What was I thinking? What had I agreed to? Writing a book was a VERY long ago given-up dream that I didn’t feel qualified for and wasn’t sure I wanted to do. But as I transcribed the interviews over the next six months, the idea sank in more deeply and I began to get excited about sharing the perspectives of “my” women in book form.
I know myself. I can set a nice goal, but when my time gets tight or other priorities come up, my inclination will be to let my “outside-my-box” goal slide. I knew that without a commitment, the book would never get written.
And so I committed. Yes, to the long-term goal of writing a book, but much more importantly, to a weekly goal of hours spent writing. Without this pledge, I would have lost my fervor. The whole project would have become a dreaded cloud of endless work toward something I would perhaps never finish. By committing to a set number of writing hours per week, my daily writing goal could flex with things that came up. When the goal was met, I was free to enjoy my time off without guilt, or I could choose to work more and build up hours so I’d have more free time the following week.
Committing to a long-term project requires that I go about designing my commitment in a sustainable way. This means that the goal must be realistic for my life, and that there is time left over for my other needs, including physical care, family and friend time, as well as leisure. Some of these are easy to incorporate, others, such as exercise, are more of a challenge.
That’s where having an accountability partner comes in. My accountability partner and I have the same number of goals of relatively similar difficulty, but which are not necessarily the same goals. We get a point for meeting each weekly goal and at the end of the month we reward ourselves by having the one with fewer points buy coffee for the one with more. If we’re tied, we go for a walk.
Accomplishing a big goal such as writing a book requires not only showing up and putting in the work, but also designing a sustainable system around your goal to help see you through.