Goal setting helped StoneMountain64 hit the combined 6.5M+ followers he has today. The building blocks of any project, big or small, they're essential for streamers of any size to stay focused, build momentum, and create a narrative their community can participate in. I'll go over the basics first, and then explain the S.M.A.R.T. framework for goal setting that Stone uses on a daily basis.
There are two main categories goals can fall under: personal goals, and community goals.
Personal goals are the ones you set for yourself, such as the number of weekly streams, VOD uploads, or social media posts you do. These should be internal only, you do not need to communicate them to your audience. Community goals are external, and typically involve hitting a number of followers, subscribers, or shares/retweets/likes etc. These goals should be shared with your audience so they can feel like they're a part of your journey.
Here is an example of what personal goals might look like vs. community goals:
Note: everyone's goals are going to look different. You have to personalize goals to fit your current situation and make sure they're realistic.
There's another benefit for separating your goals into personal vs community categories -- hitting your personal goals on a weekly basis will support you in completing your larger community goals.
Say you have 1,000 followers by November, but your stretch goal was to hit 2,000 followers by December 31st. You may be feeling bad about the gap, when you should be celebrating your first 1K follower milestone.
That's why having personal goals to focus on works. You're breaking down your big dream into bite sized pieces that are manageable and won't overwhelm you.
This brings me to the 3 R's: Re-examine. Rethink. Revise.
When goal setting, you should be looking at your goals every month or every 3 months, thinking about whether or not they're realistic or if you're setting the bar too low, and revising them as time goes by. When life comes up, you'll want to revise your goals to make sure you feel emotionally okay so you don't end up burning out.
S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting
Want to do it like the pros? This is how StoneMountain64 thinks when he sets goals:
S - Specific
Be clear and specific. The more specific your description, the greater the possibility of accomplishing it. For example, if you start with the statement "I want to be a full-time streamer," does that mean you want earn enough money to pay the bills so you can quit your job, or join a professional e-sports team, or become the next Ninja? Because hitting those goals would look very different in your day-to-day.
For many, it's financial freedom and being able to quit their full-time jobs. Instead of "I want to be a full-time streamer," your goal might be "I want to hit Twitch Affiliate status" and "I want to generate x income a month from my YouTube channel."
M - Measurable
Use numbers and other ways to see how much progress you've made. Let's say you want to grow your YouTube channel, your goal might be "I want to make money on YouTube." Being specific means that you might adjust your goal to "I want to become a YouTube partner to unlock monetization features."
Looking at the requirements, your actual goal becomes "I want to have 4,000+ public watch hours," and "I want to have 1,000+ subscribers." This goal is specific and measurable.
A - Attainable
Your goals need to be realistic and attainable to be successful. This means looking at the effort, time, and other costs of pursuing your goal in comparison to the other priorities and obligations you have going on in your life right now. We've all got a lot going on at any given time, and if you don't acknowledge it in the goals you set for yourself, it will only hurt your motivation.
Setting stretch goals is great for your community to see you're not afraid to go big, but for your personal goals you need to make sure they're attainable.
R - Relevant
Make sure what you're doing is worth your time, and that it makes sense to be pursuing it right now. If your goal is to hit 1,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel, but you don't know how to edit videos to create VOD to upload, it probably makes sense to set a video editing learning goal for yourself. Something like "spend 2 hours a week learning DaVinci Resolve." But if you don't know how to edit videos, and one of your goals is to "have 2 brand sponsorships by October," how relevant is that activity to what you're trying to accomplish?
You might want to focus on brand sponsorships a year from now, but if you put too much energy into it at the wrong time, you'll end up losing momentum.
T - Time-Oriented
Give yourself a timeline for all of your goals. "I want to have 1,000+ subscribers" becomes "I want to have 200 subscribers in 2 months" and "I want to hit 1,000 subscribers by the end of this year." Make sure you're applying pressure on yourself with deadlines, but still make these timelines reasonable for your schedule. Don't be afraid to revisit your goals and revise them over time if your schedule or priorities do change.