In honor of the one-year anniversary of my release of Pennies from Burger Heaven, I want to talk about achieving your goals. It took me 20 freakin’ years to become a published author, sixteen of those where I wrote every. single. day. I completed four novels like that.
What do you want?
Do you want to get out of debt? Do you want to start a business? Do you want to write a novel?
We all know the basics of goal setting:
*Write down that goal, then break it into small, actionable steps.
*Consistently work toward that goal. The more often you do, the faster you’ll achieve it. Everyday is best, but do the best you can.
*Think positive thoughts along the way.
I also want to prepare you for the dark side of trying to achieve your goals, when you truly put yourself out there. I’m talking about BIG goals, the kind that takes your breath away because you want it with everything inside you, but aren’t sure you can pull if off.
If you’re trying to make your dreams come true, then…
Fear will try to drag you into the depths of hell.
Think I’m being melodramatic? Try to change one habit — going to the gym more, or not overspending. You’ll do it a few times, then get busy or get discouraged, and maybe not follow through ‘just this once’.
Pretty soon, you’re back to the old you, but now with an extra layer of self-loathing for your displeasure.
Here are three so-called negatives that you can turn into positives to accomplish more:
1. Fear is Good
Fear is a flashing neon sign into your soul. It’s an indicator for you, so pay attention. The more frightened you are of your goal, the more you are called to do it. When this happens, you can be certain you’re really supposed to go for it.
This realization was a game-changer for me. Once I stopped seeing Fear as the enemy, I learned to not panic every time I encounter it.
Don’t get me wrong. With each new challenge I face that feels impossible, Fear kicks me in the ass. I forget everything I just told you, and find myself cowering in the corners of my mind. This can go on for days, weeks, or even months.
Then, I remember that Fear is good, and get back to work. But, you know what? My self-inflicted torture is much shorter these day, and it’s sure better than not trying at all.
GOOD NEWS: Your fear is equal to how important your goal is to you. See this as a plus.
2. Self-Doubt is Part of the Process
We’re always doubting ourselves.
Am I good enough?
Who do I think I am to even try?
Won’t the world see me as fraud, or a phony?
Every person on the planet faces self-doubt. Rather than thinking you’re a loser, or taking it as a sign from the universe you’re not supposed to grow or change, just know that’s how life works. It’s two steps forward, then three steps back.
Lastly, the closer you are to reaching your goal, the stronger doubts may hound you.
GOOD NEWS: Self-Doubt is part of the process. Ignore it, and keep going.
3. Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy
Self-sabotage is the #1 killer of dreams. It’s just Fear with a mask on, with us inflicting the pain on ourselves.
Turn off Facebook, stop binge-watching Game of Thrones, quit stuffing your face with junk food, so you’re too you’re numb to put your all into your goal.
Just do it. Shaking and afraid, doubting yourself the whole way, take one baby step toward your goal. Examine what you do to waste time, or self-sabotage (mine is social media + sugar), then decide what’s more important. Making your dreams come true, or destroying them.
GOOD NEWS: Self-sabotage is just another form of Fear, with us inflicting the pain on ourselves.
What Do You Want this Year?
You’re going to have setbacks and failures. That’s life. WHEN you do, it doesn’t mean you’re lame, or you suck, or aren’t talented or smart enough. It’s just part of the process. Obstacles make us decide how bad we really want something.
Good luck to you and me in crushing Fear in this New Year.
What’s one goal that TERRIFIES you this year, and how do you plan to overcome it?
Please leave comment. Let’s talk.
Pick up your FREE copy today of the mystery, The Moon Rises at Dawn (SkipJack Publishing). Read, enjoy, repeat.
