The beginning of a new year is so exciting for some of us. People stop to reflect on the previous year, what they’ve accomplished, and what goals they still want to achieve in the next 365 days to get them a little bit closer to that pie we’re all reaching for in the proverbial sky.
To me, the New Year is like the ultimate Monday. You know what I’m talking about. Monday is that day of the week when some people I know start new diets, or that new workout program, or whatever the case may be. Our intentions are well and good, and our dreams give us a sparkly little gleam in our eyes at the prospect of those dreams somehow coming true. But all too often, people get discouraged when Wednesday rolls around and they’ve already fallen off the wagon. I’ll start again next Monday, they’ll say.
So, what sets apart a goal you can see through to success from one you just can’t seem to get off the ground? You may or may not really want to know the answer to this question. Sometimes, the answer can be a tough, jagged, horse pill to swallow when your tonsils are swollen to the size of golf balls. It’s not going to be a popular answer, but this article isn’t written to sugar coat and tell you all the things you can read in every other New Year’s Resolution/Goals article.
The answer to what sets goals apart and determines whether you’ll fail or succeed is…
Okay, I know what you’re thinking – I have some nerve, right? But bear with me, and I’ll help you make more sense of all this. To reach your goals, you need three things:
If it’s important to you, you’ll think of a way. If it’s not, you’ll think of an excuse.
The biggest thing I see working with social work clients is, no one ever accepts the responsibility for the actions that landed them where they are. It’s always someone else’s fault, something someone else did or didn’t do… never them. They don’t internalize it, accept responsibility, or take ownership of their situation.
Here’s the problem with that. If everything that happens to you is always someone else’s fault, or can be blamed on or attributed to external circumstances, that means everything is beyond your own control, and that you have no power to steer your ship in the direction you need to go to get where you want to be.
That’s not okay with me. I take pride in my own ability to make things happen for myself. I refuse to leave my fate/happiness/success to chance or leave it for someone else to handle. It’s 100% my responsibility to make things happen to reach my goals, and you’d better believe if it’s something I care about, something I’m passionate about, I will keep trying until I figure out a way. If I haven’t achieved my goal yet, then I’m not done trying.
Dreams don’t work unless you do.
This is a saying I have on a wall decoration hanging above my writing desk. It reminds me every day that I have to put the work in to reap the rewards of my labor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are rare occasions when dreams manage to randomly fall into your lap, coincidentally and in no way related to work you put in, but please take a lesson from the “He’s Just Not That Into You” rulebook and assume that this is the exception, and you are not the exception and never will be.
Don’t worry, we can sit and commiserate together for how much we hate those people who are the exceptions, as we work out butts off to make our own dreams come true. And guess what? When we do reach our goals, we’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that those exceptional people never will. Ha!
You’re going to have to work, and you’re going to have to figure out what motivates you to do that. Once you figure out your motivation, you’ll figure out a way to implement it into your process of achieving your goals. If you don’t already know your motivation, I suggest starting by asking yourself WHY you do what you do, or WHY you want it. (And if you don’t know why to start with the WHY, check out this video of Simon Sinek. It’s very motivating.)
I can’t control the wind, but I can adjust the sail.
In case you haven’t noticed, times are a changin’. We work in a market that is constantly shifting in one way or another right now. Just ask any traditional publishing agency or brick and mortar bookstore right now if you don’t believe that. Everyone is struggling to learn the new market and figure out what is going to keep them competitive.
The thing is, at least they see there’s a need, and they are responding. What I see too often is authors who have a background in this or that, so they think they already know everything there is to know about X, Y, and/or Z. You know these people – they’re the ones complaining about poor sales, generalizing that some tried and true method doesn’t work because it didn’t work for them, or blocking people who have any kind of differing opinion than they have. Nothing you tell them is right, and they have an excuse for why your sound advice won’t work, every… single… time. If you haven’t come across anyone like this yet, there’s two possibilities. One, you don’t get online much, or two, you are that person, in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading this in the first place.
Here’s the thing. Even those of us who think we’re rolling along pretty well… just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, one day we hit a wall and our methods are either dated and irrelevant, or saturated with too many other people doing them and therefore not as effective as they once were.
We’ve got to have the ability to adapt to stay relevant and successful, and this sometimes means taking stock and reevaluating your goals, adjusting them accordingly. Don’t be stubborn and follow a plunging car off a cliff. Steer into the skid, if needed, and then start building onto what you know is working and go from there.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
Now that I’ve handed you the keys to the kingdom, what will you do with them? I know I used the heck out of clichés and snark, but for good reason. I want these things to resonate with you, and I want you to make them work for you.
So, you just got to hear a lot from me, probably more than you asked for, but now I want to hear from you. What do you think is holding you back, why, and what is going to motivate you to finally break the mold and make your goals happen this year?
Let’s hear it in the comments below.
Nicole R. Locker is a resident of Lubbock, Texas, USA. She has a Master of Science in Psychology and a love for pit bulls, Pilates, and romance novels. (And men with Irish accents!) She writes sexy, slow-burn romance about strong, intelligent women and the Alpha Heroes brave enough to chase them.