Today is January 17th in the year 2015. So what does that say about me? Anyone who is big in the blogosphere would cry foul. That New Year greeting along with the big list of goals and resolutions should have come a long time back.
Well, for starters I’m not someone who is into making New year resolutions, in fact I can’t remember the last time I did. Why make resolutions that you can’t keep, right? A while back this very thought propelled me to attempt an article on the subject- why do we fail so miserably with them. I read up on it. The reason a few experts and laymen gave was the fact that the goals were too elaborate, did not come with a clear schedule or action -plan and bore a very long-term commitment (365 days). So if one of us aimed to lose weight this year (I’ll take the most common of them for the sake of simplicity, no offence), say lose 10 kilos by the end of the year– simple, ain’t it? Now day 1 , you work out. Same with day 2 or 3 or 10. And then you relax thinking well, i have the rest of 11 months. Each month you keep pushing it, feeling guilty for not dong your job which makes it even harder to put on your track suit and running shoes. You keep thinking (with less assurance each time that there’s another month, or two, left). By the end of the year, well, it’s the same story. Problem? Yes!!
The solution is really quite simple and we know the answers to all our questions. The problem is actually implementing what you know into practice. In fact, taking that first step is the hardest. In the world of freelancing, writers are required to pitch ideas to editors if they want a shot at ever writing for them. These need to better than the elevator-pitches that salesmen deliver– clear ideas, with methods of execution and why it works for the magazine, yada yada. But writing that first one has been such a pain for me that I put it off for far too long. Believe you,me when I say, I have been reading about the A-Z’s of freelancing for nearly a year now. I know 95% of how to’s, the do’s, don’t’ s and everything in between. So, why has it taken so long? Fear– of being a newbie, under-performing, self-doubts and anything you can think of. A large number of people suffer from this than you realize. In fact a popular coach, Tim Grahl, has a free e-course on ‘Conquering Fear‘ (which I’ve signed up for, as you can imagine).
Going back to new year resolutions– while it is extremely important to have a road map or a goal, you need to break them down into specific targets, assign them time-lines and make sure that while they are ambitious, they should also be achievable. Example- Send 3 pitches a week, 12 a month. Make 500 bucks a week, 2000 a month, 24,000 a year and so on.
Lastly, this is something I learnt from a mentor, Mridu Khullar. YOU can determine your new year!! If you fail your goals for this month, start from February. If the target for March, doesn’t seem to be going according to plan, club it with April and June. The focus is to not give up and start, but start immediately. Rectify the situation, today! I will share my goals for 2015 on the blog soon, so you guys can hold me accountable. I suggest each of you do the same, so we can tease each other about that.
As for why I didn’t post earlier, well, I was determined that I wouldn’t until I took my first step in freelancing. I sent my first article pitch yesterday (after nearly a year of reading up and learning). And guess what, it wasn’t perfect because the first one rarely is. A few seconds after I hit send, I realized there were plenty of better ways to have penned it. That is where experience comes into play. Either ways, I’m glad I’ve taken my first step and the rest doesn’t seem to be as hard anymore.
So, if my message has been lost in translations– two things
1. Fear is what holds many of us back. Take that imperfect, first step to get to the perfect 10th or 20th step. But you need to stop obsessing and begin.
2. Goals fails because you haven’t clearly defined them. So sit down. Make a road map, be it personal or professional. Let it be a little challenging and also a little practical. But above all, make sure that it is something you really care about. And when you don’t achieve your said target, don’t give up. Add it to the next month, or week and follow-up. In brief, start again!
Care to tell me what your fears are? Why you haven’t started on your dream yet? And what you plan to do? Would love to hear your thoughts. And by the way, Happy New Year!!