When it comes to being successful as a writer and author, it all really comes down to three things:
That’s the secret. That’s what every successful writer and author out there has mastered. They’ve made writing a daily habit, they’ve become disciplined about it and they’ve done it consistently enough to have made major progress.
Success is really simple when you break it all down. And while each author’s success will have been achieved through different actions and activities, the core of their success always comes down to habits, discipline and consistency.
The problem is most writers aren’t very habitual or consistent and they often lack discpline for doing what really matters and what will really move them forward on their projects. Maybe you can relate?
I used to relate to that. Back years ago, I had zero discpline or habit when it came to my writing. And don’t even get me started on being consistent. Back then, the only consistency I had was my inconsistency.
But then I started to think about the things that I do have habit, discpline and consistency around. ‘Cause the truth is, we all have habits, discpline and consistency with some stuff.
Just not always the thing we want to have it around.
For example, when I was younger, I used to get tons and tons of cavities. I’m talking 5-7 every time I went to the dentist. And what came with those cavities were painful trips to get them filled. (So NOT fun!!)
I brushed my teeth every day, twice a day. It was a habit my mom instilled in me from a young age. But I still got cavities.
When I asked my dentist why, he said I needed to start flossing every night before bed, and if I did, that would reduce the number of cavities I was getting.
I didn’t listen. I had already built a habit around brushing my teeth twice a day, every day, and I thought that should be enough. But it wasn’t.
When I was 22 years old, I went to a dentist appointment and was told I had 8 cavities–all in teeth that I’d already had filled before. The dentist was adament that I get them taken care of right away, before they became root canals or worse.
So I went and saw a specialized dentist who was recommended to me. When I saw that dentist, her recommendation was two-fold: she said I needed to have inlays done, where they basically hollow out the inside of your tooth and then create a custom-made filling to replace what they removed; and I had to start flossing every night.
The process cost around $7,000 and it took three visits to the dentist–two to drill and hollow out the teeth and then take the impressions to send to the lab that would create the fillings, and then one to actually put the inlays in when they were ready.
I probably don’t even have to tell you how painful the hollowing out process was. Let’s just say I needed to have 7 shots of novicaine on one side of my mouth and I still felt everything, because some of the cavities were so deep they touched the nerve of my tooth. And on top of that, I had the worst headache of my life the next day after the novicaine wore off. At one point, I actually thought my head was going to explode.
It was by far one of the most torturous things I’ve ever been through. After it was all over, I made a decision: from that day forward, I would brush and floss my teeth every single night, no matter what. Even if I was tired. Even if I didn’t feel like it.
And I did.
There hasn’t been a single day since then that I haven’t brushed and flossed my teeth before going to bed. Even on the nights when I’ve fallen asleep on the couch, slept there for half the night and then woke up at 4 a.m. and wanted to go sleep in my bed. I still forced myself to brush and floss my teeth before I was allowed to go to bed.
I created this habit almost immediately and became super disciplined about it, so I’d never have to go through anything like that or get another cavity filled ever again. (And I haven’t since!!)
But you don’t have to wait until the thing you’ve avoiding gets so painful that you’re basically forced into changing.
What I discovered is the discipline I now had with flossing my teeth could be used for anything you want to turn into a habit. Including your writing.
All I had to do was figure out what I’d done to make it happen. And here’s what I came to:
After that painful (and expensive) inlay experience, I made the decision that never again would I let a day go by without flossing my teeth. If flossing my teeth was the one thing that would stop me from getting cavities, I was going to do it and do it daily.
Once the decision was made, I committed to it. Fully. I was all-in on it.
I created a trigger to help me make it easier. I went out and bought floss and I put it with my toothpaste so I would see it every time I brushed my teeth. This made it much easier for me to actually follow through because I had a reminder every time.
In the beginning, when it wasn’t a habit to floss my teeth every night yet, I had to remind myself of why I was doing this and why I wanted to create this habit. The why of what you’re doing is so important because it will keep you motivated and will help you push through when things get tough or when you “don’t feel like it.”
5. Keep On Going
When I first started flossing every night, it was definitely a challenge because I wasn’t used to it and I hadn’t been doing it long enough to see the full benefits from it yet. When you’re not seeing the results or benefits right away, it’s often hard to keep going. But that’s what you have to do.
If you fall off track for a day or two, don’t make a big deal about it, just get back to it as soon as you can. The biggest problem with creating habits and being disciplined is that often when you fall off track you make it mean something it doesn’t mean. You’ll say it’s because you can’t do it or you’re not good enough or whatever.
But it has nothing to do with that. It’s just not a habit yet. And once it is, you’ll do it so automatically you won’t have to even think about it. So get back to it as soon as you can and then keep going.
Follow these five steps and you can make a habit and create discipline around pretty much anything, whether that’s flossing your teeth or doing your writing.
So often we’re afraid to make something a habit or to be disciplined because we think that it will take away our freedom. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Discipline creates freedom, because once something is automatic, your mind is freed up from having to think about it or worry about it getting done. And since you’ve made it a habit, it always gets done, even in the midst of life chaos or being busy.
Want to totally change your life and step into the identity of the writer and author you’ve always dreamed of being? It starts with creating habits, discipline and consistency around doing what matters and doing it daily.
Dream life or bust,