Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive,”–Howard Thurman
Every year around this time you likely jump into making New Year’s goals and resolutions: write more often. Finish (or start) the novel draft that’s been in the works for years. Make writing a priority… The list goes on.
And I’d be willing to be a lot of those goals and resolutions are pretty much the same ones you made last year, and the year before, and the year before… Are you sensing a pattern?
Every year you set goals and make resolutions to try and fix things that you think are broken about yourself and your life. But the thing is, this system is flawed.
Setting goals and making resolutions do nothing but make you feel bad about yourself and your progress. Because you’re trying to fix something that’s really not broken.
And then when the end of the year comes and you haven’t made your goals happen, you feel like a complete failure, and like you’ll never make it happen.
Then you’ll start questioning everything–maybe I’m not meant to write a novel; maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer; maybe I’m not good enough…
Maybe you even feel like quitting altogether.
But before you do, read this:
Flaws In The System
The reason you set and chase a goal is because you believe that achieving it will make you feel a certain way. But often that’s not the case at all.
And if you do finally reach the goal, you can’t even fully enjoy or appreciate it–because you’re too burned out from chasing it for so long. Or, even worse, reaching the goal doesn’t end up making you feel the way you thought it would all along.
Stay with me here for a minute and really think about this… what is the point of setting a goal to achieve something that will help you feel a certain way, when the entire time you’re chasing the goal you’re feeling like shit?
So often in life you tell yourself that if you can just reach this goal you’ll be happy, or if you can just write your novel you’ll be a real writer, or if you just XYZ, then you’ll… Stop right there.
This system is majorly flawed, because it puts all the eggs in the basket of achieving a specific goal, so if you don’t achieve it you’ll never feel the way you want to feel, and if you do achieve it you won’t enjoy it because you’ll already be moving on to the next goal.
This system puts everything into the end result… and that’s a total flaw.
Because what really matters in life isn’t always the destination, it’s the journey. And if you’re not enjoying your journey, then you’re definitely not going to enjoy the end result.
How Do You Want To Feel?
Instead of chasing the same damn writing goals as usual, what if this year you tried something totally different? What if you figured out how you want to feel, and then aligned yourself with writing activities that make you feel this way?
For example: you decide that you want to feel “joy.” Then you take a look at your current writing goals and realize that the idea of writing a blog post once a week makes your skin crawl… but writing fiction, especially short stories, makes you come alive. Boom! Give up blogging and focus on fiction. Joy in the making.
Yes, it really is that simple.
There’s an amazing book called The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte, and it’s all about figuring out how you want to feel FIRST and then aligning those feelings with the activities you take on and goals you set for yourself.
While working through The Desire Map, I discovered that one of my Core Desired Feelings is: badass. Once I had that figured out, then I could start determining how to create my year.
I knew right away that several freelance projects on my plate had to go away, because they did not make me feel badass. I also knew that I had to finally take on finishing (and launching) my debut novel. I’d been putting it off for a really long time, but now I realize that goal lights me up and makes me feel like a total badass.
Already my year is heading in an amazing direction, because I know exactly how I want to feel and I’m able to align activities and intentions with those feelings.
For example, I’ve discovered that having cool nail polish and wearing a fancy cocktail ring make me feel more badass when I’m writing (while plain nails and no ring don’t elicit any badass feelings). Now I’m getting manicures twice a month, and wearing a cocktail ring every day. Already when I sit down to a writing session I feel way more badass than I did before.
You align how you want to feel about your writing with the activities that make you feel this way. You may even be surprised by which activities cause you to feel a certain way, and which ones don’t.
This year, I invite you to take on the Desire Map process, and really allow yourself to figure out how you want to feel. And then (and this is the hardest part), give yourself permission to do the things that make you feel the way you want to feel.
As Danielle says, “Feeling good is the whole point.”
Share With Us
How do you want to feel about your writing this year? Share your Core Desired Feelings in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Robert D. Brooks and Rossina Bossio