Monthly Archives: March 2021

Got Crutches?

Crutch (Merriam-Webster dictionary definition):

  1. a support typically fitting under the armpit for use by the disabled in walking
  2. a source or means of support or assistance that is relied on heavily or excessively
What’s your crutch?

My father had surgery the day after Christmas and spent the initial days of recovery in bed, then in a wheelchair, and then on crutches when he returned home. Eventually, he used a walker for about a week, until he could move around on his own.

Now, after months of physical therapy, perseverance, and sheer will power, dad shuffles around like a champ.

On occasion, he uses a cane I got him, primarily while at the grocery store or post office. I think he uses it as a conversation starter, but his loved ones take heart in knowing that he has backup, especially while the sidewalk is still covered in ice and snow.

In this case, the crutches, and other assistance, have played an essential role in my father’s recovery. If, in three years, or even eight months, he were still using them to hobble around, I would wonder about his progress and worry about his overall well being.

Perhaps a family intervention would be warranted. Luckily, he is motivated and fiercely independent, so that won’t be necessary. If we do stage an intervention, it will be for something besides over-reliance on his physical crutches.

While he has jettisoned the walker, dad relies on invisible crutches to get through this challenging phase of recovery. Like most of us, he has used them to navigate through the harshness of life.

Invisible crutches are harder to identify and differ from person to person. They can serve a purpose, but ultimately outlive their usefulness.

Invisible crutches? What might those be? A superpower, special weapon, futuristic device?


Invisible crutches are those sneaky, less obvious patterns of behavior that start out as helpful support, but can gradually become destructive. They often have addictive qualities that result from unconscious conditioning.

These pesky assistants can manifest as go-to activities, substances, relationships. Sometimes they started out as healthy or necessary coping mechanisms that, over time, hinder long-term growth and well being.

Yes, denial and avoidance both qualify, and there are myriad others.

Here’s a start:

  • Alcohol
  • Approval
  • Drugs
  • Exercise
  • Food
  • Sex
  • Shopping
  • Social media
  • Tobacco
  • Work

Any of those sound familiar? Keep in mind, none of them are inherently bad or unhealthy. Any virtue in excess becomes a vice. A glass of wine for one person could be a helpful social lubricant while it’s the bane of another’s existence.

What are your invisible crutches?

OK, I’ll go first. I have a few, but my favorite is sugar.

Original, eh?

My husband finds my sugar addiction innocuous, even adorable. What’s one little cupcake? Or a box of macarons? They’re so sweet, saccharine, harmless. Billions of marketing dollars wouldn’t lead us down a destructive path…

Some days Bridget Jones is my spirit animal

The amount isn’t necessarily the dead giveaway. I’m not overweight. I don’t have diabetes. I don’t down pints of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting (anymore). I’m not an alcoholic–the booze for me holds only as much interest as the sugar I can extract from a cocktail.

What goes on inside my head is the key factor, and no one but me can see it.

  • The blind grasping for comfort and numbness
  • The lack of reason employed during these autopilot sequences
  • The avoidance of the issue or problem or emotion in favor of sweet escape
  • The dissociation from the present moment and potential consequences

All of those things are invisible to the naked eye. To the outside world, I’m enjoying a treat, perhaps a well-deserved one. It looks as though a grown woman is acting like an awestruck child who takes delight in a frosted brownie.

But at the root of that fleeting joy is a potentially destructive impulse, one that perpetuates self-sabotage and personal growth. The invisible can take up a lot of space.

Who knew that a peanut-butter cup wielded such power?

Sugar thoughts

Over time, I have learned to manage the sugar impulses more effectively. Experience, trial and error, and good therapists have helped me slow down, introspect, and check in on my emotional state.

Gradually, day in and day out of doing the work–baby steps, not quantum leaps–I have evolved from the insecure teenager and avoidant young woman of years past. Make no mistake, insecurity and avoidance still accompany me wherever I go, but they are no longer in the driver’s seat.

