I just achieved a goal I’ve had for as long as I can remember: I published my first book.
I could go on for days about the pride and joy I feel at having achieved this goal, but what is truly noteworthy about my accomplishment are these two very interesting things: 1) that it took me so long to do it and 2) the reaction I get from other people.
These two things originate from the same source: we’ve been conditioned to believe that big goals and dreams are for other people and we should avoid the disappointment we’re sure to experience if we set a big goal and go after it. We should play small and be “realistic.”
If you’ve read anything I write, you know I believe that a fundamental component of losing weight is to set a big goal and work toward achieving it. That’s because the energy and excitement you generate from doing this spills over into every aspect of your life, including health.
Setting a big goal and going after it supercharges all your weight-loss efforts. You build confidence and start to become a completely different person – the kind of person who doesn’t spend her life obsessed with losing weight.
And guess what? You’re already that person.
I was already that person, but I didn’t believe it . . . which is why it took me so long to write my book.
And all the people who are amazed that I wrote a book are that person, too. But they don’t believe it either, as evidenced by their reaction to my having written it.
The best news is that you don’t have to fully believe that you’re someone who can do big things (even though you are): you can act your way into it.
By working toward achieving an exciting goal, you start to see yourself differently. You begin to believe that you’re the kind of person who does great things. And the more you believe that you are, the easier it is to achieve those great things.
If you have the blueprint for setting and achieving a big goal, you’ll become this person a lot easier and a lot faster. So I want to give you that blueprint.
A big goal is fully achievable if you approach it the right way. So let’s use my most recent accomplishment as an example of how to do it.
1. A big goal starts with a dream. A goal has energy behind it, but having a dream to back it up sets the whole thing in motion. If a goal is the two-dimensional, pen-to-paper version, the dream is the three-dimensional, technicolor version.
Backing your goal with a dream gives you the belief necessary that you can achieve it. My book started with a cherished dream of becoming a writer. I envisioned myself as a successful author and had all kinds of visuals related to that dream: me looking out over the ocean, tapping away on my laptop happily working on one of my bestselling books. Me staring out the window of my New York City brownstone, soaking up the energy of the city while writing a book. (And I still have these visions.)
By the way, I was talked out of this dream nearly every time I mentioned it growing up. “Do you know how hard it is to make a living as a writer?” “Do you know how hard it is to find a publisher?” (And now you don’t even need one – you can do it yourself!)
Whatever big goal you have, turn it into a dream. Visualize yourself achieving the goal, and make it real in your mind. Bring it to life with vivid, detailed mental pictures. Back it up with powerful energy, and you’re sure to achieve it.
2. Break it into steps. This is where most people’s dreams and big goals die. They see themselves achieving the dream for a few precious minutes, and then they don’t go forward because it seems too daunting. They think of going from basecamp to the summit or from zero to Oprah. So they stop themselves from starting.
You have to break your big goal down into manageable steps, so it doesn’t feel impossible.
I decided back in January that I was going to finally write my dang book. I had the idea (the idea that’s been burning in my heart for forever), then I broke it down into concepts. I converted the main concepts into chapters. I broke the chapters down into sections and then fleshed out each section with bullet points. I actually wrote the whole outline on a piece of poster board and taped it up on my wall – and every time I had another idea, I make notes as on it as I walked by.
Writing a whole book was overwhelming, but writing a chapter – or a few paragraphs – wasn’t.
3. Do something every single day. If you don’t do something every day, you’ll lose momentum. After you’ve written down your steps, do one small thing every single day to keep yourself going. No matter how small the step is, do it.
Even better, schedule it. Write down what you’re going to do that day – put it in your day planner. Give yourself deadlines.
I gave myself a deadline of June 1st to be completely done with my book. I published it through Amazon’s self-publishing company and entered that date so I had no choice. I had ten chapters to write, so I divided those out evenly for the six-month period, and I wrote those individual deadlines in my planner.
I knew what I was going to be writing about every single day of those six months, so I had something small to accomplish every day. I got tons of small wins that kept me going.
4. See it through to completion, no matter what. Your inner critic will be right there with you along the way to remind you that the whole thing is a waste of time and who are you to be doing this? Don’t listen to it.
And no matter how everything starts to materialize, don’t judge yourself. Even though I envisioned the words “New York Times #1 Bestseller” emblazoned across the front of my book, I plowed forward despite the fact that it was self-published . . . and looked that way.
When I ran my first marathon, people sailed by me the entire 26 miles. It was completely demoralizing. But even though my time shaped up to be a dismal 5 hours and 35 minutes, I pushed myself across the finish line anyway. No matter what it looked like on the surface, it was my goal, and I achieved it!
You’re so much closer than you think you are to any big goal you set or to anything you dream of being.
To illustrate, one of the craziest moments of my book-writing experience happened when I realized that my actual job title (of my day job) was Technical Writer/Editor. I was literally already a writer – with a job title to prove it! That’s how much the defeating messages we constantly get take over and rule your life.
Another way to supercharge goal achievement is to tie your dream to helping other people. No matter what you decide to do, you can always use it to help someone – even if it’s just to inspire them.
That’s what I’m hopefully doing with my book: inspire women to release themselves from dieting prison to go out and achieve the big goals and dreams they were meant for. And become healthier, stronger versions of themselves. And, yes, lose weight in the process.
The truth is that anyone can write a book – the truly hard part is selling it, which is the second part of my goal. And if you want to help me with that, you can get my new book here.
Achieving any goal is simpler than you think it is, and with the right strategies, you can achieve it.
You’re stronger, more powerful, and more capable than you know. So stop wasting your precious life trying to lose weight, set your own big goal, and get busy achieving it!