I shall keep that in mind. I'll probably be re-shooting a beach episode when weather permits (Dania Beach, Pompano Beach, or Biscayne Bay) and some kayak/fishing trips in Broward county, Florida keys, and Everglades National Park.

Subscribed! I don't get to Florida very often but I am hoping to this year so this will be helpful.

Chris Fowler's picture

Feel free to message me for travel tips if you're going to be in the south east portion of Florida or the keys!

My goal is to complete another 365 (366 this year) project of one image taken, processed and posted each day for a year. I did it 8 years ago and I've decided to take it on again this year. It took my photography to a whole new level last time and I want to see what I can do with it this time. Posting on Facebook and Instagram to keep me honest.

Richie Bednarski's picture

Thank you for doing this. I think it is a great idea and excellent tool for all photographers. My goals this year are: Shoot and develop more Film. Complete (and start) Coffee Portrait project. More Paid Gigs. And, Grad School. Here's to it!

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