In my last article, I spoke about completing a large goal in my TCG collection. Today, I want to talk about why goals are important, how you should be thinking about them, and how you can use them to keep your hobby experiences fresh.
Keep Things Interesting
The main reason to keep some up-to-date goals is that without them it can be a lot harder to keep yourself interested in the hobby. If you decide to just take things as they come, picking up random items here and there without any sense of direction, a couple of things can happen.
Firstly, if a few months’ worths of new releases don’t interest you, having any ongoing goals to fall back on can make that disinterest spread through the hobby as a whole, and before you know it you just have no desire to continue collecting. If you have ongoing goals, a lack of interest in new cards simply gives you more time to go back and work on those goals.
Secondly, if you are collecting without any rhyme or reason, your collection probably is not going to look too impressive. Not to others, but yourself. Having a collection that looks good to you and that you can be personally proud of is one of the most rewarding things you can do in the hobby – setting and completing goals is one of the best ways to achieve this. The sense of achievement that comes with finally picking up that last piece of the puzzle, that final card to finish a goal, is one of the main things that has kept the hobby fresh for me over the past 13 years. Whether it’s a goal I worked on for 3 months or 7 years, the feeling never gets old.
Set Your TCG Collection Goals
Now more than ever, setting goals can be seen as a daunting task. With a volatile secondary market and prices swinging wildly without much notice, it can sometimes feel like setting a goal is pointless if it could easily move out of your reach. So, let’s go over some tips which can help make setting goals an easier task:
- Start small. If you’re new to the hobby, chances are you aren’t going to be filling up Master Sets or picking up high-end Japanese trophies any time soon. Find something a lot smaller and a lot more manageable to work towards. Once you have a few of those goals completed, you’ll find that some things you previously felt were out of your reach are entirely doable.
- Have multiple TCG collection goals. When you set your goals, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. For reasons already mentioned, goals can move out of your reach, and if that does happen, you are going to want something to fall back on. To give a personal example, after the Art Academy contests back in 2015 I set a goal of collecting a full set of the winning cards from the North American competition and the Europe/Oceania competition. While a lot of the winners did come out and sell copies of their winning cards, some decided to keep every copy, and some simply never revealed themselves publicly. While every winning card has had some copies sold, thanks to some extra factory copies hitting the market, they sold for a lot more than I was able to afford at the time and I still have not been able to add those cards to my collection. If I had set this as my one single goal within the hobby, then being unable to obtain the last few cards would have left me completely without direction and unsure where to go next within the hobby. Luckily, as I had multiple goals going at the same time, I was simply able to move my focus to another goal and continue building.
- Don’t be afraid to make changes. If a goal is moving out of reach, or you are no longer getting as much enjoyment from it as you previously were, you can always make alterations. In the above example regarding the Art Academy cards, I haven’t abandoned the goal, I have simply moved it to be a much longer-term goal than I had previously expected it to be. Making changes to your goals can be anything from moving the time scale of a goal, to looking for PSA 9’s instead of 10’s.
- Sub-Goals are great. Let’s say you have a large long-term goal, maybe something that covers hundreds of different cards. It’s going to be a long time before you complete that goal, so split it up into smaller sections and work through it piece by piece. Completing the sub-goals can help you visualize just how your collection is growing, even if you haven’t yet ticked off your main goal.
Track Your Progress
One of the pieces of advice I wished I had followed better throughout all my time collecting. Track what you are doing. Whether you have a spreadsheet, a database, a notebook, or anything else, just make sure you are keeping track of everything you get. Don’t put off organizing your collection and your goals or at some point, it will just snowball on top of you and you will end up in a room surrounded by boxes of cads, vaguely knowing what is in each, but taking a solid 25 minutes to find something specific. Also if you use a spreadsheet, you can make the boxes go green whenever you purchase a card you want and that’s always fun to do.
Hopefully, this has helped in some way, be sure to comment wherever you found this on social media and let me know what goals or sub-goals you are currently working towards.
Dan Norton – DJGigabyte
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