Welcome to Life List Club Friday!
I’m honored to be the first to host our newest member of the LLC, Gary Gauthier. Welcome, Gary!
You can find me over at Sonia Medeiros’ blog with a Life List Club post called Fear Not. I’m also posting over at Haley Whitehall’s blog talking about civil rights in the 1960s. Lots of fun stuff for you to peruse. But first…
Please enjoy Gary’s post on how to stop the negative self-talk and get moving toward your goals. Don’t be shy about showing him some comment love!
How to Turn Your Goal into Reality
All of us procrastinate at times and there’s no end to our creativity for coming up with the reason why we should put off what needs to be done today. There is always the TV show that can’t be missed, the snack that just can’t wait and the friend you’ve been meaning to call since last week. One of the reasons we procrastinate is that we tend to visualize goals as huge commitments of time and hard work that will lead us to a distant place called Achievement. It is easy to justify small detours from a destination that seems very far removed. One argument in favor of procrastination may go something like this: As big as this job is, if I start now and invest a half-hour, it won’t even make a dent, so I might as well wait until I have two or three hours of free time. And then I’ll start!
We have to avoid the common tendency to visualize our goals as huge commitments of time and effort. A writer who wants to write her first novel may look at it as an investment of a total of six months dedicated to research and creative writing. She may not be able to start because she is subconsciously waiting for the six months of free time to materialize. And this may not even include the time for editing! I can easily imagine the writer asking “what would it matter if I started today or a week from next Monday? In the grand scheme of things, it really won’t make a difference. And what if I have something more important that needs to be done today?” This pattern of thinking is familiar to most of us. It is the type of insidious internal dialog to which all procrastinators are susceptible.
I’m going to suggest three things you can do to help overcome the self-defeating tendencies. The first is to develop a clear picture in your mind of the specific tasks that will lead you to your goal. These steps must be concrete and you must be in a position to execute them. You may not be able to control whether you will find a job in six months, but you can decide to send out five resumes a week. In our example of the novelist, she may choose to set aside one hour, five days a week, for writing. She may have to write down the creative ideas behind her story, prepare character sketches, create a plot outline and draft individual scenes. Each one-hour task contributes to the ultimate goal of a completed novel. Focusing on one task at a time makes the project manageable. The point is to stop thinking in terms of the huge project and the insurmountable challenge.
Second, create a written list of prioritized tasks for your goal. The importance of the written list is to avoid the constant self-editing that creates a virtual list that doesn’t exist in reality. Thinking about a virtual to-do list is different from reviewing and updating a written list, which is actually beneficial. Many find a daily or weekly set of small achievements that are planned works best. Some of the items on the list may fall naturally into a daily routine. Some items may require you to set aside some time during the course of a week. What’s important to remember is that you want to hold yourself accountable for the items on the list.
Finally, have faith in the process and celebrate the small accomplishments. Learn to relish the fact that each small task you complete is bringing you inevitably closer to the goal that you’ve set for yourself. Trust your judgment, believe in your abilities and cultivate an inner knowing that you are able to accomplish what it is you set out to do. One of the ways to manifest your faith in the process and build on it is to share your goals with colleagues, friends and relatives and be ready to articulate the discreet steps you’ve identified.
How do you handle procrastination? Do you sabotage your progress with defeating inner thoughts?
Gary is currently reading The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne and working on his first novel. He started his blog in July 2011. It gives him an opportunity to express and share his appreciation for art and literature. Snippet suggestions are welcome! He occasionally post articles as well. Some of his favorite writers are Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. But this changes from time to time. Stay tuned! Follow Gary on Twitter and on Google Plus and visit his blog Literary Snippets.
You know I love hearing from you and anxiously await your comments!