Wednesday, 4 September 2019

5 reasons you don't write even when you want to

I woke with a start, and turned towards the clock on the other side of the bed.

2.03am


The rolling gentle snoring started, and my brain went into overdrive, wide awake now the noise was ramping up from the other side of the bed.

"Why don't you write anymore" pondered my 2am brain.

"It isn't important" mutters my 2.10am brain.

"But it's been over 12 years, why isn't it important?" 

I rolled this thought around my head for the next 2 hours, before giving up and quietly creeping out of bed to read my book on the couch in the dark and quiet house.

As I settled at my desk just after 9am that morning, those 2am thoughts came back with crashing clarity.

Why wasn't blogging the priority it used to be?

10 years ago, when I was about to have another baby, I blogged.

5 years ago, when I was struggling with another new baby who never slept, and a failed business that saw my husband working away to keep paying the bills, I blogged.

What has changed now?

Below are the answers I came up with as I pondered these thoughts.

Your to-do list isn’t specific


“Write blog post” can feel overwhelming when the steps to writing a post can be many. From researching your topic if required, creating (or taking) images, inserting all your code, and doing the writing, try instead to add each individual step to your to-do list. Then it’s easier to see what you have achieved, even if the kids have interrupted for food every 23 minutes. 

You can’t see the quick win


Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. But when the internet (and Pinterest) are full of people screaming about 4 figure incomes just months after launching, it can feel a touch overwhelming to keep putting yourself out into the noise again and again. Keep plugging away at your work and come back in five years and see how many of those noisy bloggers are still posting regularly (chances are, not many of them.)

It isn’t a priority right now


Life changes, kids grow up, families move, people get new jobs or volunteer roles that take up all their brain space. It’s wonderful that you still think about blogging, and want to keep going, but it’s ok to slow down for a while, and focus on other seasons of your life right now. 

You've forgotten your why


A guiding why is important for everybody and everything that they do. Having an ultimate purpose for your actions helps keep you on track to reach your goal. But your why needs to be deeper than money. Sure, money in the bank helps everyone, but you’ll always fall short if you’re chasing the dollars. Better to decide what having that money can mean for yourself (or your family) and choose that as your why. 

You have no self-discipline


This one is mostly aimed at me. As I’ve focused on growing and knowing myself better over the last couple of years, I have discovered that my personality type is forever saying yes to the needs of others (even my children) over my own needs and goals. All the tricks in the world, from accountability buddies to not breaking the habit chain, won’t work if you don’t have the discipline in yourself to keep plugging away, even when it feels hard. 

So, once you've realised what is holding you back, how do you take steps to move forward?

There is one key step that will make everything feel clearer.

TAKE ACTION.

Ok, it really is that simple. But it's really quite hard, too.

So, let's break that one big instruction down into something imminently more doable for you.

Take stock of right now


What have you achieved lately? Kept the house clean and kids fed in a relatively healthy manner? Written posts on social media? Used your sewing machine for the first time in over two years? Do you have a job that you keep showing up for? Do you have a volunteer role you keep showing up for? Do you keep showing up in your life?

Give yourself a pat on the back!

Go you!

Celebrate all those successes you have a chieved.

You rock!

Remember your purpose


You started this thing for a reason, so now is the time to dive deep and find your why again.

And "to make money" is not a good enough why.

Money is just an object to buy things, an energy exchange that makes it possible to do other things.

Money is not a purpose. (It has taken many years to get this lesson into my husband's head, and he still isn't quite there.)

What will "having more money" bring to your life? Finally finishing that bathroom renovation you started a year ago? A Christmas holiday to visit family? Not having to scramble to buy school books at the start of the year?

Focus on that, the freedom that money can bring to your days.

Choose just one goal


Now that you're feeling all inspired and motivated, it's easy to think that you can take on the world. But the quickest way to fall into overwhelm again is to think you can do it all.

Focus on just one thing for now, and maybe brainstorm the next thing.

That's it. Just one thing.

Write it down. Journal what this one thing can bring to your life. Write about how it links to your purpose. Keep that in mind.

Break down the steps to reach the goal


This is where the action lies, in the steps you need to take to reach your goals.

If you need to take more than 4 steps, then your goal needs to be refined into smaller goals.

It's ok to have huge goals, but the quickest way to reach those goals is to create goals to reach them! I know, crazy, right?!

So, identify the steps you need to take to reach your goal. Write them down. Vision board them. Focus on the steps, and the goal.

Set yourself up for success


This is probably the most important part of achieving your goals, but it only struck me recently just how important it is.

When you're training a dog not to chew on shoes, the most important step is to make sure there are no shoes available for the dog to chew on.

You're setting the dog up to succeed at not chewing on shoes.

If your goal is to publish a blog post, and you first step is to research the topic, but you know that Pinterest can distract you, how can you set yourself up to succeed? Set a timer to only research for ten minutes? Don't use Pinterest, but look at Google instead (not as many pretty pictures to catch your eye)? What will help you write your blog post?

Take the next best step


First steps are overwhelming. We celebrate our kids milestones, all their firsts (and the lasts). But firsts can come with mental hurdles to overcome, so lets change the words we use.

Let's call it the next step.

Without any of the pressure of first.

What is the next step that is best to move you towards your thing?

Do that thing.

Once you've identified that, schedule the time to actually do the thing.

But, if you're like me, it's super-easy to ignore your scheduled thing in favour of giving in to the inertia, or letting someone else's thing take over, so I'm adding an extra layer to the appointment, and setting an alarm for 10 minutes prior, and setting myself up for success.

Then, I can do the thing, without ignoring it, because I've already set myself up to get it done.

Phew, it seems like  lot, doesn't it?

And that in itself can make it look overwhelming.

But if you remember these steps for each and every thing you do, eventually it becomes habit to look at your goals in this manner, and you keep moving forward.*

And now I can finally cross off "write blog post" off my to-do list!

* Please note here that just because I write the list does not mean I finally have my shit together. What I have worked out is that if I quiet the mean-girl voice in my head, then it is much easier to focus on these steps and do one thing at a time. For someone who derives a lot of self-worth from doing for others, eventually I have to become one of the others that I serve, but that's a story for another day.

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