The only real fear I have had is not being able to get my ebooks onto KDP soon enough. Also, to ot worry so much about the money aspect of it but 1) doing it because I feel the Lord wants me to write and illustrate Children’s’ ebooks and 2) I find that when I am doing these things I have felt more fulfilled. 3) I have been told too by a special deals. that I have a talent in these two areas as well. 4) I feel likeI cou.d make a difference in Kids’s lives,too. My biggest problem(s) are learning how to do all of this amidst challenges of devices that do not always want to cooperate with me when I am dong my part of asking the Lord to help me to
earn how to do these things are to please have either Jesus help me, fix e problem or the device(s) when I have no idea of. how to fix the problem/challenge(s) astheypopup. Because I tell him if he wants me to do these two things of writing and. illustrating he is going to have to help me to do one or the other things in order to fulfill his tasks he’s told me todo. And he has.Andhe. has provided what I need or have the support to get these things done in Hos time according to what one of my friend’s,Michelle reminds me of often. See? Angela
It’s never too late to publish a book, especially one that will enrich kids’ lives. Doing it because you feel called to it + fulfilled are perfect reasons to write. That said, you can’t worry about the $$$. It’ll drive you crazy, and it will make you feel depleted.
You’re on the right track. Keep up the good work.
Dionne J McBride
I decided to study for my MFA and work on my novel. I started the program this month, but I’ve been having a lot of self doubt. Thank you for writing this timely article!
WOW, Dionne. I am all kinds of impressed. The only thing I wanted out of college was to be out of college, so I never considered going for my MFA.
Kudos, to you. Since you’re going to be writing for a grade, self-doubt very well be your new roommate. I’d encourage you to find people who earned their MFA as mentors to help guide you through this.
Again, WOW! Please keep me posted on your progress (with the novel, too). You’re officially Wonder Woman!
I want to go back to school and get my Masters in Social Work. I eventually want to be a counselor and have my own private practice…but back to the school thing. It terrifies me! I have to probably take the GRE. I haven’t been in school in 16 years and everything has changed. I’m pretty sure I forgot how to write a paper. And so on and so on and so on, add infinitum. I’ve decided that my goal is to “try” and apply to start for this coming fall. So with my self doubt and procrastination I guess I better get cracking…ugg! Oh, it just now occurred to me that I might also not get accepted. Geez!
Ahhh, Julie. Knowing just a bit of your backstory tells me that you’ll be an excellent counselor.
Yes, it’ll be hard. Yes, it’ll take time and money, but just keep picturing yourself in sitting in that counselor’s chair, being on service.
I hope you get into school on your first try, but Pennies was rejected by dozens and dozens of literary agents. You just have to FIGHT for what you feel called to do. You just have to decide. How bad do you want this?
Self-doubt keeps telling all the things that are going to go wrong. Fear wants to shut you down, before you even try. DON’T DO IT.
GOOD LUCK and keep me posted! xo – m3
Thank you Marcy. I sure needed that. ??
thanks for helping me to clear a mind so much assaulted by scores of entangled paragraphs.
resolutions? I hope to finish the Preface the 1st quarter of 2017.
NICE! A very clear and concise resolution/goal – finish your Preface this quarter. I started writing my first novel back in 1995. The biggest mistake I made (and I made many), was I kept rewriting the beginning. I thought I had to get that right FIRST, and THEN write the rest.
Wrong. You don’t understand the beginning of your book until you’ve written until the very end. Once you’ve written your Preface, KEEP GOING. Even then, all first drafts suck. It’s okay. You’ll rewrite and revise.
Best of luck to you! Thanks for the comment.
Thanks Marcy (The Fear Expert)
Your ideas resonate with me, as they usually do. I love the idea of welcoming fear. rather than using it as an excuse to procrastinate.
My own fears are based around focusing down on one aspect of my business. It means learning new skills, which I have been putting off for too long – I am starting NOW on mastering the skills I need.
As always, Philip, you make me smile. I pictured a white business card with my name on it in black letter: Marcy McKay – The Fear Expert.
It’s so hard to master new skills, and it’s equally as difficult to try and welcome fear. I have 300 pages of Pennies #2 and I look at it, thinking, HOWWWWWW did I write that first book? It’s all such a struggle.
I just have to keep slogging at it, like I’m doing. Some days, I feel fearless and believe I’m finding the story, but others I’m almost paralyzed.
Such is life. Good luck at mastering your new skill for your business. You can do it.
Great article, as always, Marcy! Thank you!
Short term personal goal: Get more active and deal with health issues. Having to focus on me scares the heck outta me. I’d much rather use my time and energy to focus on my loves ones! Eek!
