By now, some people may have realized their 2016 resolutions were perhaps a little too ambitious. You are not alone. On average, only 8% of New Year’s “resolutionaries” are successful in reaching their proclaimed goals. But, with resolve and a little encouragement, you may count yourself among the determined 8% at year’s end.
Here are eight tips to help keep your writing resolutions on track for success.
#1 – Define your why
You say you want to lose weight, quit smoking, start / finish writing your novel, devote more time to marketing your book, or find more happiness. But do you know why you want to do those things? Your “why” is your motivation. If you don’t know why, you are more likely to lose your resolve upon encountering the first setback.
#2 – Consider the why-nots
This is the flip side of your whys. As Noah St. Joan explains in his book, The Secret Code of Success, everything you do is caused by your why-tos weighed against your why-not-tos. Your brain is like an infinite weighing machine: It’s always comparing the perceived benefits (why-tos) against the perceived costs (why-not-tos).
Whenever you’re considering an activity — like spending time editing your novel, answering emails, writing press releases, or reading this article — your brain is going, “Why should I do this? How will it benefit me? What’s it going to cost me? I’d rather be watching TV.” Since our brains are always negotiating with us, and not always to our best interest, our “why” must be a greater motivator than the alternative.
#3 – Enlist the help of friends
The easiest way to fail is to try to do something alone. There are few examples of people who did great things completely alone. Bill Gates had Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. Michael Jordan had his dad. Paul McCartney had John Lennon.
The way to overcome this mistake is simple: tell your friends what you want and why you want it. Then ask them to support you in making progress on your writing goals.
#4 – Use positive peer pressure
This is a continuation of #3. Ask your friends to tell you when they see you straying from your goal.
Many people will feel uncomfortable about this one, but what you don’t realize is that your friends already know when you are not making an effort; they are just too nice to say anything. That’s why you must give them permission to tell you when you mess up or fall short of what you said you wanted to do. Just resolve to not get mad or defensive when they tell you.
#5 – Recruit an accountability partner
An accountability partner is someone you communicate with at regular intervals (monthly, once a week, even daily) to check on your progress. The beautiful thing is, you can also be that person’s accountability partner and help THEM make positive changes, too.
#6 -Keep a writer’s journal
If you are like me, moments of genius slip away nearly as quickly as the occur. So, keep a journal handy at all times for making notes, capturing brilliant new ideas, jotting down ideas for characters or recording interesting quotes and turns of phrase.
#7 – Ask experts for advice
No matter what you are trying to accomplish – write a poem, sell your book, schedule an interview, be nicer to others — without a solid plan of action, your good intentions will probably fall short. That’s why it’s good to find other people who have succeeded at the thing you’re trying to do and ask how they did it.
There is always someone who likes to talk about him/herself who will share their experience with you if asked politely. Even if you don’t know anyone personally, there are numerous blogs on all subjects that are just a few clicks away. If you can make use of others’ advice, you can avoid the most common pitfalls thereby increasing your chances of success.
#8 – Don’t set yourself up to fail
This is the worst mistake of all. The truth is, everyone knows how to write a book, quit smoking, or be nicer. Most people simply don’t believe they can do it — either because they’ve tried in the past and failed or they just don’t believe they’re capable of doing it.
Most importantly, don’t’ give up. It’s still early in the year and there is plenty of time to get your writing and marketing resolutions on track for success – just don’t wait too long to get started.
If you have any suggestions to share with your fellow authors, please add them in the comments section below.
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