How do you plan?
I wanted to get into the habit of writing every day — this is something I’ve been after for years, much in the same way someone who wants to lose weight goes after it repeatedly; zealous at first, and then the hard reality sets in: this isn’t going to be easy.
There are numerous stops and starts but it wasn’t until I saw it beginning to pay off that it clicked for me. The psychology of it promotes getting into the habit for the sake of refining your process. If you focus on the process, not the outcome, you have the beginnings to create a rock-solid foundation.
The challenging part there is the process may be the boring part. Having to talk yourself into doing something day in and day out for the sake of doing it can be tiresome.
It’s hard to “get into the habit” of something because that’s an incredibly boring and flat reason to do something, no matter how beneficial.
How I made it work for me.
For the longest time, I struggled with goal-setting.
It sounds weird to say, but I never knew how to do it properly. I’d go into a project excited and enthusiastic, and then once those ran their course, I was left with nothing to show but a calendar filled with over-zealous deadlines that amassed to nothing produced. It left me feeling defeated and unmotivated to pursue any further. For the moment.
The nagging never ceased.
When I used to work in an office, I worked 100% on auto-pilot. I was part of a system and my piece fit into an ornate puzzle. All I had to do was my part and the rest came together as my co-workers filled in the rest. All of this was orchestrated by the “higher-ups” and I went along with it.
When I left to start my own business, I didn’t have a clue as to how one went about making something out of an idea. How did it all come together?
So I took a course in goal-setting.
Yes, I did. I signed up and despite listening to lectures and going through all the modules and doing all the worksheets, it still didn’t click for me.
My questions still lurked. “What if what I expect to happen doesn’t happen? Have I not only wasted my time but have I completely failed as well? If this doesn’t work out the way I planned, do I have to go back to working in an office?
I was terrified of having to go back to an office. But I didn’t know how to perfectly set goals, nor did I know what to do with failure.
But over time, I began picking up useful bits of intel that taught me as I worked through a lot of it.
The biggest sources of useful info came in the form of two highly respected creators in the form of Steven Pressfield and Seth Godin.
Stop placing all your focus on the goal.
I’ve realized it’s not the goal you need to focus on, it’s what you do to get to that goal that benefits from your focus. It’s how you show up every day, no matter what, and refine your process, regardless of that pesky inner voice — you can call it resistance, ego, pain, discomfort — it has many aliases. The goal is to learn how to show up every day and do the work no matter what.
And it’s an ever-evolving process. That’s what I never understood. It’s ok to pull a 180 if you discover your path isn’t leading you where you thought it would.
That’s why failure shouldn’t be avoided, it should be expected because we’re human, not demi-gods. We can’t predict the future, but we can do the work every day. We can find purpose in the work, and refine it as we move through it.
I’m now able to set goals, deadlines, and work in spite of the inner chatter that plays out every day — the chatter that used to keep me stuck. It tells me I’m not good enough to follow through, to show up, and be successful, but at least now I know that showing up and doing the work is the point and it’s what I need to be focusing on because that’s where the success lies.
AM Costanzo is a wellness coach, a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and loves to help people feel strong, powerful, and downright fabulous in body and mind!