The best thing for achieving a distant goal is ritual. It’s the drip, drip, drip approach that works miracles. Do a little bit each day, but every day, and have little rituals. For example, when I am writing a book, which tends to take about thirty days, I have all sorts of rituals. I make sure the layout of my desk is a certain way, that my dictionary is square, that the three pens are lined up, and the pile of notes are exactly where I always have them. I know a writer, he’s a close friend, who walks around his desk three times clockwise and then three times counter-clockwise, before sitting down. It’s calming, he says, and seems to soothe a primitive part of his mind that needs soothing before he engages in the challenging hours of creativity. Beyond that, never overdo it. I write about 3000 words a day, every day, for a month. I could write more or on some days less, but I don’t. I keep it to the same output, with no excuses. There’s something wonderful about that discipline. It’s a feature of life that most of us have lost since our days at school, but one which would help us all in our adult life if only we could relearn it.

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