Lesson #55: Achieving Goals



We all like goals. (Well, most of us like goals.) We feel some sort of weird accomplishment when we set goals for ourselves. We get pumped. Feel ambitious. Make plans and lists and outlines of how to accomplish them. We dream up incredible scenarios and rewards for ourselves when we finish…

And then…

Some of those goals fall by the wayside.

Life gets in the way.

We lose our oomph. Our motivation.

We begin to feel like we are unworthy, unfit, unreliable… unable to complete our goal.

We’re a bunch of losers who stink at writing and want to throw our computers, pens and paper, and manuscripts out the window.

Ahhhh… But that’s not the truth. (We may want to chunk it all out the window, yes, but we’re NOT losers.)

What is it with creative people? We can be our own biggest champions and our own worst enemies. And I’m not just talking about self-esteem. LOL

I’m talking about the completion, accomplishment, finishing, triumph, success, and execution of achieving our goals. Putting a big fat check mark beside that daunting ________________.

Whatever that goal may be.

But today, I’m not even going to talk about other goals you make (or even your New Year’s Resolutions) – I’m just going to talk about your writing goals.

One of the biggest problems is setting a goal that you do not control—such as… “I want to hit the New York Times Best-Seller list with my first book…” (before it’s even completed or contracted!) Creative people do often have trouble with reality. So let’s be realistic first and foremost.

This is going to be simple, I promise. So hang on.

This assignment is going to be two-fold.

  • #1 – Make ONE goal for your writing career this year. Just one. (Something challenging, but realistic – i.e. ‘finish such-and-such manuscript by such-and-such date’.) Next – Make ONE goal for your writing career for the next five years. (Again, something challenging, but something attainable.) Now, go put them on index cards and tape them to the top of your laptop, or hang them in your office somewhere.
  • #2 – Do NOT give yourself a back door or a way out of this goal. Don’t say you’re going to “try” to do something. Using the wise words of Yoda, “There is no try!” You either are going to do it or you aren’t and since you’ve made it a goal – you need to… Just Do It. (Wait, isn’t that Nike’s slogan? <wink>) This also means that procrastination needs to be kicked in the rear and tossed out the window. This is the biggest hindrance to creative people. You need to CHOOSE not to procrastinate. You need to CHOOSE to do it no matter what. I don’t care if you’re not in the mood, or if your dog is chasing your cat around your leg, or if your two-year-old has tried to flush a shoe down the toilet. (I’ve been there…) These are all circumstances. Stuff. Life. Distractions. We all have it. You need to make the decision NOW to CHOOSE to get to work on that goal. That means every day making yourself sit at your desk and do it. No excuses. If you allow that back door—excuses—then you’re just telling yourself that you’re not really committed to the goal. As time goes by, it will get easier and easier to ignore it and for it to go un-accomplished.


So what are you going to do?

Do it.

There is no try.


With Pen to Paper,


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