The second way to stay on track in “Stick to It” is having a community that supports your efforts and goals. Weight Watchers is a strong established community for me. My primary goal is to eat better and lose weight. I consistently eat better and lose weight when I am “on program.” When I’ve paid the money for the membership, I am on program. So my goal of eating healthy and losing weight is working well right now and a big reason for that is community. I know all the Weight Watcher tricks. I also know they don’t work for me unless I use community. Something about attending meetings and stepping on that scale works for me better than going it alone.
My other goal of practicing yoga also has a community, but it’s a bit different. I like Gaia very much, although there are no physical meetings. No scale to step on, nobody to talk to at meetings, no stories to share. At least I have not found a message board or anything like that yet. Still, in looking around for a community forum, I rediscovered Byron Katie, who has a video up on Gaia. While I watched the video about what Katie calls “The Work” I took a lot of notes, because even though I’ve read all her books, I wanted a refresher.
In that way, I did find what I was seeking. Katie reminded me that sticking to new habits cannot happen if I keep telling myself things like “I can’t do yoga and write on the same day.” And “writing takes all my energy.” And “I only have so much energy and I need to choose mental energy or physical energy.” Those were just a few of the self-defeating thoughts I was thinking before Katie reminded me about letting go of the negatives and turning them around. What the mind believes, the body obeys. So I’ll be letting those negative thoughts go. I don’t need or want them anymore.
I also realized since my last post that I have a third goal. I want to get back to a consistent writing schedule for the final polish of the novel and I want to finish the spec sheets for my audio books. Community is tricky for writers. Most of us need a lot of alone time to get our work done. I don’t write in coffee shops, but some writers do. They often find community there. For me, solitude and quiet work best when I’m immersed in a writing project.
I do belong to a couple of writing groups and I feel fortunate to have these communities. I never write more diligently than when my critique group is about to meet. Aside from the week before our monthly meeting, that diligence toward writing has been missing lately, for a variety of reasons. Thinking back to what works for me, I write consistently with NaNoWriMo, because during National Novel Writing Month we have clear goals and there’s a place to upload your daily word count.
The NaNoWriMo community has added a ton of stuff to their menu through the years. They may have a daily check-in for writers with a word count uploader that goes beyond November. That would work for me. Just a place to go every day to say how much I wrote. The other thing I can do until I find such a community is to use Katie’s process to get honest with myself about why I’m not writing. Because obviously there is a huge disconnect between what I say I want (to write every day, to finish polishing my novel, to get those spec sheets finished and sent in) and what I’m actually doing about it.
I’m still in process with the whole idea of sticking to goals until they become habits by using the SCIENCE method, but at least I have some steps for the goal of writing every day. First, see if NaNo has something to offer similar to the November motivator. Next, check in with myself using Katie’s program. It’s pretty simple and quite effective. Katie is a life-changer and I’ve been long overdue for a refresher course in The Work.
Next up: Updates on my progress with goals and how I’m incorporating “I” for “important” the next step in the SCIENCE process. My guess it has something to do with prioritizing.