How was your year? Now is the time to review 2015, put it behind you and focus on a brand new year of detecting. Setting goals for 2015 only takes a few minutes and will clearly make a difference.
Setting goals at the beginning of the year made all of the difference in the world for me. It created a drive that was the basis for everything I did this year. To illustrate, here are some of my goals and the results:
Goal: Dig my first Civil War Plate:
Result: In 2015, I dug 8 Civil War Plates, including 4 rare ones.
Goal: Recover my first Civil War Relic from a Creek
Result: Exceeded my wildest dreams. I recovered bullets, an artillery fuse, a Borman cannonball, and a cavalry spur from creeks this past summer, plus beat the heat and probably avoided heat stroke. The interesting thing is that I tried creek hunting during the summer of 2014, and failed miserably. The difference was I made a concerted effort to learn how to do this properly, seek advice and hunt with someone who could help.
Goal: Hunt several specific new towns
Result: I hunted over 7 new towns in 2015, and hit every single one on my 2015 list except for Shiloh.
Goal: 10 Civil War Buttons
Result: I found well over 10, including my first Confederate Block “I” button, an early militia button, and a Staff Officer’s button.
I am absolutely certain that I would not have had the year I had without setting these goals up front.
Here are recommended steps to make 2016 your best detecting year ever.
1) Review of 2015
Did you have detecting goals for 2015?
If you answered “Yes”: How did you do against them? Count that stuff up!
If you answered “No”: If on January 1, 2015 you could have seen how your year was going to turn out, would you be satisfied with the results?
What were your best finds of the year? Was it an ok year? A good year? A great year?
2) Set Benchmarks
Count or estimate things that were important to you in 2014. If you are primarily after silver coins, how many did you find? If you are a relic hunter, how many bullets, or plates did you find? You can use these counts as a baseline to set goals for the new year and determine improvement at the end of next year.
Many detectorists like to start with just beating their silver count, jewelry count, and/or relic count for the previous year, for example.
Also, how many times do you reasonably expect to hunt per week or month in 2016? This is important to think about. If you can’t detect as much as last year, you may need to detect smarter and work extra hard with research and permission to make every session count.
How many sites did you hunt in 2015? You can even go so far as to break these down into types of sites. Remember the time you spend now will directly impact your detecting year to come.
3) Determine Areas for Improvement
Be honest with yourself. How well did you do at researching and finding new sites to hunt? At being aggressive and getting permission? How often did you detect?
How well do you know your detector/s? Is your equipment adequate or are upgrades or repairs in order?
What things held you back in 2015? What areas could improvement help you excel in 2016?
Evaluate your success with your hunting partners. How can this be improved? If you are not hunting with a partner, think about it. Good detecting partners make a tremendous amount of difference in our results. Friendly competition, you detect more due to expectations and accountability, motivation to get out or hit one more site when you don’t feel like it, adventure, shared burden of research and permission. And this list goes on…
If you are weak with research, or permission, or detecting techniques, find detecting partner/s that can help shore up these areas, and take advantage of your strengths as well.
Identifying and addressing areas for improvement greatly increases the probability that you will hit your goals, or at least this year will be significantly better than the last.
4) Set Specific Item Goals
In 2015, my primary goal was to find any Civil War plate such as a US belt buckle or Eagle Breast Plate. Due to the type of hunting I do, I think this was the most reasonable item on my “bucket list” to tackle this year.
What is on the top of your bucket list and reasonable to expect that, with proper focus, you could find in 2016? Gold coin? Big Silver? It’s up to you. It doesn’t have to be a first and you can of course set as many goals as you want to.
Be bold. Set both reasonable and unreasonable goals.
Just a couple of years ago, I had never found a silver coin older than 1900. I set that goal and broke it.
I would like to find a Civil War state button and a state plate in 2016. I have never found either!
Think about the types of places these specific items can be found, and incorporate seeking out and hunting those types of sites into your 2016 plan.
5) Find Count Goals
If you are a beach hunter, how many gold rings do you aim to find in 2015? If you are a silver coin sniper, how many silvers are you going to recover this year? Relic hunters: How many bullets and/or buttons and/or plates? Take into account your 2015 totals and raise the bar high to motivate yourself.
Take the average number of such finds you dug a month last year as a basis for setting an aggressive goal for 2016.
Don’t be afraid to make the goal hard to reach. I’ve found that I find more not reaching a difficult to obtain goal than reaching an easy goal. Plus you can always try again the following year!
6) Site Goals
I can’t tell you all the incredible sites I hunted this past year where I found little or nothing, but the privilege of standing on the site was a breathtaking experience. What is your dream list? Where would you really like to hunt?
Surely you have a battlefield, city, or house you’ve always wanted to hunt. 2015 is the year to ante up and make it happen.
Is this the year you are going to “man up” and knock on that door? You know exactly the one I’m talking about. Everybody has “that door”.
Use your imagination and think outside of the box. That’s how dreams are realized.
7) Document Your Goals
I write down my goals and store them on the cloud where I can instantly access them from my iPhone. Printing them out and putting them on the wall in your office, or bathroom mirror works just as well. Just have them somewhere where you can’t help but see them regularly and remind yourself to stay focused. Unlike most people’s New Year’s resolutions, which are long forgotten by the end of January, you have to work hard to make sure you stay on track to meet your goals.
And you can modify your goals as you see fit during the year. If you hit certain goals early in the year, focus harder on hitting the other goals, but feel free to add or modify goals as the year progresses.
Consider posting some of your goals on social media such as Facebook. Other detectorists will motivate you, provide advice on hitting them, and celebrate with you when you hit the goal!
8) Make a Plan and Execute It!
Based on your experience, determine how much you think you need to detect in 2015 to hit your goals. Will twice a week do it? How many properties do you think you need to hunt?
How are you going to find those properties? Research? Referrals?
What is your permission plan? Door knocking? Networking?
Who do you need to hunt with this year to help reach your goals? Share your goals with them and jointly plan so that both of you can win and meet your respective goals.
Envision yourself achieving each of your goals. What will it feel like? What will that key item look like coming out of the ground? Imagine the display cases holding your finds for the coming year.
You’ve laid the foundation. Now all you have to do is go out there and make it happen!
Good luck out there in 2015!
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