The other day, I spent five minutes writing down every reason why I believe I cannot double my income or achieve my goals as a writer. My fingers flew over that keyboard, as beliefs I didn’t know I had practically tripped over each other to get onto the page.
Writers are just poor.
I don’t have good ideas for freelance articles.
I don’t know how to pitch ideas to editors.
I’m not dedicated enough.
On and on and on.
It’s a wonder I accomplished anything at all in 2011, and I bet if you did a similar exercise, no matter what your goal is you’d find a lot of ingrained and false beliefs, too.
And yet, I have specific things I want to accomplish in 2012. I want to publish an article or two in a national magazine or publication. I want to write the first draft of a novel-length work. But simply stating those goals, much like stating a New Year’s resolution, doesn’t exactly set myself up for success.
Because as soon as I vow to send out so many pitches a week, I get overwhelmed. It becomes a rule I have to follow, or a routine I need to escape. (Kind of like running 5 times a week… ha!) It’s why I don’t set New Year’s resolutions, even though I crave the opportunity to hit the reset button and renew my goals at the start of the new year.
So what if we think about it differently? Instead of making our resolutions the goals, what if we make resolutions to combat those ugly little beliefs that hold us back? What if we turn our obstacles into opportunity, and find outside resources to help us do it?
Here’s what that looks like for me: I signed up for an 8-week course on generating ideas and pitching them, where I’ll get direct feedback from an experienced freelancer. If I think I suck at those things, I’m getting training in them.
If I get offered a writing gig that doesn’t pay, I’ll politely say no. I found a worksheet that helped me calculate my hourly rate–a rate I need in order to live comfortably, and unless it’s a gig that will increase my exposure significantly, I’m sticking to it.
Because the truth is that I know how to write. I know how to get up every day and write at least a little something. But I want more than that. I want to take that writing and give it every possible chance to reach readers… and be my livelihood. So why let myself get in my own way? Why let yourself get in your own way?
So, what beliefs hold you back from your dreams? And what can you do to change that?