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Practice Makes Progress for New Year's Resolutions

Reaching out to others with similar goals or with expertise, for support, is the key to success, regardless of our personal goals.

How are you doing with your New Year's resolution?  Reaching out to others with similar goals or with expertise for support is the key to success, regardless of the personal goal.  Forgiving oneself and getting back on track, each time one digresses, is an effective way to achieve long term success.

I have a personal disdain for the term "practice makes perfect."  I heard it all my life and I've had enough.  Reaching toward perfection with every task and goal has more often has a profound effect on the will to keep trying.  It is sometimes counter productive to focus so much on the desired outcome rather than the daily work.  Constant pats on the back are more reassuring than fear of failure.

My goal is to write 750 words or three double-spaced pages per day.  There are days when I barely write 250 words and others when I don't get to it at all.  Of course I feel defeated when this happens, but no one can take away the progress that I have made.  At least I am still on track if I get back online and keep writing.

A log has been helpful.  I am accountable to myself each day.  If I miss a day, I note what kept me from doing it that day.  I sometimes also add some other productive thing I might have done that day to help me feel good rather than punish myself.  At the end of the week or month, I analyze my pattern of on track versus off track behavior.  Was the failure acceptable given unexpected challenges or other work that needed to get done?  

My ambitious goals used to be writing at least 750 words toward the book I am working on, but I have found that my creative process doesn't work that way. There are days I need to explore possible themes and work out my ideas in journal format. I have days when I wake up and run to the computer with scenes clearly laid out in my head and I write enough to satisfy three days of writing goals.  I discovered this through the logging method.  

For aspiring writers out there, I highly recommend logging on to an online journaling site www.750words.com.   It has really made a difference in my writing life.  By not editing myself and focusing just on regular mind dumps, I am able to remove the usual writer's roadblocks and just write.  At the end of these sessions, I often discover diamonds in the rough which can be elevated to scenes, chapters, articles and blogs.  It has also been beneficial as a general well-being tool, helping me to unclutter my mind and focus better on my daily goals.  

Having a support network has also kept me accountable.  I meet regularly with a group of other serious writers working on developing their writing projects.  We take turns presenting our pieces and critique each others' work.  We give each other deadlines.  I look forward to these check-in points and hearing about their progress inspires me to do the same.  Hearing about their challenges prompts me to share advice with them.

The same goes for health goals.  I have a dog so I need to walk him on a daily basis.  This is also good for me.  To help inspire each other, especially during the cold weather, my friends and I try to meet at local parks and walk our dogs together.  Because we look forward to chatting and catching up on life, we end up walking two or three times longer than we normally do when walking our dogs alone.

Sometimes all we need is the company of other people trying to accomplish similar goals.  Another person's perspective, experience, expertise and good advice can help point us in the right direction.  If you or someone you know is struggling alone to get on track with their health and well-being goals, check out these three local opportunities:

  • Join a Get Healthy Challenge: Susan Epstein, Certified Health Coach, recently launched a Lose Big-Win Big Contest locally, offering prizes as an incentive.  They shared best kept "secrets" for weight loss and optimal health, offering samples of delicious and healthy food and strategies for lowering or eliminating medications for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol.  Contact Susan to see if this program is appropriate for you at 860-437-0233 or susan@gethealthywithsusan or read about weight loss and healthy habits through this website: epsteins.tsfl.com/explore
  • Learn more about Nutrition: What you eat has a profound effect on your total well being. You do not need to be overweight to be concerned with your eating habits. A registered Dietitian can help you work towards making healthier food choices by analyzing what you are eating now and making changes that you can actually achieve. Many people need to understand how to read food labels , understand what a portion really is and pay attention to whether they are really hungry. Registered dietitians can guide you and give you the knowledge you need to make lifetime changes in your eating habits. Janine Sitko R.D. has a private practice in East Lyme CT. Contact information:  (860) 739-9488  j9sit@ct.metrocast.net
  • Daytime Zumba for Moms with Young Children: Now Moms with young children and infants in tow can have a fun dance workout when they are home during weekday mornings as babysitting is offered during class. Nancy Coleman is offering Zumba on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10:00-11:00 a.m. here in Waterford.  Classes are held at Temple Emanu-El which is located at 29 Dayton Road.  Try the class for free or contact Nancy for more information at ngc31602@aol.com.

Forget your New Year's Resolutions, make your New Day's Resolution now. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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