We all want to succeed. We don’t purposefully set ourselves up to fail but subconsciously that is exactly what we do. With the best intentions in the world we let ourselves procrastinate, forget, and prioritize other things over our goal. We set ourselves up for failure. I am sick and tired of doing this to myself. My Big Ideas almost always stay just that…ideas, because I don’t put in the time and EFFORT to make them a reality. I decided this time would be different. This time I am going to set myself up to succeed.
I have had (what I think) is a great idea for an e-book for a couple of months. I even sat down a few months ago and created an outline, jotting down ideas as quickly as they came. The outline and ideas just sat there until last week. Writing the article about creating positive change through habits and 30 day challenges made me step back and realize that my big idea for the book was never going to become a reality without a habit to enforce it. Writing a book is hard. It is not always enjoyable. However the end result will be a positive. Even if no one ever buys my book, the act of writing it and physically turning my big idea into reality is a total success in my book.
So how am I setting myself up for success? Habit and perseverance. I drink tea every morning and often into the afternoon when at work. I don’t really feel like my day has started without a hot cup of tea (even when its 100 degrees outside). So a cup of tea in the morning is a fully ingrained habit in my life. I am now ALWAYS spending my first cup of tea working on my book. This was easy to start over the weekend when I could sleep relatively late (6am instead of 5am) and leisurely drink my tea while working on a chapter. Sunday I woke up to clouds (very unusual in southern AZ) and just wanted to curl up on the couch with my tea and a nice novel. Nope! First cup of tea is for writing and so that’s what I did. The words were forced in the beginning but once I got started the thoughts started to flow. Even 20-30 minutes of bad writing is better than no writing at all!
I knew that this fragile new habit was going to be challenged by work. On a workday, I get up at 5am, get ready for the day which includes making our breakfast smoothies, meditate for 10 minutes, and then head to work for a 6am arrival. I have that routine down pat. My first cup of tea is spent reading and responding to work email. To set myself up for success my old routine had to change. Now I follow the same morning routine except Steve pours me a cup of tea while making his coffee. After meditating I sit down at my desk and get to work. This pushes my entire day back by 20-30 minutes but writing is important to me, so the time lost in the evening is worth it. I could wake up at 4:30am to achieve both my writing and keep my original schedule but the thought sent Steve (and honestly me) into throws of horror. So for now this is the plan.
I am already prepared for the exceptions. If I take a sick day, I will not force myself to write during my cuppa. When we’re traveling and my tea is sipped from a to-go cup on the road no writing will take place (I get carsick). Given these few and far-between exceptions, every other day will be a writing day. We’re going to be on a week long vacation coming up and every morning with my tea I will write. If this method works, which I strongly believe it will, I will be using it to accomplish tough goals in the future. It merges a long ingrained habit I love (my cup of tea) with a difficult course of action I truly want but often pass over for easier, more enjoyable acts. It is a way to hold myself accountable.
What do you think? Have you found methods to set yourself up for success? Any tips to share?
I leave you with some great quotes about writing which help when I’m feeling uninspired.
“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” – C. J. Cherryh
“Half my life is an act of revision.”– John Irving
“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.”– Erica Jong
“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”– Barbara Kingsolver
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”– William Faulkner
“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ― Ernest Hemingway