Make Goals, Not Plans

“When man plans, God laughs.” Ironically, this is a lesson I learned from a random NPC in the game Persona 3. It really resonated with me for some reason. The more I thought over the quote, the more it made sense to me, and I realized why that phrase exists. Planning something raises your expectations. It makes you feel like whatever you’re planning is essentially a guarantee, but when it fails, it’s a huge demotivator. For me, at least.

Like, when you begin writing a book and you say “alright, so the characters are gonna do this and that and the book’s gonna be 300 pages long”, that’s planning. And while it’s alright to plan an outline, more often than not, unless your mind is like a one-way track, your book is going to stray from the original concept for 90% of the book. You start coming up with new, better ideas as you write, new ways to make things actually make sense. It’s okay to stray from the original concept. Honestly, I encourage it! Trying to write exactly what you’ve outlined stifles creativity, the fun part of writing. (Well, unless you’re the type who enjoys writing exactly what you’ve outlined, and in that case, kudos to you, because I can’t do that. All my books are improvised and I tie things together by accident.)

Instead of making plans, come up with short term and long term goals. Keep track of your progress, and this can apply to anything. Working out, getting enough sleep, creative projects, anything you want to work on, make goals. For example, you can make it a goal to write around 1,000 words today in your book. If you don’t make it, that’s fine! Even one word is progress. And that goes for anything else. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, right? When working out, maybe go for a minute longer than you did last time, or even 30 more seconds. When trying to sleep more, perhaps find a remedy that works for you. Is it music? Is it ambiance? Maybe try sleeping in different positions to see what is most comfortable for you.

Progress is progress, no matter how big or small. As long as you’re moving forward, one step at a time, you’re making progress. Be proud of yourself, and keep kicking ass like I know you can.

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