Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest. – Newton’s First Law of Motion
Think about this: You have an idea for a book. Maybe it’s a nonfiction book aimed at building your business, a how-to book teaching others something you’ve mastered, or even an influential book on a topic you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s a fiction book with thoughts and ideas fighting to get down on paper, characters just waiting to be introduced to the world…whatever it is, you think about it often, but haven’t yet taken that first step.
An object at rest tends to stay at rest.
This is what we call procrastination. When we procrastinate, we have no forward motion. But the good news is that once we take that first step, we have motion. And once we have motion, it’s easier to stay in motion, i.e., momentum.
An object in motion tends to stay in motion.
So the first step is to figure out what needs to be done to reach your goal. If it’s completing a book, then the steps to completing that book need to be clearly broken down. Do you have research that needs to be done, outlining to do, character sketches to create? Once you’ve made a list of all the small steps that need to be taken, add each step into your calendar. Schedule time each day to spend on a task and treat it as an important appointment you can’t break.
For instance, when I’m working on a book, getting started on the early writing is the hardest part--the beginning. It’s an area where I’ll procrastinate and fiddle with my outline incessantly instead of getting started—if I let myself.
Instead, what I’ve learned is that if I schedule time into my day, I can push through the procrastination, take the first step, and next thing I know I have forward motion. That motion then motivates me to want to do more. Now I have momentum.
But writing a book can be a long project, and things are bound to happen along the way to break up that momentum. Next thing you know, you have a day or two or three where you miss that writing appointment you made with yourself and before you know it you’ve lost your momentum. Next thing you know have a stack of unfinished manuscripts sitting in a drawer.
It’s a fact of life, unexpected events are bound to get in our way at some point or another, but there is a way to stay on track even in the midst of upheaval and interruption. And that’s what I call the Good, Best, Better Method.
Here’s how it looks:
On Sundays I set daily tiered goals. For instance, each day of the week I schedule a Good, Better, and Best goal in regard to writing, and as long as I reach the “good” goal, I’m on track to finish my book within deadline.
Good: 15 minutes writing. If I can get 15 minutes done today, then I’ll be in a good place.
Better: 30 minutes writing. Now, if the day and writing is going well, then I’ll shoot for 30 minutes, which will put me in an even better place.
Best: 1 hour or more writing. This is my ideal goal, but if I don’t make this goal, I’m okay with it because I know I’m still on track by meeting my “good” or “better” goals.
Of course, I always shoot for the “best” tier, but by having tiered goals like this, there’s room to allow for life to happen without missing the mark completely and halting the momentum. As long as I get at least 15 minutes of writing in every day, then I know I’ll complete my book within my deadline. Anything above and beyond that just puts me in an even better position.
The trick is to keep the momentum going by putting work into your book every single day. Once that momentum is broken, it’s a lot harder to get it going again. If you make your “good” goal something you can achieve even on your busiest days, then you’ll have a better chance of staying the course.
1. Break your project down into small, manageable steps.
2. Schedule those steps into your calendar with a good, better, best tier.
3. Strive for your “best” goal but meet your “good” goal no matter what.