It’s the first Wednesday of a new month and thus time for another posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
Heads up: this is my last IWSG for the year as I take December off from all work to rejuvenate for another year’s productivity.
Once upon a time, I would say: “I love goals: I love waving at them as they pass.”. These days, though, I’m much more goal-orientated. But without attaching any emotion to those goals. Sure, my goal could be to make 50k this year, but I won’t feel like an absolute failure if that doesn’t happen. I absolutely “blame” James Wedmore of Mind Your Business podcast for this one-eighty in thinking.
Traditionally, goal setting is for the New Year. But I like to do things differently (which is why I’m sharing this at the start of November). I like the idea of having a ten-year vision for my business with a three-year plan and a one-year plan to get there. And, of course, each year is broken down into 90 day goals.
You’ve probably heard about this whole 90-day goal thing. I’ve heard about it and ignored it as I do much that goes on online. But then I opened an email by James where he said that I could crush my goals with his guide – for free. As many authors know, most emails you open expect you to dole out your hard-earned cash in return for whatever amazing trick they have to increase your productivity and up your earnings. Some of these tricks don’t work for a reason: they’re tricks.
But what James offered (with a free PDF workbook and links to specific podcast episodes) was a workable mindset shift to achieve your goals. And I didn’t have to work harder, just smarter.
You know that SMART acronym one uses to create goals? Well, James has other words attached to the letters.
S – Specific (What exactly do you want to achieve?)
M – Measurable (When will you know that you have achieved it?)
A – Adventurous (Seemingly unachievable goals.)
R – Relevant (Does is align with your vision for the future?)
T – Time-based (When do you want to get this done by?)
D – Detach (from the outcome – otherwise you’ll ask what it means about you if you don’t achieve it. E.g. I’m a failure for not achieving this goal.)
Yeah, he added the D.
James also said that goals should be outside of your comfort zone but within your realm of possibility. All those “realistic goals” is playing it safe – and that’s stupid.
For me, it meant a lot of different things.
In one of the prescribed podcasts, James had an interview with Michael Hyatt (author of “Free to Focus”). They talked about many important things, but what captured my attention was how productivity hinged on energy management. Where does your energy come from? Proper sleep. Good nutrition. Regular exercise.
It’s so much different than burning the midnight oil, letting everything go to the wayside as you pursue your goals. And it’s much healthier.
We’ve all done this: allowing things to get temporarily out of hand because of a deadline/launch/whatever. But the temporary can become permanent and that is when we reach burnout.
I’ve been there. Many authors have. And that’s why, no matter what, I’m taking the entire December off. Even if I have to lock my study door (with every last book, pen and scrap of paper in there) and hide the key. I did it – reluctantly – last year and the results were amazing.
As for the sleep, nutrition and exercise…
Everyone should get a Rottweiler (or two) to cuddle with at night – whether it’s Cal or Caitlin on the bed, their heartbeat makes me relax utterly and fall into deep, dreamless sleep. Yes, I have to wrestle for space on the bed, but once that’s done everything is peaceful.
Exercise – I’m allergic. Really. I always overdo it and end up with an injury. Most notably when I twisted (or something) my knee in July and couldn’t walk (or think) due to the pain. It was fully resolved by the beginning of August, but it was still awful. That’s why I prefer working in the garden, doing something useful, rather than pointlessly climbing or cycling in place (though I do that often enough if the weather doesn’t allow me outside). My cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and all those icky things that so often lead to chronic conditions and medications have all gone to a very normal place (which is awesome if one takes my genetics into account) – combined with the right nutrition, of course.
And as for nutrition… In January, I decided to go vegan. I’ve been vegetarian for a decade, so it wasn’t that big a transition. Until I got ill. I had followed all the nutritional advice, etc. but I still gained weight, my blood tests for all those awful chronic diseases were sky-high (as in: you’re going to go on a regimen of a handful of pills a day and probably kick the bucket before you’re fifty) and my mental space was a dark abyss.
The hard truth: by “saving” countless animal lives by not eating meat, I was slowly killing myself. All the tofu and mycoprotein in the world couldn’t stand in for one meat meal a day. Not eating any processed food (e.g. no pre-packaged anything) and cooking everything from scratch, meant my meals were smaller and I became healthier and happier.
I still do meatless meals, but I have one meat meal a day. The eggs for breakfast come from my (very spoiled) backyard hens. The veggies (because Lockdown) come from my garden. (I basically follow a Paleo-light diet.)
It’s been a life-altering experience to look at productivity being contingent on energy and where that energy comes from.
As my mindset shifted, new opportunities presented themselves for my author business. I even had my hair cut the shortest it’s been in over a decade.
This led to a new author photo and bio. And a new commitment to my writing.
My 90 day goals mean that I have the time, energy and desire to publish a book a month and write so much more than that. Working on a blank canvas each month, means that all the distracting clutter is gone. And now that my goals don’t look like a to-do list (I still have those) and more like something that scares me because it seems so big, I really do jump out of bed in the morning to do my daily part to get to that goal – without working 80 hour weeks.
If you want to try out this kick-ass way of achieving your goals, get your copy of the workbook here.
Have you listened to the Mind Your Business podcast? Have you tried setting 90 day goals? What have you learned this year?
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