Has writing a book been on your bucket list for years?

Would you like 2018 to be the year of change? The year that you make it happen and finish your bestseller?

Last year, on almost a daily basis, aspiring authors got in touch with me from around the world. They all had one thing in common – they wanted to write and publish a book. They booked meetings with me and joined my email list – enthusiastic about their book ideas.


But, do you know how many of them went on to actually write and publish a book?

The answer is simply a handful.

The remaining people, for one reason or another, didn’t make it happen. This can be for all sorts of reasons… procrastination, a lack of confidence, conflicting priorities, and let’s face it sometimes life just gets in the way.

I can wholeheartedly relate. In 2017 I was going to write my second book, but I was so busy helping other people to become authors that I didn’t have the time to concentrate on my own project.

Looking for ways to make my second book a reality in 2018, I came across a book called The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney and Sean Covey.

The book doesn’t only focus on setting goals – something that anyone can do. It focuses on what you need to do in order to achieve your goals – how to execute them.

The four disciplines:

Discipline #1. Focus on the Wildly Important

When we set goals we often have the tendency to write a big long list. Lots and lots of goals. The issue here is that if you have lots of goals, ultimately, you end up achieving very few of them – the focus just isn’t there.

Instead, you should only focus on the really important goals, as the book puts it – the ‘wildly important’ goals.

Prioritize your goals. Ask yourself, do I really want to achieve this in 2018 or is this a ‘nice to have’ goal that could be saved for a future wish list? Remove any goals that are not wildly important and keep only the goals, or goal, that you simply must achieve in 2018.

For aspiring authors, the goal to ‘become a published author’ is not specific enough. There are so many steps involved in becoming a best-selling author that you can lose focus. The most important step and the biggest challenge you’re facing is writing the book, therefore, your wildly important goal should be to ‘write a book.’ The publishing and marketing aspects will follow at a later stage. Keep focused on your primary goals, a few at a time, to become an author using a logical, step-by-step process.

Discipline #2: Act on the Lead Measures

When it comes to setting goals it’s important to measure your progress.

There are two things you can measure – lag measures and lead measures.

A lag measure benchmarks the ultimate goal that you are trying to accomplish. Let’s say for example your ultimate goal is to lose 5kg in weight. A lag measure would be measuring your weight on the weighing scales.

Every time you stand on your scales you will see an immediate reading – your weight at that point in time. This is important, as it means you are tracking your progress, but at that point in time there is nothing that you can do about it. You weigh what you weigh! It is called a lag measure because it is related to the past.

On the other hand, a lead measure is proactive and leads to the accomplishment of your ultimate goal. For example, sticking with weight loss, the lead measure could be that you will go to the gym 3 times per week or do 30 minutes of cardio every day. It is something you can measure on a regular basis that adds up to achieving your goal.

Your focus should be on your lead measures.

For aspiring authors, I recommend two lead measures in particular;

  1. Have a fixed number of minutes that you will dedicate to your book every day
  2. Have a fixed word count that you want to achieve – for example, you will write 500 words every day

Discipline #3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

Your scoreboard should track your lead measures and can be as simple as a table. For example, you can track how many minutes you’ve spent on your book each day, how many chapters you’ve finished, or how many words you’ve written.

A scoreboard is a great tool as it is visual and something that you will see daily. It will inspire you to take action consistently and motivate you to keep your word count up.

Personally, my scoreboard is on the desk that I work at every day, but yours could sit by the coffee machine or hang on the wall.

You can have your scoreboard anywhere; the most important thing is that it’s somewhere prominent so it will inspire you to keep going every day.

Discipline #4: Create a Cadence of Accountability

Accountability is a rigid wall that you build around yourself that will keep you focused on achieving your ultimate goals.

When I wrote my first book I created multiple layers of accountability. From sharing with all of my friends on Facebook that I was writing a book to finding an accountability partner who was also an aspiring author. We met weekly to compare progress and share our experiences. This was the motivation I needed to keep writing and finish my book.

At Happy Self Publishing we assign a book coach to the authors that we work with. Book coaches provide support in many areas and overall they provide accountability.

Accountability will push you to achieve your goals.

To Conclude

I highly recommend that you follow this system in 2018. In fact, I really recommend reading the book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney and Sean Covey.

My offer of help

I would love to jump on a call with you if you are interested in becoming an author in 2018. I’d like to understand what you do, why you want to write a book, and how it’s going to help you grow your business. Together we will develop a game plan that you can print out and refer to every day, as a motivational reminder to help you achieve your goals. If you would like to book a call with me just click here. <www.happyselfpublishing.com/scheduler>

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Having read about these disciplines a few years ago for work, I was familiar with the concept, but I loved the reminder. These four disciplines of execution are the fastest way to achieve any goal, but I think it does especially apply to being an author. Great points here. Lag measures equal the things that we can use to measure progress, but have no direct control over. The lead measures are the things we can control and actually do to improve upon the lag.

    The major factor in writing a book is taking consistent action steps to outline, write, edit, publish, and market. It is an exhausting process that can’t be done overnight. But if we act on the lead measures and work on the book for a determined amount of time daily, we can get it done eventually.

    And of course, having a scoreboard to track progress, and staying accountable round it all out.

    Thanks for sharing these principles and for reminding me to incorporate them into any goal I want to reach.

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