The impulse to grab the invisible crutches remains, and on occasion I succumb to it. But less frequently and for a shorter period of time. Once in a while, when reality feels overwhelming, I opt for oblivion.

Karen Kilgariff, who cohosts My Favorite Murder, one of my favorite podcasts, said this at the end of episode 51, aptly titled “A Little Bit of Oblivion”:

“Everybody copes in different ways. My therapist said to me one time, when I had quit [drinking] and I had quit sugar, I had quit this and that. She goes, ‘Well, you gotta do something because everybody needs a little bit of oblivion.'”

Although the focus of My Favorite Murder is true crime and murder stories, Karen and her cohost, Georgia Hardstark, openly discuss mental illness and their own struggles with anxiety, depression, and emotional crutches. Episodes are peppered with valuable morsels like that quote.

The next time I mindlessly grasp for the sugar, I will likely pump the brakes. With greater presence of mind, I hope to either opt for a healthier alternative (like a true-crime podcast) or shrug and remind myself that everybody needs a little oblivion, especially when real life in a pandemic is fucking bonkers.

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Accountability Buddy

Do you remember using the buddy system? It’s when two people (buddies) pair up as a single unit to help out and monitor each other’s safety, progress, or well being.

I grew up in the 1980s, so that system was an integral part of my development in a number of contexts:

It’s hard to gauge the extent to which the buddy system benefited me or my growth, but I’m sure it facilitated some meaningful human connection with classmates and cohorts. At the very least, it provided structure and an extra layer of oversight.

The practice has stayed with me decades later, and I now use it in my personal and professional life. Doing so during the last year of a pandemic has helped me remain productive while maintaining remote relationships. It looks a little different than the chain gang of pre-schoolers escorting each other across a footbridge, or a pair of socks accompanying their match into the spin cycle.

I currently have three regular accountability buddies: two former colleagues (and now friends) and my sister.

Every Monday morning, my sister and I text each other our respective goals for the week. We’re both writers and are prioritizing our craft in a way we haven’t done before.

The process is a cinch and takes all of two minutes. It usually looks something like this:

Happy Monday! Here are my goals for this week:

  1. Journal at least twice
  2. Practice yoga every morning
  3. Write and publish one blog post
  4. Meditate every night before bed
  5. Read for fun for 30 minutes at night

Sometimes I’ll mix it up and add things like bake lemon poppyseed bread for my neighbor, or send a birthday card to my uncle. My goals have mellowed evolved over the years, especially during a forced Covid lockdown.

Every Friday, we call to follow up and check the status of each other’s progress. If we reached our goals, fucking hooray! We discuss the process. If not, that’s ok, and we discuss the reasons why.

In a recent conversation, my sister said, “I’m 20 percent practical and 80 percent philosophical, so let’s get the practical stuff out of the way first.”

The best part of our exchanges are the deeper dives, the whys, the implications, motivations, self-sabotage, the sneaky unconscious reasons we get in our own way. That is where the wiggle is in the squiggle.

My new bumper sticker idea

The system I have with my former journalism colleague, who now works as a freelance writer (mostly solo, from home), is less structured. She texts me a heads up on any given morning that she will need a check in later in the day. Her messages involve simple yet specific instructions like:

“I’m working on a story about city council. My self-imposed deadline is 4pm today. By then I want to have interviewed three key people and written 500 words of the draft. Will you check in at 3:30 to see if I have talked to all three and hit that minimum word count?”

The answer is always yes.

Is her achievement consequential to my life? No. I’d love for her to succeed, but my life remains unaffected if she doesn’t reach that goal.

Is there any punishment if she fails to meet her own expectations? No external ones, at least not from me.

But the confirmation of a follow up from her accountability buddy suffices in motivating her to focus. That expectation applies enough pressure to stay on task. No social media, no distracting cleaning, no solo day drinking. Conduct those interviews and write those 500 words…usually with palpable success.

The process with my former home organizing colleague is similar, but with design and organizing projects. The same concepts apply, even if the goals differ.

Do you have any accountability buddies in your life?

