On Achieving Goals (or “Just Fucking Write”)

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I was talking to a friend recently about meeting deadlines and he said something that hit home:

“Just fucking write.”

No matter what your profession that same statement is relevant. Just replace “write” with whatever it is you want to do.

If you’ve ever read War of Art by Steven Pressfield or On Writing by Stephen King (both highly recommended) you know they say the same thing. Maybe with a little more tact. ;)

Sit down with a goal in place and don’t stop writing until you reach that goal.

If that means it takes you all day, so be it. If everything’s flowing and it takes 30 minutes, great. The point is to make it happen.

If you’ve always wanted to write a novel and have dragged your ass, National Novel Writing Month is coming up in November.

Leo Babauta at Write To Done has written a great blog post detailing how to get that novel written.

What do his tips boil down to?

Just fucking write.

No matter what you want to do in life you can always make an excuse not to do it.

Instead, why not make an excuse to do it?

10 years ago I remember listening to a Robert Allen audio program and he was discussing success mindset. The difference in mindset between being successful at something and being unsuccessful is subtle.

An unsuccessful person will state “I can’t achieve X.”

If we tell ourselves something is impossible it’s going to be difficult to plow past that negative statement.

A successful person, on the other hand, asks “How can I achieve X?”

See the difference?

Declare a statement and that’s that.

Reframe the statement as a question and you’ve set yourself up to create success.

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{ 23 comments }

Mac

This is so true, I follow this mindset very much. I have my challenges in my life but I tend to always find a way to do the things I want to do.

The problem is when the stereotype is on you that you don’t have to succeed then you think it’s ok to fail because everyone accepts that failure because your “disabled” or whatever.

Much similar if your not successful and your suppose to be.

Here is a great link to a blog that will explain why people make excuses.

http://smallhandsbigideas.com/health/balloon-boy-and-a-history-of-hypocrisy/

Karol

Hey Mac,

Thanks for commenting. What determines whether you’re “supposed to be” successful or not? Shouldn’t that be determined by us as individuals and not outside forces?

And it is OK to fail. I actually encourage it. ;) Fail fast, fail often.

Karol

Nicky

Man, I’ve been trying to get our blog going at Tumble Design for weeks now. I have a list of articles I want to write and keep rationalizing my way into working on other things. It’s all nonsense; I just need to fucking write.

-Nicky

Karol

yeah man, just gotta do it :)

Harry - GoalsOnTrack

Great post. Massive action, that’s all it takes to accomplish your goals.

Karol

Hi Harry,

Thanks! Yes, massive focused action. :)

Karol

John Bardos - JetSetCitizen

I think I am going to make a hang a poster in front of my computer that says,
“Just fucking write.”

You can’t get any more succinct than that!

It seems that so many people are looking for short cuts to success. Posts likes this are a good reminder that everyone at the top of their fields did it through hard work.

Karol

Hey John,

Thanks for stopping by!

I like your poster idea. :)

Karol

Christine Simiriglia

I’m a procrastinator by nature… a fairly successful person in spite of my procrastination, but a procrastinator just the same. I’ve been working on carving out time for writing and doing nothing but during that time. I have a piece about licking procrastination here: http://organize-more-stress-less.squarespace.com/home/2009/8/30/licking-procrastination-in-21-days.html .
Thanks for the great post. I really does boil down to “just do it”.

Karol

Hi Christine,

Thanks for sharing your post! I have a post about procrastination coming up Tuesday. ;)

Karol

Ictus75

Good solid advice here. It always comes down to the simple things, like “just do it.” For writing, write every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. The more you write, the more it becomes a ‘habit’ and soon you just find yourself doing it naturally, as a part of your day. I’ve completed 2 books so far this year and am working on 3 others. I make it a point to write, setting time aside for it, but also write when I have downtime or am between things. You’d be amazed how much you can get done.

Karol

Thanks for your thoughts Ictus75!

