It’s a new year. A new start. One you undoubtedly entered thinking “this time, I’m not going to slack. This time, I’m going to meet my ROW80 goals, every one of them, every week. This time for sure!”
Only to find that once you get into it, it’s not so easily done as said. Maybe your enthusiasm has waned, like it inevitably does for three-fourths of those New Year’s resolution-makers you saw at the gym the first week of January, but who’ve stopped showing up by February.
Or maybe you’re just setting your goals too high. Maybe you’ve forgotten some other commitment you made this week that will take time (I’m guilty of this on a regular basis). Or maybe you’ve encountered the inevitable monkey wrench in the form of needing to work late, a kid needing extra help with homework, or illness. I’ve seen a lot of this with NaNoWriMo, that one-size-fits-all writing challenge that’s anything but. Of course, we hear of other people besides writers having to-do lists and goals they can’t possibly accomplish in the time allotted.
We never think our goals were unreasonable when we initially set them, yet for so many of us, it seems like we never get through as much as we want.
Sound like you? Maybe it’s time to try a different tactic. This is what I call the Writers’ Boot Camp way. It need not just apply to writing; it will work for fitness or any other big task.
Writers’ Boot Camp is a workshop taught by author and former Army Ranger Todd Stone, which I had the opportunity to attend a couple years ago when he presented it to my RWA chapter. If you have the chance to take it, do! He may even show up to teach the workshop in a camouflage kilt (he did for ours! J).
Anyway, he started out the workshop talking about goals. Usually, we’re encouraged to set goals that are attainable, but not necessarily easily. Stone takes the opposite approach: he suggests setting a goal so low, you can’t help but make it! Here were the examples he gave:
“Can you write a page a day? If you’re not sure, how about a paragraph? Or even a sentence???”
Yes, that small. Thing is, we usually are able to go much further – so we get more done, AND we have that sense of accomplishment in saying “Yes! I met my goal!”
This could easily be applied to decluttering, getting your house in order, or working on a big project of another sort. And yes, fitness too, since many of us regularly set fitness goals. Don’t think you can hack a half hour on the treadmill? Just get on, and shoot for five minutes. Chances are, you’ll end up doing much more, if not the full workout!
So if you’ve had trouble meeting your ROW80 goals, try setting smaller ones this week—small enough that you know you can’t not meet them. Write five pages. Write one page. Write just one sentence. Or heck, just open the file!
How are you doing on your goals, whatever they may be? Have you ever tried this tactic? How did it work for you?