Here are some areas where they come in handy:

  • Writing projects
  • Exercise programs
  • Dietary changes
  • Professional assignments
  • Any creative endeavors

They are helpful in nearly every process that involves positive change or meeting a concrete goal.

Almost anyone can be your accountability partner, but there are some characteristics that lend themselves more to success. Check this out for more tips. You don’t need perfection (nor will you find it), but if some elements are in place, you maximize your chances of progress.

Here are a few key components:

  • Reliability: No flaking out
  • Positivity: No Debbie Downers–you both need to keep each other’s spirits lifted
  • Consistency: Same Bat Time, same Bat Channel–or whatever agreement you both make
  • Cheerleading: No pompoms or clapping necessary, but genuine support and enthusiasm are
  • Commitment: You both need to be on board for accountability and goal reaching, even when it gets dull or lackluster

Intentional accountability is a powerful tool. But don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes!

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Progress is Not Linear

Backslide: to lapse morally or in the practice of religion; to revert to a worse condition.

We know this already, but it bears repeating: PROGRESS IS NOT LINEAR. BACKSLIDING IS PROBABLE.

I’m not particularly religious, but I did backslide yesterday. The secondary definition is apt, and likely applies to us all–perhaps more frequently during a yearlong pandemic.

The entire day played out like a giant middle finger aimed at my life, goals, recent progress, or the sound advice I would offer a friend, loved one, or blog follower seeking a more enlightened path.

Despite a solid night of sleep (I aim for 9 hours and feel like a half-decent human being when I actually get it), I woke up irritated, almost imperceptibly. The sun was shining during an unseasonably balmy March day, which should have been enough to kickstart my spring optimism.

Nope. Over the course of the day, the irritability worsened.

I picked a fight with my sweet husband about a perennially cluttered closet. He didn’t take the bait, but instead saw my valid, if shrill, point and made an effort to organize.

That didn’t help. I did not truly want to solve the problem in that moment; I wanted to lash out, and for no apparent reason.

So, I sat down to write. That always improves my mood and helps me feel connected. Except…

Every. Fucking. Idea. Was. Lame.

Or so it seemed.

Why bother? Maybe I’m not really cut out for this writing thing, I told myself. I’ve only been doing it for decades, have two degrees in the subject, and have published a plethora of stories. Enh, that’s irrelevant. Clearly I have no talent and am exposing myself for the fraud I really am.

Great self-talk, right? The opposite of what I would encourage any advice seekers to say to themselves.

Steven Pressfield would call this Resistance. Jennifer Pastiloff might call it the Inner Asshole (IA).

Regardless of the name, it caused me to abandon the Word doc and transition to online yoga, a no-fail way to move my body, clear my mind, and feel better.

My usual adorable, genki yogi led me in a kundalini chant, which I gave a lackluster attempt. I made it seven minutes into the video before the instructor emitted a giggle that would typically earn a wry smile. Instead, I thought, “Oh, just shut up!”

It felt like mentally scolding a wood nymph faerie. Only an asshole (inner or outer) would do that.

In that moment I realized that I–not writing or yoga or my husband or anyone else in my sphere–was the problem, and the common denominator in my hot mess of a day.

The obvious solution?

Pouring myself a chilled glass of pinot gris and mixing up some green cookie dough for St. Patrick’s Day. Except, I knew that regressive response would exacerbate the situation.

Honey badger don’t care. I was determined to drown out the discomfort with vino and sugar and butter and green food coloring, knowing they would further aggravate it. Old habits die hard and self-sabotage lurks around every blind corner, especially when I’m on a trajectory of healthy, productive choices.

The bane of my existence

What invoked the resistance, awoke the IA, provoked the shit-talking inner editor?

Hormones? Probably.

Change? Sure, even welcome transitions can throw me off my game.

Missing cat? Yah, my little feline wandered off a few days ago and hasn’t yet returned.

Who knows? The cause is secondary to the lessons learned during this stint of regression.

For me, backsliding looks like:

  • Self-doubt
  • Wining and whining
  • Sugar (and Netflix) bingeing
  • Stressing about disorganization
  • Telling online yoga teachers to shut up
  • Nursing a cookie-and-booze hangover

Do any of these sound familiar? What does regression look like for you?

