Another year is upon us and this time you plan to finish that book or start that blog, for real. Isn’t there something exciting and electrifying about writing down the changes we want to see happen in our lives over the course of the year? It’s like a first date – so much potential. Two weeks in and the sizzle fizzles; you’re avoiding your resolutions like they’re a stalker. Twelve months later and you’re right back where you started.
You’re not alone. Only 8 percent of Americans manage to achieve their resolutions. Want to join the club of do-ers? Here are four ways to slay your goals and get results.
Develop A Plan
You’ve heard the saying a goal without a date is a dream? When creating your writing goals, set up a plan not only how you will achieve them but when. It’s not enough to say I will finish my book by the end of 2017. What does that entail? How many words a day do you need to write? Not sure of the word count? Check out these counts for different genres. If you want to write an 80,000 word novel and have a first draft completed in three months, that’s roughly 26,600 words a month, 6,600 words a week. You get the picture. Put it on your calendar and assign some due dates like a boss. You can have Siri set a daily reminder for completing 1,000 words a day on the Reminders app which is native to iOS and Mac.
Taste It, Feel It
You can’t just write your goals down once and put them away. They need to be in your face. Create wallpapers on your phone and iPad with your goals, make sure they are visible to you on a daily basis. If you can find a corresponding image, one that resonates with you, put it front and center so you see it every day.
That’s just one part, the other part is you have to visualize how it will feel to achieve your goal. Every day, take five minutes to imagine what your life will look like and feel like once you have achieved your goal. Get detailed!
This is not just some hippy dippy feel good stuff, there’s a science behind it. In 1996, at the University of Chicago, Dr. Judd Blaslotto did a study to determine the effects of visualization on the ability of basketball players to make free throws.
He tested the athletes to see how many free throws they could make and then he randomly assigned them to one of three groups for a month.
The first group went to the gym every day and practiced for an hour, the second group only visualized themselves making free throws with no physical practice. The third group did nothing.
At the end of the month, he tested the groups and group one improved by 24% while group two improved by 23% percent! The only practicing they did was in their mind’s eye. Goes without saying, group three showed no change. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Find Accountability Partners
Have you ever noticed that if you have a work deadline, you’re all over it and the project gets done? Personal deadlines? Not so much. Maybe we don’t give our goals the same level of importance as the “day job” or we’re too tired after work to do One. More. Thing. Besides, there are no consequences except for the bitter disappointment of unfulfilled dreams. You need to get an accountability partner or partners. Someone to keep you honest and check to make sure you are staying on track.
Research shows that people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.
Thanks to the internet, there’s no shortage of opportunities to find someone. The 10 Minute Novelists group on Facebook offers the opportunity every Tuesday for people to connect with writing buddies. Go online and find your tribe.
Achieving goals is a marathon, not a sprint, except in this marathon you get to stop and get yummy decadent delights like chocolate sundaes or whatever floats your boat along the way. Whether it’s finishing act one of your screenplay or the first draft of your novel, map out the milestones of your goals on your calendar and when you hit them, have a little fun and celebrate. You’re one step closer to reaching your goal. Next year this time you’ll be wondering, what else do I want to achieve?
What are some of the ways you plan on sticking with your resolutions?