Short term writing goal: Finish the first draft of my WIP by the end of February. I’m currently just over 111,000 words in with possibly another 40K to go. This is by far the most I’ve ever written (Book 1 was only 67K words), so I’m proud and determined that I will get to the end of it!
Longer term personal goal: Stay active and lose the X amount of weight I’ve gained due to the health issues and inactivity
Longer term writing goal: Publish the WIP by the end of the year and work like a demon to do so, while taking appropriate breaks between editing rounds.
Seriously, Em. You’re one organized woman. I need you to do a makeover on me. 🙂 You have a lot of goals, but they all seem doable because of the length you already have in your current WIP manuscript. Fabulous word count, so far!
As far as the weight, I’m there with you. I’m 50 and my hormones are out of whack. Bleh, but here’s to better health for us both.
Love you. m3
Thank you! I wish I felt organized! Grin.
Blood pressure and other cardiac issues are what I’m dealing with, hence some of the fright. Yikes. My hormones are out of whack too, so I’m hoping that’s at least part of it.
Here’s to both of getting our health under control + a great year of writing. xo – m3
Yep! Thanks sweetie xoxo
Marcy – what energized me recently is wanting to fine tune my writing process (I’m an obsessive outliner), and I finally am close enough to start writing again.With a background in IT, I use Excel and Word extensively, and after purchasing at least 4 writing software programs (each of which had appeal) I decided I wanted to continue using my own templates. I am now without fear and look forward to writing (first thing in the morning). It no longer scares or intimidates me!
I am both delighted for you, and jealous of you. I soooo wish I was an obsessive outliner. That’s such a smarter way to write, but I absolutely positively don’t see my story until I start writing.
You sound terrific, and I wish you all the best with your latest novel.
Marcy, thanks – and whatever way makes you feel more comfortable is the way to approach your writing! BTW, my first novel length mystery novel was released January 20, (last week) titled A Head in the Game. The idea originally came to me in the mid 1990’s, so it’ been 20 years or more in the making – many rewrites! 🙂
Congrats on A Head in the Game. I’ll have to check it out, and wish you all the best. Your 2017 is off to a GREAT start. 🙂
Thank you, Marcy, and best of fortune to you as well this year!
Hello Marcy, Happy New Year to you. Once again you have given timely advice, for which, I’m sure, all your followers are grateful. I’m struggling to write the sequel to my last book. I want it to stand alone, but it has too tie in the main characters from the previous. I don’t know if my situation will be of any encouragement to anyone out there, and I apologise for being ‘long-winded .’
I wrote my first novel for my bedridden mother, who was an avid reader. She complained that the stories she read, had all started to sound the same to her, I jokingly, said, ‘I’ll write a book for you.’
I have little command of the English language, No higher education. I was 69 years old when I wrote ‘Shattered Lives’ and it was published two weeks before my 70th birthday. A year later, I wrote, The Devil Came to Abbeville’ which despite being proof read, and so on, contains many grammatical errors, It was rushed through publication, due to my mother’s failing health. I didn’t think anyone would want to read my books, An uneducated, old farts scribblings. But,both books have received 5* ratings from readers. ‘Readers Favorite’, and Midwest Books, awarded them 5* and gave me great reviews. I’m very humbled by this. I was 76 last week, and have a three book trilogy plotted, and on hold, until this sequel is done.
It is people like yourself, Marcy, that have kept my spirits up, and encouraged me to go on to bigger and better things. I don’t write the stories, my characters do. Sometimes they take me down a completely different path than the one I intended, But when a reader tells you, they were immersed in your story, (one lady in the US, said she had fallen in love with one of my character’s). 🙂 When this happens, you know you have done your job,
and there is no better feeling, in this world. I loved ‘PENNIES’. You are so talented, and give such sound advice. Keep up the good work. God bless you. Carpe Diem, my friend.
Marcy Mason McKay
What an incredible woman you are! To write an entire novel for bedridden mother…that inspires me so much. However, it sounds like you truly have the heart of a writer, and that first book opened up to who you’re meant to be.
It also sounds like you have a sound plan with your upcoming books. I’m painfully familiar with slogging through a sequel. That’s EXACTLY how I feel about Pennies. Thank you for reading it. Hearing that you loved keeps me working away on the story.
Carpe diem, to you as well!