Chasing Two Rabbits

There’s an old proverb – the origins are unclear – that says if a hunter tries to chase two rabbits, both will escape.

Hello again from Starr, guest editor of The Writer’s Life this week. We’re right in the middle of the week – a holiday week, no less – and I want to talk to you today about keeping your focus once you have your goals for 2013 firmly in mind.

The impossibility of chasing two rabbits is so obvious. But sometimes, that theory gets lost when it comes to goals.

After all, if you’re an aspiring copywriter – or even a well-established one – you are probably a big dreamer. No doubt, you want to make a lot of things happen in your life. It’s hard to be patient because you want it all, and you want it now.

For example, a freelancer might be tempted to set contradictory goals. Well, that amounts to a lot of rabbits going in different directions. And it’s physically impossible to chase them all. Don’t set yourself up for failure with this common misstep.

Here are some tips for keeping your focus …

  • Don’t set opposing goals. If you work full time and are starting a copywriting business on the side, you are making a serious time commitment. This is not the time to set the goal of spending more time with your family. That may be WHY you are pursuing your own business, but there are only so many hours in the day right now. Keep your goals aligned with each other.
  • Track your progress. Set up a spreadsheet to record what you are doing and the results. You need to know in black and white where you stand. Vague ideas and “what you are hoping for” are not reality. Know your numbers.
  • Reassess as necessary. The path to success is rarely a straight line. You won’t always know what works until you try, so there are bound to be some setbacks. Recognize them and deal with them. They’re not failures. They’re OFIs – opportunities for improvement!
  • Be accountable. You don’t have to keep your goals to yourself. Share them with people who will support you and give you feedback. It will keep you going when you need a boost.
  • Build in rewards. Some goals take longer to reach, so break them down. When you hit a particular milestone in reaching that goal, give yourself a reward. Feeling successful feeds your motivation, so celebrate small victories.

Think about those rabbits and focus on which one is important to you. And if you have any favorite ways that help you keep your focus, please feel free to share them here.

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Published: December 26, 2012

2 Responses to “Chasing Two Rabbits”

  1. You are spot on! Keeping it simple when you get started or set goals not only keeps you from chasing tons of rabbits, it makes you feel like you made PROGRESS. A bunch of tasks that are only 5% completed doesn't allow for much hope, but one that is 95% complete does! Good post!

    Guest (Tom Watson)

  2. Once again a timely an true article! For me being new to this business it is very easy to be distracted and want to try this or try that. So as another saying goes, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I read, and apply.
    How do I (try)stay focused? Write the goal everyday. Listen to the master in my truck, or as I cook. This is only two ways.


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