I’m currently on my annual ‘sabbatical’ in New York City, hence the lack of posting lately. I will be back in New Zealand at the end of August and will start taking bookings for new clients sometime next week.
When I’m away, I spend some of my time doing creative things that are unrelated to my job. I’m currently reading a book about writing fiction* and one of the messages in the book struck me as something relevant to psychology and got me thinking about some ideas that I wanted to share.
The first writing exercise in the book was to write a personal statement to the effect of “I will succeed at my writing” and the sample wording was
“Today I will resolve to take my writing seriously, to keep going and never stop, to learn everything I can, and make it as a writer.”
I think the message of “I resolve to take my goal seriously” is important and that people can overlook it.
To me “I resolve to take my goals seriously” also translates to “I resolve to take myself seriously” or “I resolve to take my life/choices seriously”.
Sometimes its useful to be reminded to take yourself seriously as someone who can potentially do the thing you want to do. And, take seriously that you are person who is making choices on a daily basis about the direction of your life. This is not a dress rehearsal, and you are not a puppet that has someone else pulling the strings/making the choices!
So my challenge to you, lovely reader, is to think about one of your goals (e.g. “I want to reduce my anxiety” or “I want to have a happier relationship” or “I want to do less avoidant coping“) and to resolve to take the goal seriously.
If you’re a woman, try picking a goal that is not about changing your body.
“Show Don’t Tell”
Another constantly said maxim from the world of creative writing is “Show Don’t Tell”.
In creative writing this means you should show rather than tell the reader that a character possesses a particular quality by writing about behaviour that demonstrates that quality.
Applied to this context, ask yourself what behaviour would “show” that you are taking your goal seriously?
Bullet point 5 behaviours
– I identified and sourced the best books on how to achieve my goal
– I attempt to sort well founded information on the subject from less well founded information
– I found people who have achieved what I want to achieve and I am finding out in detail how they did it.
– I am finding ways of getting external feedback (e.g. having a tutor read your writing and giving you specific suggestions on how you could improve it)
– When I experience self doubt, I think about the most helpful thing to do next rather than mindlessly fall into avoidant coping .
– I include in my life some time when I am not exhausted that I spend working on my goal
* The book is called Plot and Structure, and I think its excellent for people who are interested in creative writing. And no, I’m not planning on giving up psychology to try to become a novelist! These creative pursuits I do on sabbatical are because I enjoy being a well rounded person.