As a new blogger and writer, lots about this online world is new to me. I had never heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). The acronyms, when I saw them, completely baffled me. Even now, writing this post, I had to go check them out on other blogs to make sure I was getting them right. As a writer, having trouble remembering an acronym is slightly problematic.
While I didn’t hear about them in time to actually officially take on either challenge, I have used them as motivation to just sit down every day and try to write something – anything. I apologize to those of you who have read my stuff over the last few days and mourned the wasted moments of your lives, I know it hasn’t all been stellar.
But I told myself I was going to put it out there, if only because I have found the challenge of writing (almost) every day to be helpful. In addition to my blog, the idea of actually trying to write a novel has been percolating in my brain although I must admit that every time I sit down to begin I find that I don’t (yet) have any half-decent story to tell. I’m obviously hoping that will change, but in the meantime I’m planning to put a lot more work into this blog. More posts, more book reviews, and hopefully more creativity and writing!
However, this has gotten me thinking about other personal challenges that we take on and the all-or-nothing attitude that more often than not seems to result in disappointment and failure. One that many of us can probably relate to would be exercise and eating healthy, while writing or other creative habits, kindness projects and even daily prayer are probably all representative of challenges that many of us take on in the hopes of improving our lives.
But I’ve found that setting strict requirements for ourselves in any kind of improvement challenge often just leads to more stress rather than more fulfillment and success (particularly for those perfectionists among us, says the girl looking back at me from the mirror). Sometimes it is much more helpful to be a bit generous with ourselves; rather than eating healthy for every meal of every day, tell yourself that it counts as a success if you’ve eaten healthy more often than not this week. Remember that it’s a check-mark in the ‘win’ column just to sit down to write/paint/draw/compose something, even if you subsequently tear it up or never look at it again. Or maybe just pat yourself on the back for the fact that you didn’t flip the bird to the guy who cut you off on your way to work – that counts as an act of kindness, right? (Okay maybe I’m stretching it with this one…)
My point is, feeling successful breeds motivation to persevere. It’s impossible to feel successful by failing to meet the completely unrealistic goals we too-often set for ourselves. So rather than NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo, I’m going to challenge myself just to write and work on this blog as much as I can and as much as I want to this month. If you’re working on a personal challenge (or maybe in anticipation of those New Years challenges we’ll all be making soon), try cutting yourself some slack and being kind to yourself; it’s much more important that you feel happy while you’re making positive changes. After all, isn’t that the point of it in the first place?