Usually, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I never keep them. This year I decided I’d make one resolution. It seemed like an easy one to keep. My resolution was to give up my gym membership by the end of January. I had joined the gym in July with every intention of working out twice a week. I didn’t show up in July or August or September. As a matter of fact, as December rolled around 'I had not yet stepped into the gym'. Why didn’t I cancel my membership? Because each month I thought, this is the month I would get on track. So by the end of December, cancelling my membership seemed like an easy resolution. Unfortunately it took me to the beginning of March to cancel my membership. I have a busy life and resolutions don’t work for me. That said, when I clearly define a goal that is important to me, I have learned how to support my goal.
If your writing life is stuck, maybe it is time to step back and redefine what it is that you want to achieve. Why are you writing? What are your goals? Dig deep and determine what it is that you really want. Once you are clear on your true desire, I have found that the following strategies will support achieving your goal.
1. Define your desire as a SMART goal. Setting a goal that is Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and realistic, and Time bound is the first step to success.
2. Have daily visual reminders of your goal. Daily visibility is a key to success. Use post-it notes on your bathroom mirror or have a vision board above your desk. You can also set your goal as a daily alert on your phone. It’s easy to forget about your goal, if you don’t see it each day.
3. Identify a goal buddy to help hold you accountable for your progress. Having someone to check in with each week will nudge you towards your goal. Sometimes it’s not an individual but a critique group which holds you accountable for your writing goals. If you don't have a critique group and you can’t identify someone you know as a goal buddy, consider joining one of the following online communities.
i. Goal-buddy.com is an online community that matches you with a goal buddy who is striving to achieve a similar goal.
ii. Habitforge has an online community and potential for a goal buddy, it is also designed for someone who wants to work on their own. Habitforge provides daily email encouragement related to your goal.
4. Track your progress. You can also use software to keep your goals on track.
i. Lifetick is a goal tracking program. It not only helps you track your goals but allows you to invite others to view your progress. If you have identified a goal buddy, this is a great way to track each other’s progress and hold each other accountable.
ii. Goals on Track is a goal setting software that will help you set SMART goals and track progress. It works with IPhones and androids and best of all it’s free.
5. Use negative incentives. Sometimes we need something a little stronger to nudge us on our writing journey. Try stickK—A commitment contract designed to help people achieve their goals. According to stickK, people don’t always do what they claim they want to do and incentives get people to do things. They have found that having a financial stake increases your chances of success up to 3x and having someone as a referee to monitor your progress increases your success 2x. StickK asks users to sign a binding contract where they commit money that they lose if they don’t achieve their goal. This is definitely for someone who needs a stick instead of a carrot.
Try a few of the strategies above and your goal just might become reality. If you have other strategies you use to achieve your goals, I would love to hear from you.
Mary Jo Guglielmo is a writer, educator, and life coach. For more information check out DoNorth.biz