Following the dream of publishing a book – a goal setting case study

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Today we would like to bring to your attention one very telling example. We want to share with you the story of someone who got inspired by “GoalBuddy” and with the help of it will soon release her first book.

She had this unique circumstance to get into it without a Buddy or much of a vision either. Not even 90-day goals were employed but just small actions on a regular basis.

How it all started

Milena joined our team a year ago. She had little experience as a copywriter. Her educational background was marketing, and it was long since childhood when she had any feeling for the written word.

Still, she fit well in the position and thus became responsible for creating some very good and interesting content for our website. But later something else, apart from excellence and confidence, happened.

What looked like a career opportunity to develop professional expertise soon transpired into something greater – a cause.

The brainwave moment

The thing that made all the difference for Milena was our ikigai podcast.

Many people were already sharing with us how simple and easy it was for them to learn this most important thing about themselves after hearing the old Japanese story. Milena was no exception. She too was able to name this one thing that answered the four questions:

  • What am I good at?
  • Do I love it?
  • Would people appreciate it?
  • Can I make a living out of it?

If you can pinpoint this one thing it will show you which way to go in your life.

To her great surprise writing was the answer.

“And why not…”

This idea gradually formed and kept growing until it finally crystallized into a vision.

However, the realization what one wants in life brings in a great deal of change in seeing and understanding the world around. This new sense is sharper and far going when it is applied to our dreams.

The seed has already sprouted in her mind.

What came next was…

…the moment to act

Life, though, had already something in store for and didn’t let her brood on it for too long.

And one evening it just happened – she simply made up a nice bedtime story for her little boy. In the morning she sat down and wrote it in just half an hour.

Then she emailed it to a couple of friends who read it to their kids. What came back was more than a glowing “review” – “Great story! My kids loved it. You should publish it!”

The birth of a goal

It didn’t take much of convincing herself and she decided it was after all worth giving it a shot. There was no vision at this moment but only the support of her friends which was apparently more than enough for her to come up with the goal for publishing her first children’s story.

Since she has never done that before she set it up as a test-run to see if it would amount to anything at all.

Just do it!

People, in general, can easily get stuck when they are not sure how to approach a given situation. That’s why we always suggest this:

You should do the 90-day try-outs in order to find out whether this thing that excites you at the moment is truly your thing.

Of course, there is a “but” here.

Different approaches

We’ve come a long way creating and perfecting the application of our “GoalBuddy” system. Once we took care of the major visions for our lives we focused on developing best strategies such as the 90-day goals coupled with their corresponding weekly steps. Generally speaking, we were tackling first the biggest challenges first and then we moved to what seemed like the smaller ones.

But the real-life experiences of many people convinced us that the opposite is also relevant:

Making “baby steps”

It works better for those who don’t have yet a clear vision but feel the need to act right away.

Therefore, in a case like that, we strongly advise that you do as Milena did – make your first step and keep doing that week after week. In that way, you will be able to witness how your quarterly goals begin taking shape and eventually a well-defined objective would spring out of it.


Milena put into practice this one very helpful idea that she has learned from our goal setting system – when you do not know how exactly to proceed, then you should go on a discovery expedition of sorts.

The very first thing she did was to spend a week of meeting and learning from people who were well versed in the subject. She also researched on the internet and eventually the picture of how her words can make it all the way from her laptop to the store shelves emerged.

The bigger steps

Another rule that she followed to the letter was no less crucial. She was first deciding on one small step each week but would give it a final formulation only after it was completed.

And then things started falling into their places.

After familiarizing herself with the most relevant aspects of the publishing process, she looked for professional feedback. She found an editor and under their support she re-worked the manuscript into its final version.

Being on a roll

She came up with an idea about the illustrations and chose an artist who would make those. They worked together to detail the project in all its aspects: style, type, size, paper, number of pages, etc.

A self-publishing platform was chosen as well as several printing shops to get a general estimate of the two available options: signing with a house or going solo.

Right now the whole project is at a stage when some minor changes are being made to the prototype of the book and it soon will be ready for a presentation to a couple of publishing houses.

There was so much that she was up against.

Challenge №1: What would others …

This is only a natural reaction to the opinion of those around us when we first start pursuing our dreams. We weren’t spared either when we were at the very beginning of our system.

Often, being conscious of an outside criticism people settle with something like a hobby instead of openly and decisively to get on with realizing their bigger aspirations. The reasoning behind this could be quite different but in the end, it’s all up to you.

Nobody else but you is responsible for setting your priorities

It’s a powerful instinct of ours that we try to conform to the norm and we measure our own success and status by what is forced on us by the social environment. As a result, we may lose sight of what is far more important – to be able to make progress the way we see fit as well as to know how best to achieve our objectives.

