Did you achieve your goals this year?
Join the club!
I had some great plans for this year but I got bogged down because I felt paralyzed by too many choices. I couldn’t make up my mind what to focus on.
As a result, I feel disappointed.
I definitely don’t want a repeat performance next year!
Life is too precious to let the years roll by without making our dreams come true.
What about you? Do you look back on this year and wonder where all your plans and goals went?
What is YOUR dream as a writer?
Have you thought about becoming an author? What would it feel like to write and publish your book?
There are so many things to write about. You could write a novel, or a memoir, for example. Or you could write a book about your hobby or special interest. I’m sure you have knowledge and experience you take for granted which could be useful for others.
Maybe you can feel some excitement rising when you think about writing a book— but I bet you can also notice some fears and doubts.
When Fears and Doubts go on the Attack
When we start to focus on a big project, doubts start to pop up. We begin to wonder…
Am I good enough? Could I really pull this off?
Suddenly, challenges loom large: Can I make enough time for this? Will I have enough ideas? What if people don’t like what I create?
We look ahead and see a huge mountain looming in front of us. And, because it feels too difficult to climb, we put off our dream for another year or another decade.
Is this familiar? It’s a disappointing moment when we let our dreams go, don’t you think?
But it doesn’t have to be like that! What you need is a set of strategies which will take you, step-by-step, from the valley floor right to the summit.
How to Make the Next Year Your Break-Through
I’ll talk more about the set of strategies in a moment but first, let me tell you a story about overcoming challenges. When I was in my twenties, I used to be an assistant Outward Bound instructor in Hirschegg, a village in the German Alps. I would spend my term holidays helping young people to overcome challenges by learning to be in the mountains.
One winter, I was there as a skiing instructor. The students were divided into four groups, according to talent and experience. The Course Manager, Frau Ther, told me I could choose to teach either Group A for the advanced skiers or Group E for the no-hopers. I took each of these groups for a test drive. Group A was great fun, as you can imagine. We whipped down the slopes and time flew by.
Then is was time to try teaching Group E. It took a while to get them assembled as quite a few fell down immediately, just from standing. A few were totally uncoordinated, others were so inflexible they couldn’t bend down to do up their boots. Some of the girls were so big, they hardly fitted into the ski gear they were given. All looked defeated.
One of the girls spoke up, “They told us.”
“What did they tell you?” I said.
“They told us we’re not allowed to go.”
“Go where?” I was confused.
“We’re not allowed to go on the ski tour at the end of the course.”
Their shoulders sagged and they looked at me with sad puppy eyes. You see, the four-day tour from hut to hut in the German Alps was the highlight of this four-week course.
I looked at the straggly bunch. Each one of them had given up, even before starting. I suddenly felt a surge of emotion. I desperately wanted them to succeed, to have a good experience which could shape their lives.
I looked them in the eye: “If you really want to go on the tour, I’ll train you up for it. You’ll have to commit, though. You’ll have to promise to train hard and do exactly as I say. If you do that, I’ll take every single one of you on the tour. Guaranteed! Raise your hand if you’re ready commit.”
Slowly, hands went up and in the end, every girl in the group committed to the training. I have to admit I felt a bit nervous about my promise, but I was determined to get them ready. And I did. In the next four weeks I worked with them every day— and finally, they were able to go on tour with all the groups of this Outward Bound course. You can imagine their beaming faces!
It was one of the most satisfying moments of my life.
What I learnt is that we can all achieve so much more than we think is possible. Often, a lack of confidence keeps us from realizing our true potential.
There are three steps to take. The first step is to get a sense of the whole landscape of your life. The second step is to find out what you really want to write about. And the third thing is to commit to making this next twelve months the year you make your dreams come true. .
Let’s take a closer look…
This Three-Step Strategy Will Get You to the Summit
To clarify exactly what I want to focus on next year, I suggest using a three-step strategy.
Step 1: Complete a life-assessment.
Completing a life-assessment is useful because you end up with a birds-eye view of your life and can see which areas need more focus. I could see by my score that I was moving in the right general direction, but I wasn’t creating something deeply meaningful.
You see, I knew at the beginning of 2017 that I wanted to write a book. I had worked on a plot of a thriller, and had a couple of non-fiction books in my mind. But which one to go for? I felt paralyzed. Have you ever experienced the paralysis that comes with too many choices? It stops you in your tracks.
Step 2: Find out what you really want to write about
This is something I learnt from Laura Tong, my wonderful Editor at WritetoDone. Let me tell you how I found out about this strategy…
Earlier this year, I spent some time with my family in Germany and I met up with Laura Tong and her husband, Mark. I invited them to join me for lunch in a beautiful restaurant in Eltville on the Rhine. We were sitting on the veranda, looking out over sun-drenched vineyards. As we watched tugboats lugging huge barges up the Rhine, I told them about my dilemma of having too many projects and feeling paralyzed, unable to choose which way to go.
Mark and Laura nodded. Then Laura said to me:
“There is a strategy which can help you find out what you really want to do.”
“Really?” I sat up straighter.
“Yes,” Laura said. “Close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you are in the middle of next year.”
“But how can I…”
“Just close your eyes and don’t think,” Laura cut in. Then she continued.
“You are in the middle of next year and you are looking back on the six month that have passed.”
I nodded, eyes closed.
“Okay,” Laura said, “now think of your projects. Which project would you be most disappointed about if you hadn’t completed it?”
My eyes flew open! “Writing the book about how to boost your vitality!”
It was strange how that question suddenly brought everything into focus and I knew immediately what I wanted to do. It was as if a logjam had broken and ideas began to flow.
Finding out what you truly want to write about is a great step. But there is another one...
3. Commit to Action
If you want to write and publish a successful book, the time to start is now.
I know it's a daunting plan. But together, we can climb up that mountain and enjoy the view from the summit.
I want to use my journey of writing and publishing a book as a case study and share my struggles, lessons, and little triumphs with you as articles on WritetoDone.
What do you think? Would that make it easier for you?
If you’re keen to give make the next year your best year ever, join me in writing a book. Start making notes about possible topics and we can start creating the book in earnest at the beginning of next year. Let's do it!
Are you up for it?