Never Give Up! [BOOK EXCERPT]

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Should You Set Goals?

In a word: YES!

In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy offers us this: “When you define your goals, you give your brain something new to look for and focus on. It’s as if you’re giving your mind a new set of eyes from which to see all the people, circumstances, conversations, resources, ideas, and creativity surrounding you. With this new perspective (an inner itinerary), your mind proceeds to match up on the outside what you want most on the inside — your goal. It’s that simple. The difference in how you experience the world and draw ideas, people, and opportunities into your life after you have clearly defined your goals is profound.”

images in a book

There is absolutely no doubt that having goals for your self-publishing journey has tremendous benefits for you. Words of caution when you set your goals: always keep in mind that there are elements you can control, and things that you cannot control. For example, you do not have control over the number of visitors you get to your author site, e.g. “It’s my goal to have 5,000 visitors per month to my site.” But, you do have control over the number of pages (or words) you can write, e.g. “It’s my goal to write 1,000 words every day.”

When you set your goals, focus on the things you do have control over.


  • I write 1,000 words every day.
  • I contact 3 bloggers every week in respect of guest blogging.
  • I submit 1 Press release to online publicity sites every month.

Another fatal goal to set is a goal for the amount of money you’ll make. You have zero control over this.

What is your reason for setting a goal?

We generally set goals because we are unhappy with where we are, either in life, our job, or a relationship. As Og Mandino says, “People don’t change when they feel good. They change when they’re fed up. When things are going all right, we all tend to do pretty much what we’ve been doing. Pain pushes us to those crucial turning points. We hurt, then we finally choose. It’s that adverb finally. Enough is enough!”

  • What is your self-publishing goal?
  • Do you want to become a full time self-published author?
  • Do you want to self-publish your books part-time, and earn an extra income?
  • Do you want to self-publish, with the idea of being discovered by a traditional publisher?

Whatever your goal is, you need to be clear on what it is you want. Then you put the process in place to work towards that goal, through persistence, determination, and focus.

Animals function on instinct. They sleep, eat and procreate. That’s it.

We humans have a thinking ability. And it is with this thinking ability that we have the urge to achieve something better. But we are also an inherently lazy creature, and we tend to have a resistance to effort.

Goals help keep us motivated

When we have something to aim at, something we achieve, we usually become excited. Think of going to your favorite restaurant. While you’re getting ready, you can almost smell and taste your meal, and you are excited. It is no different when you have a goal to aim at, and this is especially relevant if you have a life goal. Each milestone that you reach, increases your excitement, i.e. your motivation. Especially, think of when you go on holiday. What is your level of excitement just prior to leaving on holiday, and to what level does this excitement rise shortly before leaving? And then as you progress on your journey? Using the holiday example, this excitement keeps rising the nearer you get to your destination.

Goals undoubtedly give us direction. To help me keep my momentum (and motivation) going, I create an e-cover of the book I’m working (often it’s not the final cover), and then print a copy that I paste on the wall in my study. I look at this often, and it helps me to keep going. I also have a photo on my vision board of me and the covers of all the books I plan to write.

Successful people are goal orientated

Whatever your definition of success is, you will find it difficult to reach that level of success without goals.

If you don’t have a target, the arrow will hit nothing.

It is very important to remember that goals are not static. As our circumstances change, it is inevitable that our goals change. The goals you had when you left school are very different to your goals ten years after school. Similarly, after marriage and children come along, your goals once again change. It is important to remember that when your circumstances change, review and, where necessary adapt your goals. The golden rule of setting your goals is to remain on your goal path.

Using a map for our holiday

It is usual for us to consult a map when we go on holiday, and yet, sadly, for the holiday of life, we don’t consider consulting a map for this important journey. And when we don’t reach our destination, we become frustrated and annoyed. Yet, when we go on holiday without a map, and we get lost we similarly get annoyed. And yet, this is something we don’t repeatedly do. Your goals, and especially your goal path, is your map for your life.

Having goals, or at the very least, a goal, will enable you to know where you’re going in life. Goals do give us direction.

Thomas Edison is well-known for saying he didn’t fail, but found 10 000 ways it didn’t work. He had thousands of attempts over many years to invent the electric light bulb, but he knew exactly what he wanted, and his goal kept him going until he achieved it.

If you want proof that goal setting works, and is valuable in your life, think of sportsmen and women. They are one of the best examples of having determination in not only setting, but also achieving their goals. Athletes don’t become record holders by chance – it is only through effective goal setting (and persistence). Top sales people work consciously at their goals, and as result become star performers.

Every person who becomes successful in whatever field or area they choose followed a goal path – a map to achieve their success.

Role of an effective goal setting system

If you have a dream, and want to achieve something better in life, having a goal can bring you success. Becoming a self-published author is no different.

An effective goal setting system must get you on your road to success. It should also give you the tools to enable you to gain confidence in reaching your goal. There are many books and programs available that can help you set your goal. It is my belief that anyone can set a goal, but the important thing is to reach your goal.

An effective goal setting system should be a blueprint, and enable you to determine where you want to go with your life, and be an aid to keeping you on your goal path.

Having a goal, success is possible. Without goals, success is rarely possible – whatever area in your life.

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Do you set goals with your writing and self-publishing? What do you struggle with when setting goals? Let me know in the comments below.

Author: Colin Dunbar

Colin Dunbar is the owner of The Complete Self Publisher and shares his many years of experience in writing and self-publishing. If you enjoyed this article, please share it :o)

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