Facing the Enemy: Vital Steps Toward Success

“I could see him on the three-inch viewer, sitting on a ragged couth, feet on the edge of a wooden utility spool coffee table. He appeared to be alone, a beer in his right hand, his left hand in his lap and partially hidden from view. You hiding something under there, big guy? 

Hovering in the damp air around the front porch, just above the sweet, sick scent of trash and empty beer cans, was the aroma of something synthetic like superglue and Styrofoam. 

I triggered off the safety, then tapped on the front door. ” 

This excerpt from Amanda Kyle Williams’ novel, “The Stranger You Seek” (which I highly recommend) illustrates one of the reasons we love suspenseful tales. The protagonist, knowing the risky nature of her actions, takes them anyway. Why? Because her mission requires them. We cheer the heroine on, living vicariously through her trials and successes, hopefully gaining not only entertainment, but inspiration.

When I tell people I’m a writer, I’m often asked, “What do you do about writer’s block?” “I’m writing a book, too…but it’s so hard to sit down and write,” is also common. Rather than go into lengthy explanatory responses, I usually say something like, “I have my challenges…luckily those aren’t mine.” (I actually don’t even believe in writer’s block, but I’ll save that for another post…)

Regardless of what our goals our, reaching them requires maximizing on our strengths and facing our challenges/obstacles and weaknesses head on. How boring would a suspense novel be if the FBI agent, sensing danger, dashed home to distract herself via Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo! News rather than pursue it?

I personally face a struggle almost every darn night. SLEEP.  It’s taken me years to come to terms with the fact that sufficient sleep is A, necessary and B, damaging to go without it. And if I don’t turn in early most evenings, I won’t have the early-morning gusto to bring to the page each day. Rather than whine about it (okay, I may whine a little…), I challenged myself to rest more often, read a great book by renowned sleep expert Dr. Matthew Edlund, REST: Why Sleep Alone is Not Enough and began changing my sleeping habits—not because I thought it would be fun, but because my success as a writer and my overall wellbeing depend on it.

And simply by posting my sleep goals here, stating them “aloud” for others to see, I’m increasing my chance for success. A Yale study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews showed that people who share their goals and goal-reaching updates with friends are 33% more likely to accomplish them.

So…yep. You guessed it. I’d like you to share your goals here. You are the protagonist in your own life. What challenges stand between you and your goals? What are you willing to do to surpass them?