Want to know something scary? You all know I love a good horror story, but this one is really bad.
It’s January 5th, and some people have already given up on their resolutions.
And you know who they are! The friend who threw away their cigarette packs on New Year’s Eve went out and shamefully bought a new pack on January 3rd. The cousin who swore off sugar is sneaking leftover Christmas cookies right now. The college buddy who swore they were done drinking picked up a six-pack.
And the person who said they were going to write a book in 2018 is already finding excuses why they ‘can’t’ write today. Or yesterday. Or the day before that. The rest of this week doesn’t look good, either.
Now, I know you guys hear this every year. And there are lots of posts floating around right now to help you not fall into that trap. I’ll be spending a lot of time this year trying to help you reach your writing goals just on PBW. But I wanted to start out the year by giving you some tools against the mid-January slump. We’re going to try together to make 2018 be a great year.
Consider why you want to do this thing
Look, I’m fully aware that I’m going to get some hate for this. But I’ve got to be honest anyway. If you started out the year saying that you’re going to cut out sugar, fat, gluten, caffeine, whatever it is you’ve decided is unhealthy this year, I think you’re probably going to fail. And honestly, I kind of think you should.
I say this for two reasons. The first reason is that it’s too dramatic of a change in your lifestyle. To swear off something like sugar or caffeine is going to mean not only a serious change in your everyday life but for the people around you as well. It’s basically saying, “Please don’t include me in any of your food-related plans. Because not only will I make it harder for everyone, I’ll make everyone feel bad about it along the way.”
But if you really want to do it, then don’t worry about that. You do you, for real. If you really think that cutting out something that’s considered unhealthy from your diet, then go for it.
The thing is, I don’t know that you really think that. I think that we’re all told that certain things are unhealthy for us. And I think that in the new year there’s a lot of pressure to make society approved healthy changes in your life. So maybe some of us say we’re going to do something that we don’t really see a benefit in. Maybe we say we’ll go to the gym, or stop drinking soda. Or go back to school. But do we really want to do these things?
I’ll tell you right now, I have no intention of changing my diet in 2018. I listen to my body and don’t overindulge, but I do enjoy some sweets and fast food. I do want to do yoga more often, and start working on toning my arms. But I want to do those things for me. I want to do more yoga because I’ve been having some serious back problems that I want to be proactive about. I want to tone my arms because I don’t want to be one of those old lady’s with wings. So please consider why you’re making these goals for yourself. Because if they’re not for you, they’re not going to happen.
Control what you can control
Last year I made a whole list of goals, and I accomplished all but two. I didn’t save money, and I didn’t break even for my writing. I lost more money promoting and producing my books then I made.
The first goal was a good goal, and I should have reached it.
The second goal was a bad goal, and do you know why? Because it wasn’t in my control.
Yes, I control a lot of the factors around selling my books. I control how many books come out. I control how much I market and promote. I control how much I spend on my writing.
But I can’t control how many people will actually buy. All I can do is keep on writing and sharing. So, no more sales goals, because I can’t control them. Instead, I have goals concerning how often I’ll promote and produce. The rest of it is totally out of my hands. And I’ve got to learn to be okay with that.
The good news, though, is that the vast majority of our lives are totally under our control. We decide how to spend our time. We decide how to eat. We decide how to react to our situation in life. We decide where we live. All of this is totally, absolutely in our control. So if your goal hinges on the actions of another, take it off your list. Replace it with something that’s entirely in your control.
Don’t give up if you slip for a day
I recently went through the FlyLady’s baby steps, in an effort to dramatically change the condition of my home. I learned a ton from the experience, and can’t recommend the steps enough for everyone.
One of the best lessons I learned, though, was to not give up if I slipped for a day. And I do slip, a lot. But I no longer let one slip lead to another. So if I miss my morning routine, I don’t decide to just skip my afternoon routine. If I don’t feel up to doing a whole home blessing hour, then I tell myself I’ll do one thing, then see how I feel. (Spoiler, that usually encourages me to go on to the next item. Then the next, then the next.)
So if you didn’t write yesterday, don’t let that stop you from writing today. If you can’t write for your whole time, write as much as you can. If you swore you’d quit smoking, but you slipped up and bought a pack, throw it away. You have another day, another hour even. Don’t get hung up on the fact that you slipped. Just make better decisions going forward.
It’s never going to happen if you don’t make it happen.
And this is really what it comes down to. You have to take the steps to make your goals happen. If you want to write a book, you need to do it.
Let me give you an example. My biggest goal in 2018 is to do a Pittsburgh book signing tour. It’s a huge, daunting, terrifying goal. I have to call people I’ve never talked to and pitch my book to them. I have to invest a ton of money in ordering books (and maybe some merch). I have to dress up and act like a famous writer, probably for multiple days in a row.
This is going to take money, planning, and courage. But mostly planning. So I’m working on it now. I’m making a list of bookstores and coffee shops. I’m saving up money to order copies. I’m scheduling time off from my day job. I’m making this happen.
So how about you? What’s your plan to accomplish all of your goals in 2018?