I love how enthusiastic people are in January. New resolutions, plans to improve ourselves – it’s always fun to list the things we would like to do next. Most of these plans are forgotten pretty quickly and before you know it, it’s the end of the year and people are planning their new, oh, wait, I mean, last year’s resolutions.
How can we stick to our plans? Publicly challenging ourselves with ROW80 is a great start. But all great starts need decent finishes too. So how do we keep ourselves on track?
First is to pick manageable goals. Goals that suit you – don’t compare yourself to anyone else. In theory, lots of things seem easy peasy but when we sit down to do them, we think of anything, literally anything, to avoid getting on with it. If it’s too overwhelming, break it down a little more and complete one small step at a time. It’s the first round so we’re still figuring out just what we can do – but even the easiest of challenges can feel ridiculously hard once life starts complicating things.
Be prepared for off days, random destruction of whatever it is you need to complete your challenge, and the rest of the world demanding your attention. Falling behind? You can catch up, no problem. Take each day as a fresh start. If you’re trying then you’re succeeding.
Suddenly feel like you don’t have time? Make it. There’s always something we can cut to bump up our work time. Trust me, I have five smallies – I’m the Queen of Making Time. No time is an excuse, I’m good at those too.
That’s why challenges like ROW80 are so useful. We all know the excuses, so they won’t work this time. But it’s not a mad rush to the finish line, it’s figuring out what we can produce on a regular basis. It’s instilling a sensible work ethic and a steady routine that should benefit us in the long run. It’s public accountability and the camaraderie of us all being in this together. It’s hard to focus when you’re working alone but seeing your progress during the weekly updates is going to be a real motivator.
It should be fun too. If you’ve had enough for one day then take a break, have a look at what everyone is doing. Don’t try to match them – their goals are not your goals, but maybe get to know them, cheer them on and know that they will do the same for you. Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely existence and when it gets tough, the rest of us will push you towards that finish line.