“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” -Edith Lovejoy
As with every new year, one of my many New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight (a lot of weight!).
So, after a year of watching what I eat, drinking more water and trying to exercise, I climbed on the scale on January 1 and… I had hardly lost a pound! I think it may have been ounces-teeny tiny ounces!
I wanted to grab my bathroom scale right then and there and toss it in the trash can (as if it was the scale’s fault, right?). I couldn’t believe that I had not lost any pounds over the past year. I didn’t get it. What had I done wrong?
The truth is whether one is trying to lose weight or write a book or make more money, most people won’t complete their resolutions this year. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton, by June (6 months into the New Year), only 40 percent of people who made a New Year’s resolution were still sticking to the goal.
In fact, many will fail within the first month of trying. They’ll get frustrated and throw their hands up in the air, thinking it’s futile. Then shame will creep in, followed by guilt and inaction. Before they know it, a whole year will have gone by and the cycle will all start over.
Does this sound familiar?
I believe there is a way that leads to breakthrough instead of constant disappointment when it comes to setting and achieving goals. Measure the process, not the outcome.
This is what I mean: Instead of setting a goal to write a book this year, what if you decided to write 100, or 250, or 500 words a day? It may take several months or even the whole year, but if you put in enough time and stick to the schedule you’ll achieve your goal – eventually. Of course, the key word is eventually.
Do you see the difference here? The typical goal-setting mindset tends to focus on the “outcome” with little to no regard for the process it takes to get there.
A great way of thinking about this is to imagine you want to drive from New York to Los Angeles without looking at how much gas is in the tank. Just simply saying you are going from one city to another won’t get you there, but with a little focus and a plan for each leg of the journey, you’ll get there…eventually.
As I like to say, if you do the work, you will see the results.
What is a realistic goal for your writing this year?