– Larry Elder via Cory Booker
He challenges himself to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, publicly proclaims it by writing a post on Facebook one day last week and then later that afternoon, writes a second blog post and posts regularly every since? Aaaaaaack! And here I am trying to post once a week on my blog?!?
Momentary panic attack now dissipating…
I once read a brief insight written by Jill Koenig, a motivational coach, called “Running Your Own Race” (short read: 3 minutes, tops). It brought home the idea that I really can’t compare myself to others because my goals, my capacities and limitations, and my starting point are unique. So instead, I choose to be inspired by Mayor Booker’s incredible enthusiasm and his ability to bang out a post despite his busy schedule.
There are some true gems in his second post that deal with strategic planning in order to achieve your goal.
Not surprisingly, it starts with the mind. It starts with a thought coupled with desire. But a thought without action is useless.
So, he enlists others. No person is an island. Introduction to Anthropology 101 at Mount Holyoke taught me that humans are first and foremost, social beings. Creating a network of people, a support structure is indeed important because we need someone to cheer us on, advise us along the way, and encourage us and make us feel like we are not alone when it gets rough. I certainly could not have completed last year’s 101 day Bikram Challenge if I did it alone…and I certainly would never have even considered taking it on by myself.
He plans the work and works the plan. Years ago, I got this advice from a good friend after I described how overwhelmed I felt at work. I think the key to this strategy is flexibility because the unexpected always comes when you least expect it. Be like a bamboo in the wind: strong yet flexible.
So, here’s my plan for my 2011 Challenge:
- Write it down. Now I understand why writers carry a notebook. Inspiration hits at any moment. I need to write down my ideas when they come.
- Brainstorm. Inspiration may be great but it is not always present. Collect insurance by coming up with ideas. No idea is wrong or silly.
- Dedicate time. Based on my schedule: Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, (and possibly) Fridays are good days to get up early and write. Perhaps Sunday will be the start of a first draft, and then a few days of percolation, Wednesday for crafting, Thursday for polishing and publication.
- Set realistic expectations. It is so easy for me to do the opposite! When I write, I feel like I have to write an exposition, a treatise, a thesis. No! This is a blog. It is a space for coherent musings that hopefully will encourage others to respond and initiate a dialogue. It doesn’t have to be perfect because it will never be perfect.
- Plan ahead. Start writing other posts and save drafts so that when time is scarce, it will be easier to polish it than start from scratch.
My goal is to form long-term habit of writing but I need to take it one day at a time. Looking at the big picture, I often get overwhelmed at the huge task before me. Last year, in the first week of my bikram challenge, I was struck with paralysis. With only less than 10 classes under my belt, I wondered how the hell I was going to get to 101?! Then, I recalled the words of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Take the first step in faith.
You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.