As we all learned last week, I’m on a kick to do more, eat less, and hopefully, tilt my balance in a little healthier direction. I have been on this kick for probably twenty years–ever since I was diagnosed with thyroid disease, at least. One lesson of this long siege has been, “No heroic measures.”
The more ambitious my goals for myself, the less likely I am to reach them. Whether it’s losing 50 pounds, or writing 100,000 words, the grand schemes, in my experience, are doomed to failure. I expect to finish the manuscripts I start–I love to write–but “expect” is as far as I’ll go. I get the books written, without death marches, marathons or six weeks of writing devastation thereafter.
This is contrary to all the writing wisdom ever propounded by knowledgeable writing gurus, who insist you MUST set goals, have word count quotas, keep records of your progress, write on a schedule, and display your goals prominently in your writing space. The thought of those activities makes me want to hurl. I don’t do ANY of them and I’m pretty sure, for the past couple years, I’ve been one of the most prolific writers on the romance scene.
Of course, if you’re going to run a marathon, you probably do need to approach it with some structure if you’re to avoid injury. I’m not saying the writing process I’ve developed so far is for anybody but me, or even that it will always work for me.
With exercise… all I’m doing is walking, a few miles a day. I go at it in manageable chunks, and to “exercise” all I have to do is wander into the living room and press a button. I don’t have to put on gym clothes, get in the car, hope a machine is available when I get to the gym, cram the cardio into 30 sweaty (blech!) minutes if the gym is crowded, etc. Nope. I just wander, push button, walk.
I think that’s what many people mean when they tell us to “work smarter.” Set yourself up so that making progress toward your goals requires overcoming the smallest possible increment of inertia, rather than putting a lot of energy into a plan for surviving the marathon. Put the veggies where you can SEE them in the fridge, tuck that organic raw milk cheddar at the back of the crisper, double wrapped.
Stretch right where you’re sitting at this moment, not just at the yoga class ten miles away that you miss half the time because you’re working late, exhausted, haven’t filled up the tank, and just… just can’t. Keep a pitcher of water on the counter. Leave the meditation pillow out at all times. Always have a book stashed in your purse.
Where have you instituted a low activation threshold between a hope and a step in the right direction? To one commenter, I’ll send a $15.00 Amazon gift card. Pretty soon… time to start that holiday shopping, or stockpiling the TBR tower for winter, right?