Follow up question: What does progress look like for you?

For me, it is reminding myself that success can, and often does, take a meandering course. I’m not a linear person, and my path of progress isn’t going to be a linear one either. The faster I see that in the moment, the more enlightened I feel. Accompanying greater enlightenment are compassion and humility.

After waking up feeling full of green cookies and wine, tired, and worse off, I decided not to lose another full day to poor choices.

Instead, I took these baby steps:

  • Went for a walk (not run, not HIIT, not yoga)
  • Posted flyers of my lost cat around my neighborhood
  • Called my sister for our weekly accountability check in
  • Apologized to my husband for misplaced blame
  • Gave him a long, oxytocin-inducing hug
  • Brewed a mug of herbal tea

And this image posted on social media by a friend, who didn’t know how I was feeling yesterday.

A little boost I didn’t realize I needed

Guess what? I felt better. Only marginally, but noticeably, and encouraged to continue taking baby steps toward incremental improvement. It was preferable to another cookie binge and self-loathing.

It’s all in the wiggle of the squiggle.

I sent this diagram to my sister and her response was, “It’s all in the wiggle of the squiggle.”

Yes indeed. In the squiggle is where all of the magic happens. That is where we plant seeds, grow, learn, develop character, cultivate compassion, connect with others, recognize our shortcomings, and develop patience.

Sounds pretty good to me.

Regression provides contrast, data, and choice. It creates an opportunity to appreciate the distance I’ve come.

All of that is taking place in the squiggle. The messy, disorganized middle part of the arrow is where richness lies. It’s where most of life takes place.

I wouldn’t want it any other way. Would you?

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Morning Routine

Don’t underestimate the power of your choices first thing in the morning.

My mother touted the adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and now my husband does the same. (If you want to learn the history of that statement, check out this historical conflict of interest.)

I rarely follow that advice, but if I do, my breakfast is consumed during the final minutes of morning. The idea of food before 11am consistently invokes mild nausea. By noon, though, I’m famished. Go figure.

However, I do have a regular morning routine, which I find essential for providing structure and setting a tone for the rest of the day.

I’m not alone. The importance of a daily routine is promoted by many successful folks, including Tony Robbins, Oprah (do we need to include her last name anymore?), and Tom Brady (TB12).

Not a fan of those particular celebrities? Ok, here is a list of AM routines of six other successful women. And here’s another brief list of morning habits of highly effective people.

You might notice some themes:

  • Movement
  • Head-clearing
  • Planning
  • Gratitude

Do you follow a routine of your own? If so, what does it entail?

This covers the essentials.

For nearly two years I have fine-tuned my own combination of morning rituals, which (*sheepish grin*) sometimes begin long after the morning has ended. The time started or elapsed is less important than the consistency of the activities.

Every. Single. Day.

Build a routine. See a pattern. Start a habit.

Watch your life slowly shift toward a preferable, more deliberate, possibly more meaningful place.

Author, podcaster, and angel investor (among other roles) Tim Ferriss has shared his routine, which inspired me to start my own.

This is his list:

  • Makes his bed
  • Drinks Titanium Tea
  • Meditates
  • Does some form of light exercise
  • Writes in a journal

This is not a directive to perform any or all of these tasks after you wake up. There is not one straight line to success or improvement. I do recommend each of them, in some form, at some point in the day, though.

Think of this as a starting line, launch pad, friendly suggestion, anecdotal self-enhancement story.

On your mark…

I have adopted my own version, tailored to my preferences, night-owl schedule, and energy levels.

Astrid’s (ideal) modified morning routine:

  • Brush my teeth and eradicate morning breath
  • Pull the duvet up to the pillows and fold the top sheet over
  • Drink a cup (approx. 8-12 ounces) of water
  • Brew some black tea, matcha, or chicory/coffee mix
  • Go for a “shuffle” around my block for a burst of fresh air and a shot of natural vitamin D
  • Write morning pages a la The Artist’s Way (three 11×8 pages–no more, no less)
  • Kundalini yoga to get my energy going

FULL DISCLOSURE: I don’t always complete, or even start, each of these activities every day. Some days, I’ll straighten a pillow, spend 30 seconds in downward dog pose, and pop my head outside in the cold, only to opt out. Kinda like this…

Some mornings this is as far as I get.

