"Why aren't you achieving your goals?"
That's the subject line of an email that arrived in my inbox from my good friend Yinka earlier this week.
I'll be honest, it was like being punched in the stomach. Like someone had been sitting just behind me, and watching me fail to achieve some of the lofty goals I'd set for myself this year.
"Jeez," I thought. "As if I'm not hard enough on myself, now my inbox is throwing shade at me too."
But, like everything that pokes at me, I'm grateful for it because it made me think. It made me wonder why I've not achieved everything I wanted to. Why some people seem to be touched by an angel, and others struggle through mud.
I've been thinking about it, and I have a couple of theories.
The goals I haven't achieved have been big and complicated and kinda nebulous. And as Yinka pointed out in her email, the bigger and more complicated your goal, the trickier it is to achieve.
As Ryder Carroll said in his book The Bullet Journal Method, "in an all-or-nothing world, we forget the power of something."
I think we struggle to achieve our goals for a number of reasons ranging from not having a strong enough personal reason to strive for them, all the way to not having the skills or resources to physically get it done.
But I think there's a fundamental error most of us make when we're aiming for something important: we're so focused on the results, we forget about the action.
The truth is, we can't control the result.
The result is a future myth, a dream; it's not something we can directly affect in the here-and-now. But it's a shiny, beckoning future that pulls our attention and makes us feel good. We pay too much mind to it.
I'm not saying ignore the warm-and-fuzzies completely; the power of visualisation is proven – but don't let that shining feeling lull you into a false sense of achievement.
It's easy to let your brain trick you into thinking you've done all the hard work and now all you have to do is wait...
Keep your goal in mind as a distant beacon – but focus on the present.
Focus on the small actions you need to take every single day to get you a step closer to victory.
That's all you can control, in the end.
The things you do right now, today, are all that matter.
So when I ask myself why I haven't achieved the lofty goal of selling 10,000 copies of my new book – it's because I haven't done all the small things I need to do to make that happen. Yet.
Let me ask you again: why aren't you achieving your goals? Do you know what's missing? Which tiny beetle steps you need to take?
If it's a book you want to write, and you're frustrated because you can't seem to get started (or if you have started, you can't finish), make a plan. Map out the tiny beetle steps you need to take, then start taking them, one by one, day by day.
I've been there; I have three unfinished books languishing on my Macbook... but I also have two published books (and a big pile of client books) under my belt.
If you want to get cracking, I want to help.
My new book How The Hell Do You Write A Book is being printed right now, and if you've already pre-ordered a copy from me, it'll be with you by mid-November.
The pre-order bonus period is over, but you can still grab a copy and get immediate access to all the resources I've created to help you write your book.
I promise it's a good read (or your money back). ⬇⬇
p.s. I may not have achieved all my lofty goals, but I do want to high-five myself for what I have achieved so far:
- Written and published a new book
- Won a publishing contract with Amazon Audible (oh yeah, that happened)
- Quietly launched a new business
- Won a trapeze competition
I want you to do the same for your own achievements. What have you done successfully so far this year? Give yourself a high-five, and use it to motivate yourself to start doing the next thing.
Start Writing Your Book Today
If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.