How to Get What You Want in Life/Taking action


Hey John,
I'll try to keep this brief: I'm terrible at time management. I have a lot of time and I'm really bad and dividing it up and focusing it where I need to be. For example, I want to become a writer but almost never get to the actual writing stage, mostly just finish out the plotting stage and put it in a huge folder of ideas. How do I go from someone who just wants things and thinks about things to someone who actually DOES something and takes action? I've heard a lot about "emotional leveraging" but I have a hard time feeling anything that really pushes me. Thanks.


First I would like to mention that there is really no such thing as “time management”.  That is probably one of the worst phrases ever coined.  You simply cannot manage time, it moves on at a very steady rate no matter what we do.  So give up the idea of managing time.  I think what you really mean is that you are poor at managing yourself.

Actually most people are rather poor at managing themselves.  By nature we are more inclined to do things that bring us instant gratification than to do things where the benefit is off in the future.  

Very few people actually have enough willpower or self-discipline to always do the things they should be doing that are in their long-term best interest.  It requires too much mental energy to keep our focus on the important things in life.  

In the self-help field, there is plenty of talk around having a strong reason why or a strong emotional attachment to some goal.  But often times it is difficult to generate a strong emotional attachment to something we should be doing.

Take eating the right foods or doing daily exercise.  We all know we should do a better job of eating the proper foods and doing a certain amount of exercise.  But the benefits are far off in the future and the cost is right now.  So we default to eating more comfort food and watching TV rather than exercising.

There is also something else going on with regard to writing.  Writing a book is a huge, overwhelming task.  We often have trouble getting our mind around the writing, editing, re-writing.  It just seems like an endless amount of work – so much that we often come to the conclusion that it is foolish to even start.

I would like you to do an exercise.  I want you to visualize that you have finished your book and you are holding a book signing party.  Picture where it is, who all is there and what’s the mood like.  It is best if you can close your eyes as you do this.  I want you to see and feel what would happen when you complete your book.  How does it feel?  Who all is there? What do they say to you?  Is everyone happy for you?  Take a few minutes and picture this party in as much vivid detail as possible.

What came up for you?  How did you feel?  Where you happy?  Excited?  Did you feel a sense of accomplishment?  Where there some people – friends and relatives who were there but were not happy for you?  

You might find that you are putting this off writing your book because you do not feel like you are an author.  Or some of your friends/relatives might not think you are capable and you are unduly influenced by their opinion.  I think it is very important that you try to understand what feeling might be coming up that is blocking you from finishing your book.

I assume the books you plan are fiction.  Have you ever encountered criticism about your writing?  I am talking about from a creative writing instructor or an English teacher.  Often when we experience emotional rejection, we unconsciously do things that prevent that happening again.  We do not want to go through that pain in the future so we will avoid the potential for success in order to ensure we escape the pain.

There are some techniques that allow you to make a better use of your time.  Instead of writing a book, develop a habit of writing a few minutes a day, each and every day.  It could be 15 or 30 minutes each and every morning.  It is best to designate a specific time – like first thing in the morning.  If you commit to writing for 15 to 30 minutes when you first wake up, before you get involved in any other activities, you should be able to stick to your writing.  When you do this, be sure to turn off all other distractions – your cell phone, message alerts, the TV, etc.  You can set an alarm and at the end of the designated time, you stop and engage in some other activity.  If you will do this, you should be able to complete 3 or 4 pages per day.  Before you know it you will have written a book.  But do not focus on writing a book. Keep the time commitment and the outcome small and you will avoid bringing up subconscious fears that may be currently blocking you.

If this seems too much, then start by writing short stories or essays.  The idea is to start with something small and build on it.

I hope this gives you something to work on.  One thing you need to bring to the task is positive expectation.  That is, you need to believe that you can and will get on the right path.  If you don’t believe you can, you will self-sabotage your efforts.

Please check back and let me know how you are doing.  


How to Get What You Want in Life

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John Chancellor


How to set and achieve goals, how to find your major purpose in life and the power of focused action. Why you need an emotional attachment to give you the drive necessary to achieve goals.


Coach and trainer. Author Lessons In Life.

Business degree, certified coach

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