But I do always–ALWAYS–brush my teeth. I’m not a heathen.

My list may invoke nausea or an eye roll. That’s ok. I’m not forcing any stimulants, kriyas, or Tom’s of Maine on anyone. What you do between REM sleep and lunchtime is your business. Obviously, I feel strongly about getting the day started off strongly, though, or else I wouldn’t bother dedicating an entire blog post to the subject.

My husband has his own morning rituals, which may sound more appealing:

  • Brews coffee in his Italian moka espresso maker
  • Stretches or does a series of core-training exercises
  • Reads news headlines and a select few stories
  • Plays one game of solitaire on his phone
  • Makes a light breakfast (smoothie, toast, oatmeal)
  • Plays one move in Words With Friends against Nana C.

There is some overlap in our respective routines, and some rubs.

He insists that I eat more before noon, and I discourage reading anything, especially news items, from a device. Covid arguments, climate concerns, and political clashes will still be around later in the day–why fill your brain with that sludge while greeting the day?

At least he isn’t on social media, so we agree on avoiding that first thing.

The overlaps tap into more general themes:

  • Ritual (teeth brushing, bed making, coffee brewing, tea steeping)
  • Physical activity (yoga, jogging, calisthenics)
  • Mental clearing (meditation, morning pages, journaling)
  • Minor intellectual challenge (news reading, virtual games, also yoga)
  • Addressing physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs

If these hold appeal and make sense to you, choose your own version for the same fix. Scratch those itches in your own way and create some degree of beneficial structure. Over time, you may notice some enhancements in your life.

Try one or two and see how you feel. If they don’t work for you, mix them up! Maybe, like Mr. Robbins, you want to take a cold plunge for some icy mind clearing. Have five dogs like Oprah that you need to take out for a stroll (after brushing les dents, of course)? Or you might prefer to emulate the health-conscious GOAT with some avocados and all things anti-inflammatory.

You do you.

And feel free to let me know what you decide. I’d love to hear about your morning routines! Maybe there’s something I’m missing that could enhance my own start to the day.

Leave a comment and let me know!

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March Fo(u)rth

Today’s date is the only one in the calendar that doubles as a command.

And triples as inspiration. March forth, my friends. Carry on. You got this!

According to Urban Dictionary, my primary resource for nearly everything:

This day is “A holiday where you work towards achieving your dreams, noted by many to be on March 4/March Forth. This holiday is used as an excuse to make an effort, take a risk, or refuse to let reasons come between you and your goals.”

That is a reminder I could use most days, but especially toward the end of a New England winter.

Shoveling snow is a winter sport in the Northeast.

After months of vitamin D deficiency, seasonal affective disorder, and likely a series of Nor’easters slamming the region with various forms of precipitation (my personal favorite is the innocuous sounding *wintry mix*), I am overdue for some encouragement.

Aren’t we all?

When they are built into the date, I take heart in knowing that mud season, and then spring, are nigh. That means daylight savings, seasonal allergies, and Marathon Monday are just around the corner.

Nope, I am not preparing to run in the Boston Marathon, but I do view goal-setting as a proverbial marathon for which I am constantly training.

It is, rather, a calendar landmark. Tax Day. A turning point. The unofficial start of spring. Hope is in the air, along with the pollen.

In my last post, I wrote about goals and asked you about yours. Have you thought about them? If not, today is the day to start.

My biggest goal this week, like every week since 2021 commenced, has been to write. Guess what, I have been doing that every day this week. I even managed to eke out a blog post revolving around an Urban Dictionary reference.

If I can do that, you can inch toward your own goals–whether for the year, the month of March, the week, or even just another winter Thursday.

