The new year is only five days away! Are you thinking about your goals for 2011? Here’s a little something to get you started.
How To Create A Great Story For Yourself
Beginning today, don’t just tell yourself you’re going to set a new goal. Do more. Think broader. Act bigger. If you want to live a great story, it will help to think like a writer and plan a great story that you really want to be a part of. So grab a pen, read on, and jot down a rough draft of your new storyline.
All great stories have three main parts:
1. The Characters. Yes, this is you! It may also involve others – family, friends, co-workers – but really, the focus needs to be on you. You can make goals for other people, but remember – the only person you can control is yourself. So write down what you want to see happening in your life. Losing weight, getting fit, finding a new job, giving more to others, finding the love of your life, surrounding yourself with great new friends – it can be anything. Focus on what you would like to add to your life story, and when you begin living it others will either follow suit or get out of your way.
2. The Setting. This is where your story will take place. Write down the specific location(s) you would like to see in your story. For example, in January I decided I wanted to get in shape. When I thought about getting fit, I saw myself running – on the treadmill, down the street, in a (gulp!) marathon. Later, when I’d signed up for the Nike Women’s half-marathon, I imagined myself running along the San Francisco Bay and watching the Golden Gate Bridge as I trained. It really got me excited and helped me overcome my fears and insecurities. So picture a place with your goal and you will begin to see it and feel it more deeply.
Also, think about the end result and where it will be and what it will look like. If your story includes paying off your credit cards, imagine sitting in your home office and looking at your bank statement that has a big fat zero on the Payment Due line. Imagine taking a trip to Hawaii with all the savings you didn’t have to spend on credit card and interest payments. Fix these settings into your mind and onto paper so that you can see them more clearly.
3. The Plot. I think this is the most important part of your story. Plot includes the action and events that take place in your story. It holds the conflict and the catalyst – the thing that causes an important event to happen. If your goal is to get in shape, then signing up for a marathon (actually entering your name, paying the fee, and telling others you’re doing it!) is your catalyst. It’s the point of no return, the place where you can’t back out because it’s just too difficult to turn back now. When I decided to write a book, the first catalyst I created was telling everyone that I was going to write a book. They kept asking how it was going and checking on me, so I made sure I kept writing! Then when my book was finished, I created another catalyst when I entered it into the RWA Golden Heart contest. I couldn’t turn back from there – I had to enter my manuscript because I’d paid the fees and signed up to judge others’ work.
So write down how you plan to live this new part of your story. Choose things that will make sure you can’t turn back – tell others of your plans, sign up and pay the fee, set up a direct deposit from your paycheck that puts the money away before you can spend it. Whatever it is that you want to add to your story, find a way to make sure it will happen and create that catalyst. It may sound scary now, but you’ll look back at it someday soon and be very thankful that you had the guts to do it.
Are you ready to live a great story? Ready to add a few more chapters that you’ll be proud to tell others about? Then go ahead and finalize this rough draft you created. Start living a great new chapter of your life story. I can promise you that it will change your life and add more meaning and fulfillment to the way you live.