I get it – you’ve been wanting to try <insert skill, hobby, or habit here> for a long time now, but where do you even begin? We can all relate to that overwhelming feeling you get before embarking on something new – I experience it often when thinking about my goal of becoming a published author. You’re not alone.
So, how can we pursue large goals without sacrificing our sanity? In this post, I provide some tips to help you jump into the deep end with confidence and *a little bit more of* a plan. Don’t worry – while my examples are geared towards my experience with writing, these pointers can apply to almost any goal you may set. So take a look at my 5 small tips for achieve a big goal:
TIP #1: DO YOUR RESEARCH.
At some point you just have to jump, but you don’t have to do so blindly. Chances are that you’re reading this post on a wonderful tool called the internet, which is a great place to start! Find people who have experience in what it is you are trying to learn, and learn from them.
I spent months searching out writers in person and online who had written and published books. Following them on social media, reading their blogs, and asking questions gave me a better idea of what to expect and where to start with my own writing.
While there is no one formula for getting published, I am more informed now than I was one year ago, and capable of making effective steps towards my goal. It is impossible to be completely prepared, but researching and doing your homework can keep you from being blindsided.
TIP #2: MAKE SMALL, ACHIEVABLE GOALS.
It is easy to become discouraged when you don’t see any progress. If this is happening, you may need break your main goal down into smaller ones that you can achieve on a daily or weekly basis.
For me, my larger goal of being a writer is pretty abstract. I had to ask myself some more questions: What do I want that to look like? What are some of the best ways to get my foot in the door as a new writer? What can I do TODAY or THIS WEEK to move towards that goal?
After doing my research (ahem, shout out to tip #1), I found several small places to start. I created daily goals that would contribute to my larger goal – specific word count goals for each day, writing groups to reach out to, social media to begin using, etc. Because these goals are something I can achieve in a smaller time frame, I do not have to go weeks or months on end without any feeling of accomplishment. I can check off these small goals and feel encouraged enough to move on to the next.
TIP #3: MAKE A PUBLIC COMMITMENT.
As much as I endorse research, there is a point where you just have to act. Even if your first attempt is unsuccessful, chances are you will be able to learn and adjust for next time. One way to get the ball rolling is to make a commitment to, with, or in front of others. This doesn’t mean you have to announce your plans to the world – simply find people you can trust, and involve them in what you are doing.
Let a writers group read your short story. Ask a friend to commit to running with you in the mornings. Have a trusted mentor to meet with you once a week to discuss your progress. Once other people are involved, it becomes more difficult to back out. Don’t let this scare you – if we’re going to make progress, we have to step outside of our comfort zones, friends.
TIP #4: MAKE THE PROCESS ENJOYABLE.
Working to meet a goal every day can become exhausting. It is important to find ways to make the process itself enjoyable, rather than just assuming you’ll be happy once the goal is met. If this is the case, you will burn out early on.
Think about your smaller, achievable goals in Tip #2 – How can you make them more enjoyable? I like to set up my environment when I sit down to write. I’ll put on my favorite music, get some good snacks, and make tea. If that is not working for me on a given day, I will move to my favorite coffee shop. After I am finished writing I like to go on a walk, crack open a good book, or watch an episode of my favorite show. All of these small things combine to make my writing experience enjoyable, even on days when I am frustrated with the writing I produce.
Making a routine or reward system that is appealing to you will keep you motivated to work towards your goal day after day. Think about what you enjoy and how you can incorporate it into your own goal.
TIP #5: GET COMFORTABLE WITH FAILURE.
Failure is unavoidable, but it is not the end of the world. In fact, it doesn’t have to be the villain at all. To begin with, failure means that YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING, and that’s terrific. Failure can also show us what adjustments we need to make in order to be successful next time. And after we fail, there should always be a next time! You will experience many small failures before any big success, and that’s okay!
One of my favorite Podcasts, Write Now by Sarah Werner, featured an episode that completely changed my view of failure. It is geared towards writers, however rejection and failure is something that everyone can relate to. Listen to it here if you want to check out the podcast yourself!
I hope that you found these tips to be helpful and encouraging. Meeting a goal is never a perfect process, but we can move forward together one step at a time! I’d love to hear from you – tell me about your goal and the victories and obstacles your are experiencing on your journey to achieve it.