Easier said than done? Need a nudge in the right direction?

  • Make your goals SMART
  • Enlist the help of an accountability buddy
  • Step outdoors for some fresh air and natural sunlight
  • Take action toward your goal, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant
  • Have fun! Life is too important to be taken seriously.

Over time, you will want to weed out the time and energy wasters. Even the seemingly innocuous ones (Instagram scrolling, anyone?) may be sabotaging your efforts more than you think. Today, no matter how big you’re thinking, you can start small.

Remember: This is a marathon, not a sprint.

For a handy list, check out this article about the 8 Things Successful People Never Waste Time Doing.

Use this March Fo(u)rth *holiday* to work toward achieving your dreams and refusing to let reasons come between you and your goals.

If you can’t trust the wisdom of Urban Dictionary, then what can you trust?

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Goal: Not Just 4-Letter Word

If you’re reading this, you survived 2020 too.

Congratulations! That was no small feat. Now what?

Two months into the new year I am finally getting my shit together enough to tackle some resolutions goals. You can do it too. Even if you’re an essential worker and your goal is to get vaccinated before home-schooled kindergarteners, you can start to take steps toward realizing that dream.

Feeling less ambitious? Maybe your goal is to get out of bed before noon and successfully manage a change of clothing.

Awesome. I’ve been there. I know the feeling.

Perhaps you have limited spoons to spare these days, and just don’t have enough to care about the same things you prioritized before Covid-19 took a dump on everyone’s party.

If you have no idea what that means, here’s a quick reference on The Spoon Theory, coined by Christine Miserandino. (More on that in a future post.)

Where do you tend to use your spoons? It’s a question worth pondering, and one I ask myself regularly.

My spoons have been spent largely on a modest handful of activities since the start of 2021. I operate at my best when focused on 3-5 things, usually covering the four areas of well-being: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.

If that paragraphs sounds obnoxiously woo-woo to you, it might be. It’s also true, so just chill on the judgments and keep reading…

My goal list these days is short and simple (not to be mistaken for easy):

  • Practice yoga for 30 minutes each morning
  • Meditate for 10 minutes before bed each night
  • Write

The first two are straightforward and more specific than the third one. They are also more self-contained and narrower in focus.

Morning Yoga

My yoga practices of choice run the gamut, and may not be your forte, but hear me out–you’ve made it this far into the post so you may as well finish it, and enjoy the stock photos breaking up the paragraphs. Regular stretching and focused breathing could make your pandemic experience more tolerable. They have transformed mine (more on that in a later post–gotta stagger these gems).

My current yoga favorites are kundalini and vinyasa. Wha-? Ok, to grossly oversimplify them: think white garb and sanskrit chanting with a blissed-out feeling at the end; and power moves like plank and chaturanga, also with a blissed out feeling at the end. See a theme here?

This is not a yoga blog per se, so if you want more in-depth descriptions, check out one of these other blogs.

In lieu of proper studio sessions, my go-to pandemic classes include anything on YouTube that’s free and an app called Down Dog Yoga, for which I paid a $25 annual subscription fee starting in August. That’s less than the monthly fee at my gym, which I haven’t been able to frequent in months.

I prefer budget activities, especially ones that I could, in theory, practice in the comfort of my own home. Or outside on a canyon ledge during sunset, safely away from other people.

Not me. My tree pose is more accurate and easier on the knee joints.

A friend of mine whose mother is from India has told me that she views yoga as a white-girl sport in North America. I laughed at the time, but I also see that she isn’t wrong. The popularity of Yoga With Adriene and Brett Larkin Yoga, my two white-girl yogis of choice these days only underscores that assessment. They both aim to make yoga more accessible to practitioners of all levels, backgrounds, genders, whatever. Yoga for all. Namaste.

If you want some practical sequences, energizing kriyas, challenging asanas, and optional chanting, check out these gals. I have no personal connection to them, nor do they compensate me for my endorsement (but I’m open to offers), but their videos have helped ease my way through another dreary New England winter. For that I am grateful, and I would like to share the optimism.