Adam Crain

There’s a saying I’ve hear on construction sites from my contractors, “J.F.D.”, or Just Fucking Do it. No excuses, no time wasting, just get to it.
Even ran into a guy who had incorporated as JFD Consulting, LLC. hah.

excellent blog, very motivational.

Karol

hehe, thanks for sharing Adam. :) I’ve never heard JFD but JFD Consulting is my new favorite company name. :)

Trish

My favorite new quote, from The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging:

‘Perfect’ is the enemy of ‘done’.

Words to live by!

Karol

Hi Trish,

Thanks, that’s awesome! :)

Karol

Chris

I had a chance to interview Steven Pressfield for the now defunct literary journal “The Means” (www.the-means.com), and I highly recommend “The War Of Art” to anyone struggling with any sort of artistic block. Even for literary giants like him, it gets tough when you’re really in the trenches; in those times where whatever ideas you have that motivated you at first now seem so far-fetched or illusory. His suggestion is to redouble your efforts and work through those times, hard as they may be. It’s metaphorically like a car at the bottom of a hill, you can either get stuck at the bottom or dedicate yourself to pushing even harder on the gas, retooling your engines, whatever it takes to overcome it. The easy way out is to give up and stay stranded, and that very Resistance (note the capital “R”. It’s a being, not a concept!) that feels so gravitational wants you to build a house at the trough and invite others to inhabit that space with you, to everyone’s detriment. Or you can overpower Resistance and reap the rewards of getting to the top of that proverbial hill, hitting your stride, see those who gave in to Resistance in your wake – maybe not immediately but somewhere down the line.

Whether it manifests itself in your writing, painting, your passion for photography, or whatever outlet you know you derive pleasure from, if for the time being the spark seemingly eludes you, the physical act of forcing yourself to sit down and continue to pursue your art will eventually yield results. It’s the veritable case of mind over matter.

-Chris

Karol

Hey Chris! I probably should’ve given you credit for turning me onto that book. :) I didn’t know about it until that interview in The Means.

Thanks for posting more detailed info about it. I recommend it to everybody, whether they’re “artists” or not because we’re all artists in some way really.

Karol

P.S. Everybody check out http://www.allcapspodcast.com (I may be a guest on there soon…Tanner?!)

J.Scott

With all my heart, I believe that this is the greatest blog post I have ever come across. It is becoming my “coffee” at the start of the day. I read it at least once a day for the past 3 days and every time it does the job of getting me writing. I have written 6 articles every day for the last 3 days, the max was 3 before I read this.
I guess I’m trying to say thank you for the kick in the ass each day.
love your blog by the way.

Karol

You’re welcome and thank you J!

That feels really good to know. :)

paurullan

How funny things are: it has been almost a year since this post and now I realize its meaning.

Things have gone from bad to worst at college and I am seriously considering dropping out; but now I can re-face the situation asking myself «what can I do to change all this?» instead of my usual «why can’t I do this?» or «what did I do so wrong?».

Ridiculously extraordinary mental freedom does not come in a day but thanks Karol for helping my doing baby steps.

Nicky Hajal

Hey man,

I dropped out of college 2 years ago. Amazing it’s been that long – it has been the best decision I ever made. But, I made it carefully and encourage you to do the same. If you’d like to talk about it, I’d be happy to discuss it with ya – @tumbledesign on twitter or nhajal at gmail.

To take “What can I do to change all this?” further, I might also ask:

“What, specifically, do I want to change?”
“What is the very next step I need to take to make one small change?”
“Do I believe I can take that step?”

Once you believe it, you just gracefully take action and make it happen.

Keep thinkin and do email if you’d like to discuss more!

-Nicky

Karol

Hey Pau!

Awesome that you’re looking at it in a different light. I’m not going to say to drop out, but if it’s not doing it for you there is no reason to continue.

Nicky: thanks man! You rule.

Cheers,
Karol

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