When it comes to accomplishments, life seems to work against us. Obstacles will always pop up in our way. Even more so when there are no deadlines and the desire is solely internal, like often happens with creative work. It’s easy to let it slip another day, another day, and another day.
You must be ruthless in pursuing your goals. This means two things.
- You will have to push past the laziness, the “meh,” the “I already worked 8 hours today and made dinner, what more do you want?”, the “I’ll start tomorrow,” and all the other excuses that will come up when it comes time to get to work. This is pretty common stuff here. Stuff that most “x help,” where x is whatever activity you’re trying to do, will talk about and help you beat.
- You will have to make sacrifices–and only you can deem what is an acceptable sacrifice and what isn’t. This could mean cutting your TV time. Or it could mean not going out with friends. Or not taking on another commitment during the week. It’s easy for us to get too involved in too many things and then find that we have no time for ourselves. To yoink a phrase from Stephen King (with apologies), commitments are like dandelions: if you don’t keep them under control, you’ll soon find your lawn covered in them. Note that the sacrifices could also be your other projects (see my post, “Murder Your Darlings“).
The hardest part of number 2 is the ability to say “no.” I don’t enjoy telling friends that I can’t make it on a particular night or have to drop my commitment. But I have to be ruthless in ensuring I have the time necessary to get my work done.
“Isn’t that pretty self-centric?” some might ask. To which I say: “Absolutely.” You have to be. The world will take whatever you give it and ask for more unless you put the brakes on. Just like we don’t give away all our money so that we can pay rent/mortgage and so forth, don’t give away all your time. Keep some for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it.
Life will encroach and the excuses will let it. Stomp out the distractions without pity. This is even more important at the beginning of any habit/process. Later on, it’s easier to ease up a bit, but always be on the lookout for those stray commitments that pop up. Don’t automatically say “yes” to them.
Be ruthless, and you’ll find that your goals are closer than you think.