Some people are great at keeping themselves on task… and I’m not one of those people. This can be a challenge as an entrepreneur and someone who LOVES LOVES the excitement of making a goal. Sooo I thought that I’d share a few tricks and techniques that I’ve used these past few months as I’ve been writing my books:
State EXCITING Goals, but BREAK THEM DOWN so they’re doable: BHAG means Big Hairy Audacious Goal–and by ALL means, make those hairy goals. Those are fun and thrilling… but that thrill dies down as the work comes. Soooo for those who get overwhelmed by these huge, exciting goals; break them down. You do this by filling in the blanks on the following statements: “Today I will…” “This week I will…” “This month I will…”
Instant Gratification vs Delayed Gratification: We’re hooked to that little adrenaline rush we get with those “likes” on our posts. Other things like eating healthy won’t give us instant results as biting down into that chewy chocolate caramel yummy! We love those stars on our foreheads. So how do we train ourselves to crave delayed results over the instant? We trick and train ourselves, of course! Wean yourself off social media by using apps to block it from your computer and/ or take it off your phone. Use time limits. And then here’s the biggest trick of all: break down your goal into little reward markers that you can celebrate NOW! When I need that extra oomph, I set a timer for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes of writing and then when it goes off, beautiful chimes or music happens! And Voila–I just found a way to give a longterm goal instant gratification! When I go on a walk, I did NOT lose ten pounds, but I went on a walk and I feel great. Take time to appreciate, find joy, and celebrate the little things on the way to your goal. In other words, be present!
Sunk Costs vs Lost Potential: I’m super tempted… MORE THAN tempted to throw my hands up in the air when I’ve wasted an hour or two and say, “This day has been a waste, I’m just going to bag it.” I get a bad review OR I eat triple helpings on my favorite dessert and… well, the same thing happens. Picking myself up after a percieved failure is key. Instead of looking back at the past mistakes, I have to force myself to look ahead. I listen to LOTS AND LOTS of pep talks for athletes on YouTube. I try to plan ahead to avoid falling into the same trap. I look at the time I DO have left, the skills I DO have, the next opportunity in store to try to make my next step a success.
Writing Journal: I think this works for every goal, not just writing. But we can be consumed by negative, self defeating thoughts sometimes. And when we are not aware of what’s going on in our heads then we can’t fight those thoughts. So I keep a writing journal and I write down my frustrations when I have them, my fears, my doubts, my insecurities, my bad habits, my challenges… and then I also write solutions. It helps me identify my biggest problems. And for a writer, this works super well because it ALSO gets me to start writing if I wasn’t doing it before.
Accountability: At the end of the day, I need to report to someone–I know, I know, some people don’t need someone else to put a star on their forehead or pat them on the head, but I do!! So check off lists and accountability buddies are for me! There’s something about writing down what you plan to do and then crossing it off! Instant gratification anyone? And then I text my accountability partners in the morning to tell them my daily goals and then I report to them at night. I tell other accountability partners as a revise my projects that I will give them 2-3 chapters a day. I tell my editor that I will give her my book at this certain date. And they ALL pat me on the head and tell me that I’m a star. Hey! People NEED cheerleaders, okay? I do the same thing for them and we have a great symbiotic relationship!
There are more, but my timer just went off to end my social media for the day and I need to report my writing stats tonight to my accountability partner so I can get her excited Bitmojis and “claps” on my phone! I wish you the best of luck with your goals and hope that some of my strategies help you out too!