Don’t be afraid of openly discussing your aspirations

The bigger the circle of people you share with, the better. It is Milena`s own admission that she couldn’t have made such progress so far if she hadn’t talked to as many people as possible throughout the whole process.

She got back not only goodwill and encouragement but also much good advice as well as contacts and many practical suggestions. Here are some of these:

  • One friend of hers who had gone down that road suggested a specific self-publishing platform;
  • Another person provided her with some insider information about this business;
  • A third one, who works in printing, listed for her many important details about the optimal parameters of the book body;
  • Her sister, who was studying animation, told her about the trends in children’s books and suggested how to include an interactive element to it;
  • And most importantly, a close friend not only decided to create the illustrations but also to get involved in the project including the financial part of it.

You never know what turn things would take. So, don’t keep it yourself when it comes to dreams and aspirations.

Challenge №2: Overdoing it with the weekly steps

From the very start, Milena devised a step of the “domino” type. It was about creating comprehensive research of the entire process. She also contacted several publishing firms and finalized a specification for the illustrator. And all of this was done in just one week.

However, on a Sunday evening, it struck her – she did it but the price was high. She couldn’t do anything else that same week.

A very common mistake

That’s not unusual and occurs almost always after we finally embark on something that was for a long time our well-hidden dream.

We get over our fears and this becomes the tipping point when all the potential energy in us is released. However, we can easily get carried away in the spur of that moment. Being entirely focused on this one thing that took over us, is actually quite bad for the rest of our responsibilities in life.

There is a simple rule of how to avoid this.

Just one step

At the heart of it is to assign only one step for any of the goals covering those aspects of your life that you deem a top priority. Once you’ve done that you have to strictly abide by the rule and complete them all. Only after that, and if you feel like it, you can do some extra work. However, and without trying to dampen your enthusiasm, we have to remind you that a balanced work-load is a top virtue when it comes to how we manage our week.

Let’s address now the next challenge.

№3 No Goal Buddy by your side

Milena had trouble finding a person that would play that role. That’s a real possibility even for someone like her who knows in-and-out the workings of our system.

Still, she has found an ingenious way to outflank this issue.

A Buddy for one specific purpose

The same friend who created the drawings become that one. Though not aware of her role as a “Buddy” this person was the right choice. The two of them were on the same page on various issues and made a good team.

We have noticed for a while how this can work perfectly well in most cases. It isn’t easy to find the person that can foot the bill for any type of objective while it is much quicker and practical to do as Milena did.  And who knows – maybe this “temp” Buddy would get the promotion into a full-time one!

Regardless of what you may call it, the person we partner with can propel the whole endeavor into a completely different experience, a much more positive and successful one.

Challenge №4: Not all steps were well thought out

Milena is first to point out that some of her efforts were somehow wasteful. For example, buying a domain name and setting up a website to do promotion of her work.

Nothing wrong with the step per se but the problem was of timing. Even if it triggered a whole series of other actions it wasn’t the right moment for it.

To put it in other words, it was simply beyond the scope of the main goal.

Learning on the fly

What Milena accomplished proves again and clearly that when you have no idea how to proceed you’d better aim at a step that logically follows your progress so far. It would at least consolidate what you’ve achieved so far and thus will be of some value in the end.

Sure, she had some missteps too.

№5 Too small of an effort

One such was the idea “to make a list of publishers which are to be contacted.”

Given the fact that there were only two of them which she was already aware of… This step was nothing more than giving her the false consolation that she was actually doing something and not sitting on her hands. The trick is something else though:

Don’t lose the initiative

No matter how small the planned activities for the week might be, you have to do it. Otherwise, you risk cutting off the momentum, get distracted and even find yourself completely off track. But don’t fool yourself – make sure you work in such a manner that you are not spinning your wheels.

Of course, Milena hit the bulls-eye more than a couple of times.

The one step she appreciated most

It was also the most exciting one. At first, it seemed like a cakewalk. Just as we like to point out – there is no reason for things always to be that hard.

She put it down as “to go and check out some bookstores with my friend, the artist, and brainstorm some ideas about the look of the book.” They did that and it only confirmed that the two of them were a perfect match for the project.

The last leg of the journey

The book is yet to come out. Things are going their way well and at an even pace. The work done so far doesn’t look as intimidating as it seemed at first and nowadays Milena feels great about it.

There is no way to know in advance what the road ahead will be like before you get on it. It may just turn out that your goal is much closer than you expected.

Isn’t it a bit strange how there those who dream all their lives of writing a grand story and yet, they never get to do it? If that’s going on with you then maybe you should think about it again, especially if you are already in possession of two things – a burning desire for it and a great system for achieving goals.

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