The Secret to Achieving Writing Goals
Updated: Mar 9, 2019
Whether you dream of being a writer, or are already writing professionally, it’s safe to say you have some writing goals for yourself. Maybe you want to write a novel or have your work published by a well known publishing company. You may even dream of making the New York Times bestsellers list, or winning an award for your writing. Whatever the case may be, I want you to honestly look at your progress towards your goal. If you’re on your way that’s great! Keep doing what your doing and you’ll be sure to reach it. If you’re reading this though, I’m guessing you have some trouble reaching your writing goals and want to know how to achieve them.
The secret to achieving your writing goals? Reaching your writing goals has less to do with your writing subject or individual circumstances, and more to do with your mindset and habits. There is actually a direct correlation between your mindset and habits, and how successful you are at achieving your writing goals.
This can be hard to accept, especially if you believe life gets in the way of you achieving your goals. But if you look at your situation objectively, you’ll realize that each time you let life get in the way it’s just an excuse, however reasonable, to continue on your current course. Every time you let an excuse prevent you from acting differently, you’re allowing yourself to continue on your current, unfulfilling path.
If you really want to change the path your on and achieve your writing goals, you need to change both your mindset and your habits. And you need to change both at the same time.
If you just change your mindset, but don’t take action through new habits, you’ll net the same old frustrating results. (They may even be more frustrating because you feel like you can achieve your goals, but aren’t seeing any progress.) If you change your habits, but not your mindset, you may have some progress, but not the amount you dream of.
This of course leads to a very important question: how do you change your mindset and habits? There are many resources available on this topic (personally I recommend learning about paradigm shifts from the Proctor Gallagher Institute), but the cliff notes version is that you need 3 things: determination, commitment, and study.
Determination to succeed no matter the odds in your way. Whether real or imagined, created by your own doubts/fears or created by the opinions of people around you, if you really want to make your goal a reality you have to believe you can overcome the odds (even when all evidence may point to the contrary).
Commitment to work towards your goal now not in a month, or year, or after some “perfect” circumstance has arisen. Make your goal one of your first priorities instead of a last minute task you remember to work on at the end of the day. Spend time writing every day (even if only for 5-10 minutes). Small, consistent steps taken can lead to big results, but no steps taken won’t lead to any results.
Study the topic of habit building and goal attainment. Learn what successful writers you admire do. Doing so will help you recognize what your current habits are, and which habits you need to cultivate to achieve your goals. It’ll also help you recognize when your old habits are trying to keep you in your current situation, and how to work through them.
Doing these things may require you to change your lifestyle a bit, but once you start you’ll not only feel like you can achieve your writing goal (which can be half the battle), you’ll also be taking proactive steps towards reaching it. Continue doing this long enough and you will achieve your writing goals.
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See you next week with another article!