Feb 292012
 

Lima, Peru.

In one of my first posts I wrote that I was going to write a book and that I would share my first chapter. I wrote three pages on the plane to Lima and haven’t touched it since.

Too busy, too much fun to be had, too much to do, too tired, not feeling like it.

And yet without a problem I crank out multiple blog posts per week.

So, it’s time to, as they say, put my money where my mouth is. I’m going to write the first chapter of my book and post it, for the world to see. And for further motivation, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is some more. I wrote a post about how to achieve a goal and I’m going to follow my own advice.

The steps to achieve a goal

The steps in my post were:

  • Set your goal
  • Research what you need to do to achieve your goal
  • Set aside time to work on your goal
  • Do it!

Goal
It is my goal to finish the first chapter of my book and post it online before the 1th of April 2012.

Research
I know what I have to do to write, so I don’t need any research at this moment. It might come up whilst writing, but I’ll deal with that later.

Set aside time
I will work for at least two hours per working day on my book, 6 days per week. I have no other obligations, so this should be doable.

Exceptions can be made for when I’m going on an excursion or for other travel-related issues.

Do it
I have already written three pages (a long time ago…), so a start has been made…

Tips & Tricks for achieving a goal

Next to the steps for achieving a goal, I wrote down a number of tips and tricks to make it more likely to achieve it. I’ll be using all of them to help me do what I want to do.

Formulate your goal in a positive way
Done. I have formulated my goal as something I want and not something I don’t want.

Formulate your goal SMART
Done. The goal is:

  • Specific: It focuses on just one thing, writing a first chapter to my book
  • Measurable: Either I have a first chapter online (for all to read) or I don’t
  • Attainable: I think it is very doable to write a single chapter in just over a month
  • Relevant: It is something I truly want
  • Timed: There is a clear deadline, the 1th of April 2012

Break it up in sub-goals
This is already a sub-goal of the larger goal “Write a book” (note that the larger goal is not (yet) SMART, as there is no clear deadline. I’ll use the experience from writing the first chapter to improve the overall goal).

Remind yourself of your goal
As I am on the move, putting up reminders becomes a bit more difficult. Still, there are some places I look regularly where I can put up a reminder:

  • A reminder text on my screensaver
  • A post-it in my wallet
  • A post-it on the inside of the top of my backpack (don’t know how long that one will last though…)

Share your goal
That’s exactly what I’m doing right now! This also gives you the explicit right to ask how things are going and to kick my but when there is nothing to read by the 1th of April.

Ask for help
If anybody has any general advice on writing a book, I would strongly appreciate it! Also, if you know good websites to help, do let me know.

Make it costly not to achieve your goal
I have transferred 1000 Euro to my father, with the request to donate it to “Natuurmonumenten”, an organization responsible for maintaining the Dutch natural reserves, in case I don’t make my deadline.

1000 Euro is my traveling budget for a month and therefore closest to what I’ve got to a monthly income :-)

This gives a bit of a strange feeling, as it feels as though I’ll be earning this money when I finish the chapter. So by pledging a larger amount I could be “earning” more… Hmmm, weird…

I also considered taking another cause to donate my money to, for example one that I really don’t like so that I’d be even more motivated not to see it go that way. It would however involve having to admit which good causes I don’t like and that’s a bridge too far. In the end I think Natuurmonumenten is a good choice as for me it’s not the most important cause (so I don’t mind if the money doesn’t go there) but I still feel it’s good enough to deserve the money.

Visualize having achieved your goal
Closing my eyes…

I see myself, holding a copy of my book in hand, being congratulated by people. The people around me are smiling. I have a big grin on my face and twinkle in my eye.

The money it earns allows me more time to focus on the things I really enjoy (like writing some more). I also get contacted by people who read the book and liked (and disliked) it. It gets me the confidence to go for the next book with more ease.

Take that first step
First step has been taken, my first pages have been written. Albeit a long time ago…

Stick with it
So, this is the clincher? I’ll actually have to stick with it. Let’s see how that goes. And you can be sure I’ll be giving some updates as well (if not, give me a kick in the but!)