It’s 2018, so let’s talk about GOALS.
Not resolutions. A resolution is a decision, and nothing else. Resolutions are the breathlessly uttered verbal hex uttered at a time of annual artificial reckoning. And when that reckoning is in the rear-view mirror (ie, February) and there are zero consequences from the reckoning, it’s business as usual.
Goals have consequence. Resolutions get “Welp, maybe next year.” Fuck resolutions.
Goals get done by changing habits. The most engrained habits help us stalk the bear and survive cold winters, bring us to comfort and so on. The ones we do for pleasure spray dopamine on the grey matter. We’re not glued to hugs or Facebook because we jotted that shit down in a planner as a “to do.” We like hugs! We like being damned with faint praise! We like happy.
So, let’s talk making a goal/developing a habit that’s an oldie but goodie for writers: two hours, every day, butt in chair. Nora Roberts once said, “You can have all the talent in the world but if you don’t have the discipline to sit down and write on a regular basis, you’re not going to write or publish any books.” She also talked about how writing is a habit, one she found in a snowstorm in 1979.
A goal of two hours a day hacked from almost anyone’s ecosystem is a sacrifice. You must want to pick this fight with yourself and win. Many people want to pick a fight with fat to “lose 50 pounds in 2018.” Well, 50 pounds is a lot of weight to lose. A gym membership and ball-drop courage won’t get it done. It’s taken me seven months to drop 21 pounds. It’s tough.
To help focus your goals for success, if you need it, here are a few wisdom nuggets passed down to me:
- See it and do it. There are many, many great schools of thought valuing the pre-visioning your success (here’s one). I do this a lot and it helps me tremendously. Take a few minutes each day to think/pray/meditate on it, and see the end game.
- Write goals down. Put them somewhere you’ll see them every day. When you see the goal on paper, say it aloud to yourself. Write down all the details, the resources and people you need to achieve success. The more you have in front of you, the more your confidence will grow.
- Start small and build. If your plan is to write two hours a day, first plan to write 15 minutes. Then write for 30 minutes. Then, an hour. Work your way to two hours. Once you’re there, do that repeatedly, same time, every day until you don’t even realize what you were doing before.
- Plan for setbacks. Things happen. One soda consumed is not failure, nor is one missed writing session. Keep going. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
- Get support. Tell friends and family. Talk to them like you just took up Crossfit. Have them check up on you. Make sure at least one of them is candid and direct. Ignore the vapid. Ignore the haters. Move forward.
- Know when to give up. That goal you have might not be your thing. It might be painting or bow hunting or kendo. Say goodbye to it and move on. Find your “why,” do that, and get that habit.
My own 2018 goals are a much-needed kicking-in-the-ass to what I’ve been doing. They include querying, partnering with an agent, getting published (as well as self-publishing), and finishing Vorpal No. 3. A lot to do with habits to be refashioned. I feel pretty good about them all.
Let’s both have a great 2018 and get shit done. Fight the good fight and good luck.