Do you have a plan to achieve your goals for 2020? Do you struggle to achieve your goals? Guest blogger Rochelle Melander offers insights about why we sometimes struggle to achieve our goals.
The Life-Changing Magic of Engaging with Life
By Rochelle Melander
Last year, I talked with a writing buddy about our social media problem: hanging out online was interfering with our writing productivity. Does that ever keep you from achieving your goals? I vowed to be more purposeful about my time online and take time offline to engage with the world. (The Upside of Going Offline) My friend, author Elizabeth Cole, found that having a life was the best way to stay offline (See Stop the Internet from Stopping You).
I was doing so well staying offline until I fell in love … with a tiny but powerful piece of technology. My old phone broke, and I purchased a new one. Wow.
How the “Wow” Factor Woos Us
For the first time in years, I understood why people:
+Pick up their phone an average of 63 times a day
+Spend between three and six hours a day on their phones.
+Use their phones within an hour of going to bed and five minutes of waking up.
On my old phone, I could make phone calls, text, check the weather, and play a few games. And now? I can do it all. And I’m doing it. My phone gives me a detailed report on how I spend my time—and I’m averaging about 10 hours a week on my phone. That may be well below the national average, but it’s also the equivalent of a part-time job!
My new toy gave also gave me a big “aha” moment. Suddenly, I knew why I could easily ditch social media to write every morning but not be able to stay off social media on evenings and weekends. In the mornings, I had set a goal to do something positive. That’s called an approach goal—and they work. In addition, my morning writing session had become a habit. Our brains find it easier to find a successful routine and repeat it.
Setting Limits on Social Media
But my goal to avoid social media on evenings and weekends were avoidance goals, and they leave us feeling more anxious and less happy. That’s probably because it’s harder to avoid a habit.
I noticed that on the evenings and weekends where I had planned to do something positive—go to the theatre, volunteer at a community event, or read—I had no trouble staying offline. As my friend Elizabeth Cole had discovered, when we have a life, we can easily stay offline.
So here’s my plan going forward: I’ll schedule positive activities during evenings and weekends so that I can spend more time with real people and activities.
Plan the Work, Work the Plan
As we move into planning for a New Year, think about how you would like to be spending your time. Are there people you’d like to connect with, skills you’d like to learn, or activities you want to participate in? Make a list.
Choose one or two of those activities. Set a goal to do it during the times you usually spend on social media. Perhaps they’d read something like this:
- I will spend two hours every Saturday learning to sew so that I can meet my goal of learning a new craft.
- I will read a book in the evenings, so that I can meet my goal of reading 12 books a year.
- I will plot my novel after dinner, so that I can meet my goal of writing a novel this year.
I’m confident that approach goals will help me do more of what’s important to me. As you plan and prepare for the New Year, I hope you’ll be able to do what matters to you, too. Because engaging with real life can be magical!
Ready, Set Goals, Go Meet Them
For some great tips on how to achieve what you want to accomplish and avoid what you’re rather not accomplish, look no farther than Rochelle’s new book: Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination, and Increase Productivity. In Level Up, you’ll find your perfect solution to any obstacle you face by turning them into quests. Instead of playing someone else’s game, you get to design the game, create your own playbook, define the rewards, and reap them all! You’ll also adopt a secret identity, recruit allies, identify villains, and celebrate your epic wins. Because you’ll be using a gameful approach to shaping your creative life, doing these quests won’t be a chore. Instead, you’ll relish investigating your life, play be able to play with possibilities and maybe even have some fun along the way!
Rochelle Melander has helped thousands of people design a writing life and connect with their readers. She teaches entrepreneurs and professionals how to overcome writer’s block, write more, turn their ideas into books, navigate the publishing world, and use speaking and social media to reach their readers. You can follow Rochelle at WriteNowCoach. You can find her book here.