Evening meditation

Brett Larkin also provides chakra-focused meditations, which complement her yoga series. If you prefer a more no-nonsense, broga approach to transcendental meditation (TM), then give Sam Harris a shot. His monotonic voice calms as he creates mental space for connection. And one of his YouTube meditation images is this.

Sam Harris and his technicolor countenance lull me to sleep.


That last goal–writing–is more general than the other two. There are a few reasons for that, the primary one of which is that I have no shortage of topics, ideas, stories, and various media brewing at any one time. Sitting my arse down to focus, carve out time for my craft, and deliberately create something of interest and substance (ideally both, and ideally for an audience as well as for myself), however, has been elusive.

In 2021, “writing” has included journaling, personal memoir, a work-related book that has been on hold, and blogging (obvi). Like many a fellow writer and goal setter, distractions have thwarted the bulk of my efforts. My revenge has been using that as fodder for today’s post.

Joyce Carol Oates teaches a Masterclass about writing, and in the ad she identifies the biggest enemy of writers: interruptions.

She says, “The great enemy of writing isn’t your own lack of talent. It’s being interrupted…by other people. Constant interruptions are the destruction of the imagination.”

Modern life is composed of one interruption or distraction after another. Reaching your goals depends on recognizing this phenomenon and transcending it. For me, it’s a daily battle, and one from which I do not always arise victorious. But setting three simple (not easy) goals and focusing on them day after day has helped me tune out the distractions, slowly but surely. They never disappear. The aim is to coexist and get to work despite their presence.

Procrastination is real. Resistance is oppressive, even (and often) self-imposed. Delays are nearly inevitably. Inertia is common. But giving up is optional.

Some days I bang out 2000 words on a rough draft of a book idea I have been pondering for years, inspired by decades of true life events. I’m not bragging, I promise. It’s just what happens, and it comes at a cost. I may not speak to other living humans on those days, or I may not venture outside.

Other days I jot down three blog ideas in an old-school journal that my mother gave me for my birthday. Last year, not, like, when I turned ten. Although, come to think of it, she likely got me a journal for my tenth birthday too.

Yes, this is the actual journal. No, I’m not in middle school.

Anyway, that’s it–three ideas, and not always complete or coherent ones. Today’s brainstorming session included these gems:

  • February is like coming down from a psychedelic trip
  • Am I an introvert, or just a tired extrovert?
  • The importance of accountability buddies when embarking on a new creative venture

Those million-dollar ideas and this blog post are today’s accomplishments under the “Writing” goal, and that has to be enough, because the day is nearly done.

And, yes, I still met my daily goal. I wrote. In fact, I PUBLISHED my first post in months. I slayed the dragon of resistance. I’m going to get up and attempt to slay another tomorrow. Because that is how this shit works. It’s hard, it’s painful, it’s dirty. And it’s totally worth the effort.

You may know that quote (mis?)attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Whether Papa said that or not is up for debate, but the essence of the message is not. Writing is suffering, yet the suffering of not writing is worse. Not a writer? Fill in the blank. What are you avoiding or putting off that is causing you to suffer?

  • Painting
  • Filing taxes
  • Working out
  • Organizing your home
  • Cutting back on drinking (or eating sugar, smoking pot, swearing, playing video games, watching TV, scrolling social media and feeling inferior)
  • Literally ANYTHING in your life you want to do

Most days, but not all, I choose the lesser of two pains, and know that doing so is a worthwhile goal. Mind you, I did not say an easy, stress-free, or always accomplished goal. But definitely worthwhile.

Don’t believe me?

Try it. Every day for a week. Then every day for another week. I’m in the trenches with you, even if your goal is to start a scrapbook or master the art of ikebana.

What are your goals? I’d like to hear about them. Sharing mine with my accountability buddies, and with you, have helped me continue with the daily practice of reaching them. Even if I only close my eyes, touch my toes, and jot down a few fragmented blog post ideas, I feel accomplished. Powerful. Gratified.

Or at least like a slightly better version of myself than I was yesterday.

And that is grand.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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