“Do, or do not. There is no try.” -Master Yoda-
As a child, this tiny grain of wisdom that had exploded onto the silver screen almost a decade before my birth has impacted my way of thinking on my pursuits. The two biggies are fitness and writing, the things I want to make a living from. Want to–yes, because for the former there are no jobs currently in my present location (so I’m volunteering and still making an impact where I can) and because for the latter I’m not yet done writing my novel (but soon will be).
So what does a tiny wizened alien have to do with me? Well, simply this. For many years I have been trying. Trying to lose weight. Trying to stay fit. Trying to write. Trying to get published. Trying this sort of diet or that sort of writing program. Trying, trying, trying.
My first kick in the teeth came from Holly Lisle, a writer whose written and done all sorts of amazing things to give back to the writing community. (For more information, see the Writer Links in the sidebar.) I was depressed. My husband was overseas with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unity. I wanted to write but I did not seem to have the interest in it and that bothered me. I have always written. It is something I do to live, to be happy. So my apathy was disconcerting and had me browsing the web for “help” and “ideas”, etc. What did Holly tell me? Simple: stop talking about writing and start doing it.
As a fitness instructor, it is highly discouraging to watch fresh faces flood the gym and the aerobics room at the new year, eager to stick to their resolutions, only to watch the numbers shrink as one excuse after another pops up. Granted, I’ll give the real emergency, short or lengthy, as a valid excuse. Life happens and it isn’t always kind. I will also give the summer holidays we like to take. People need vacations to revitalize themselves. They’re healthy.
Then, excepting these two things, why is it that around 85% of people fall off the fitness wagon within 3 months? I think it is because they do not know how to resolute properly. “I’m going to lose 50 pounds” or “I want to quit eating fat” are resolutions that sound great but for most people are nothing but a bunch of hot air. They have great intentions and most give it a good try. So did I. But intending and trying don’t cut it when you want to succeed.
At a certain point, most people stop trying. There are two forms to this. What happens most often (sadly) is that they give up. They revert to their former ways with the idea that they are beyond help or are in some way fated to be fat, unhealthy, or unable to succeed at their dreams.
The other, smaller, group of people stop trying and start doing. They do whatever it takes–some sleep in their gym clothes and shoes!–to get fit. They do whatever it takes–some get up at ungodly hours to get 500 words down on a page, or sketch an idea–to succeed. Benjamin Franklin said that success meant going to be early in order to get up early. It is a great idea, one I am a firm believer in, but not everyone likes or can do it. However, if we look at a great example of doing, it is Ben Franklin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin
Personally, I finally stopped staying I wanted to be a writer and became one. I stopped saying I wanted to be fit and did it. Now I’ve stopped saying that I want to eliminate as much sugar as possible from my diet and have started that process as well. It is hard. No one ever said success was easy. But those who succeed want their dreams and goals badly enough to do something about attaining them.
For those of you who are struggling with weight loss, I highly recommend reading Tom Venuto’s blog. (See sidebar.) I tend to agree with the man on 99% of the stuff he writes. Plus, he lives what he preaches. Whether or not you take his Burn the Fat challenge is your decision in the end. I think he offers a lot of great advice, like that given below, to people looking to get healthy. See, that is the real issue with yearly resolutions: they focus on the symptoms instead of tackling the problem (i.e. the problem is not that you are fat; it is that you are not moving or eating appropriately, etc.).
Remember Master Yoda. If need be, channel whatever you believe is the Force–it will be with you. Most of all, do!
Good luck on achieving success!