Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Road to Hell…….


The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

At least, that’s what my Welsh Grannie used to say. Swoman readinghe didn’t add that the same road is also the one that leads to failure, guilt, stress, anxiety attacks and self-loathing. Or, depending on your personality,loathing others who you are sure stood in the way of your achieving success with your good intentions.

Any excuse will do! But eventually you have to own your own failure, and it hurts.

This is really the time of year when we should take this lesson to heart. For ‘good intentions’ read ‘resolutions’. I’m not even going to tell you the percentage of people who actually make something of their resolutions, it would just depress you.

(If you’re really riddled with the need to know, I saw an estimate in an article by Mindy McHorse on the American Writers & Artists Inc newsletter that said only 8 per cent of people follow through on their New Year’s Resolutions   http://www.awaionline.com/ or sign up here for their newsletter http://www.awaionline.com/signup/the-writers-life/ )

So, instead of resolutions, let’s sit down and consider what we really want to achieve, check out the possibilities, set the goal, then break it down into baby steps and maybe, just maybe, we can make some real progress this year.

For example, you need a proper goal. “I want to write a book” or “I want to lose weight” are not proper goals. They’re ideas, thoughts, dreams.

A goal is concrete. “I am going to write a book about my experiences as a relief worker in the Sudan” or “I am going to write a mystery novel based on (insert your story idea here)……” OR – “I am going to join Weightwatchers and stick with it until I have lost 25 pounds before the summer” – these are goals. See that difference? The first is airy fairy, the second is a concrete idea with actions already defined..

So, next step, get your diary and a fresh notebook. At the top of the pages in the notebook, write the goal/goals, in big capital letters using separate pages. Stick in pictures that remind you of your goal, articles you may have read that inspire you, etc.

Use coloured pens if you’re feeling artistic. You can also start a journal on your computer and do the same thing, but it’s not as easy to flip through, paste pictures in, or carry around with you. There’s something about a notebook, with those lovely clean pages just waiting to be filled, that lifts the spirit.

Okay, so maybe I'm a bit of a dinosaur there – my kids do this sort of thing on the tiny screens of their smart phones….

Next, break the goal down into baby steps. What is the first thing you need to do? Take a creative writing class? Make notes, dig out your diary from that Sudanese experience? Write an outline?

Contact weightwatchers or a similar organization in your area, and sign up? Choose a diet plan that will suit your lifestyle? Put an unflattering photo of yourself highlighting those extra pounds on the door of the refrigerator to act as a snacking deterrent?

Don’t forget to make allowances for the unavoidable but predictable obstacles that may come up -  including attempts by your nearest & dearest to undermine your plans for their own insecure reasons…Have a plan in place to deal with these before they happen. We can easily become prisoners of our own psyches.

Now, the diary: You know the steps you need to take (and you’ve left space in your notebook for extra notes/steps that you may discover you need to add as you go along) so now you set a timetable. How many weeks do you have to carry out this plan? Warning: set a reasonable amount of time – if you finish earlier, wow! If you fall behind, you’ll get depressed and trip over one of those good intentions on that road to You Know Where….

So, instead of scribbling down your resolutions for 2014, make concrete, defined goals. Write each step and when it should be done in your diary, like making a date with yourself so things are not forgotten.

And a note of warning: I have worked with clients who started out by setting so many lofty goals that they set themselves up chickenfor failure. They start out all gung-ho – and in very little time sink into depression and quit, saying that it’s just too hard.We use that excuse to turn chicken…

That’s why we use baby steps, concrete goals, and a plan.

So, wishing you all a Happy, Healthy & Productive New Year! See you again in 2014 Smile 

Monday, December 23, 2013

How Not To Do Christmas…….@GlenysOConnell


Can I blame the Second Worst Ice Storm Ever? No, my Christmas Disaster Record started before the storm hit.

I decided not to put up a big tree this year. The reasons willtree for blog probably make you smile:

1) We have a new kitten (now an adolescent with more energy than he deserves) and he'd have the tree undressed as quick as I could dress it - and would probably end up stuck on the top. A Kitty Tree Ornament!

2) I can't find the damn tree! We have a really elderly fake tree I bought in Ireland from a second hand store. It's basically a broomstick handle with wire brush things you stick in the holes. The first year we were in this house, year one, we found the tree 'cos we were still unpacking. But ornaments? None to be found. The 'grown up' kids enjoyed making paper ornaments. The second year (last year) we found the ornaments but no tree anywhere. I mean, how on earth can something the size of a tree disappear?

I intended to buy a live tree to be planted in the spring, but the only ones Canadian Tire and Walmart had were really small....so I stuck up the two feet tall fake tree instead..

Then  I went to put the little crib up, have had it for years. Baby Jesus and the Cow are MIA. Probably He rode off on the cow to somewhere warmer and less icy......

So, no crib, no big tree. Next year, I swear, I will get organised sooner!

Now, I wanted to make some chocolate covered peanut butter balls, but I've never done it before and I'm almost afraid to try - my track record hasn't been too successful this Xmas!

Oh, and I was so proud of myself, getting cards made well before Xmas. Guess what is still sitting on my desk????? <sigh>

Where does all the time go???

Oh, and the oil delivery truck just backed up our driveway, skidded, and ended up on the lawn. Very large backhoe pulling him out. I'm beginning to feel like the Typhoid Annie of Christmas!

If you hear of a Christmas turkey blowing up in the oven on Christmas Day or some similar disaster, you'll know the likely location. Maybe I should just go for a long winter's nap....