I love a well-crafted goal.
Goals keep us moving and accomplishing them brings the joy of making progress. Without goals, we feel lost, stuck, and devoid of momentum.
Let’s start by defining what a goal is. Goals have to be specific, measurable, and time-based among other things.
Under those parameters, “become a writer” doesn’t fit the criteria of a goal, but “write one spec script in three months” does.
The following are four tools to help you execute a goal.
Have an authentic why
When it comes to goals, the “why” is just as important as the “what”.
A college grad who goes to nursing school because her parents want her to is much less likely to enjoy that career path because she’s living out someone else’s goal.
The same goes for goals set by societal expectations, FOMO, or ego.
Goals have to be true to who you really are. Otherwise accomplishing them won’t bring joy – and that’s assuming you could muster the energy to accomplish them in the first place.
Start with the end in mind
What do you want to do with your script when you’re done writing it? Or your short when you’re done producing it? Where is your project going?
Starting with the end in mind is like creating a dinner reservation for your work. When your work has a place to be, it forces you to get it dressed and ready to be there on time.
Break it down into small manageable pieces
Big goals are overwhelming. Plain and simple. The best way to achieve a big goal is to break it down into small pieces. Instead of trying to write 30 pages in one weekend, maybe you write five.
Five is much more attainable and realistic. It brings you closer to 30, and best of all, you’ll still feel accomplished.
Focus on the process
According to Arthur Brooks, an Atlantic columnist, happiness comes from progress. In other words, the process of becoming what you want, not the accomplishment itself is what brings joy.
Becoming a working writer can be a long and unpredictable journey. To focus on when or how it’ll happen is to focus on your own lack of control.
Writing, on the other hand, is hard, but it’s completely within your control. If you’re able to sit with the difficulty and get into a state of flow- that moment when you’ve cracked your own code and the words are jelling and the pages get done, then good for you. Because that’s where the joy is.