This is it, y’all. The end of another year. It’s too soon for some, and not soon enough for others. To me, this year has felt very transformational. I’m in a completely different place today than I was on Dec. 31, 2016. And I mean that in so many ways.
I’ve got a new day job that is light years better than my last. I’ve moved into a much better living situation with the love of my life. I’ve gotten my mental health under control. My writing career is currently right where it should be.
When I sat down to write this post, I thought to myself, what’s allowed me to make so many changes for the better in my life this year? I realized the answer was simple.
I changed my perspective.
We all like to set new years resolutions. But honestly, most of us don’t meet them. I’ve got a couple questions for you, and I want you to take a good moment to think about them before you keep reading.
Did you meet any of your goals for 2017?
If you didn’t meet any of your goals, what kept you from it?
No one likes to think about their short comings. But as I said in my last post, the areas in which you lack are more important than the areas you’re strong in. If you didn’t meet your goals, there is a reason.
My goal for 2017 was to finish a book and submit it. That had been my goal since 2011. This is the first time I’ve ever been able to actually meet it.
There were a lot of factors that led to me being able to finally get there. I’ve got a new job that is much better. I’ve moved out of a crappy living arrangement into a much better one. I live with my significant other now, who supports me whole heartedly. And after years of struggling, I finally went and got help with my mental health.
These all seem like separate factors, but I was able to make these strides because I changed my perspective on my goals. This realization came from an interesting source. There’s an anime and manga that I am a huge fan of called Baby Steps. It’s a very realistic Tennis Manga, and that’s going to be very funny to everyone who reads my work.
There is a part in the series where the Main Character steps outside of his comfort zone and travels to a prestigious Tennis Camp in Florida. There he meets some of the others his age that are aiming to go pro as well, and he finds that they seem light years above him in skill.
He gets so focused on the goal of beating these players that he stops thinking about how he should go about training and practicing to beat them. One of the other players then gives him some advice that has become my personal motto.
Baby Steps to Giant Strides.
You have to have a big goal that you are working towards. Become a Professional Tennis Player. Becoming a Published Author. Writing your first book. Even writing a short story.
But the big picture can seem so huge and overwhelming that it freezes you in your tracks. So you have to start small. Example. Writing every day regardless of the amount of words. If you do this. Eventually you will achieve that goal of writing whatever you are trying to finish. Those are the Baby Steps, that finished product is your Giant Stride.
Sometimes you have to start even smaller. For me, I realized that my life was not in a place to even be able to establish that routine of writing. So I needed to fix that. To do that, it became obvious that I needed to stop making excuses.
I’m as bad about it as anyone else. I’d tell myself that I worked really hard today at my job, so I deserve to come home and do nothing. For eight hours. Every day.
I told myself that yeah, feeling like the world itself is against me, and I’m drowning in a black pit of despair randomly and out of nowhere, is a problem. But I’ve got a handle on it. Never mind that it strains my relationships, ruins productivity and drive in all areas of my life, makes those I care about worry about me, and physically hurts when it hits like a gunshot with no warning. It’s not affecting that much. I don’t need help.
I told myself that living in the living room of a 750 square foot one bedroom apartment with my father who is fairly severly ill isn’t a problem. It totally didn’t contribute to my deteriorating mental health.
Every single one of those things were sucking the life out of me. My drive has never died, but it was being constantly smothered. So I stopped making those excuses, and now not one of those things are a factor in my life.
And look what I was able to do. In the last month I’ve written and polished 2 short stories. Re-edited an old story for submission. Finished and polished my first Novella and sent it out for consideration. When I sit down to create words, I write anywhere between 1000 and 2000 words. I even managed a whopping 5000 one day. Guys, since November 1st, I’ve written and pushed forward more than I have in the last 3 years.
Because when I changed that perspective, everything changed for the better. And I’ll never go back.
In 2018, I plan on getting that contract and my work into the hands of readers everywhere. I also plan on writing the next three to four Novellas in this series. And here’s how I’m going to do it.
I’m going to get up early Monday through Friday and write before I go to work, so I can eliminate the excuse of being too tired after work to get any writing done.
I’m going to take the weekends off to be with my significant other, and the other people that I love to thank them for their support, and to give myself a breather.
I’m going to regularly go to my doctor for check ups to keep up with my medication and my mental health, because I’ll be damned if I’m going back into the roller coaster that not being treated is.
I’m going to focus on taking those Baby Steps to reach those Giant Strides
So what are everyone else’s goals for 2018?
More importantly, how are you going to meet those goals?