Author / Storyteller / Dreamer

Daily Habits: Then and Now

Then: about 20 years ago.

Keeping on a writing schedule, like a diet, is doubly difficult during the holidays, especially when part of the season you’re on vacation in another part of the country.  I’m told that on average people gain about 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Normal stringent eating habits erode when confronted by so many temptations like fruit cake, homemade fudge and, in my case, family favorites cooked especially for me during a recent visit to Seattle.  Not to mention visiting restaurants like the Space Needle, Chinook’s and Thirteen Coins.  So it’s no wonder that now at the beginning of a new year, I’m re-dedicating myself not only to a better eating program, but also the writing process.

I’m currently reading two very helpful and motivational books.  The first is GOALS! How to Get Everything You Want—and Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy. The second is How Good Do You Want to Be? A Champion’s Tips on How to Lead and Succeed at Work and in Life by Nick Saban.

I’m reading, taking notes and thinking daily about information in both books, especially the qualities necessary to achieve goals.  One thing seems very important—and there are documented studies to support this—is to actually write down one’s goals, not simply to know what they are.  Secondly, not to necessarily tell them to anyone, a practice I’ve implemented already.

Timeless Advice

Reading, digesting and implementing the ideas from the above books may help to encourage and motivate writing discipline, to keep me on track in terms of completing my book but, as one friend recently suggested, the solution may be even simpler.

While in Seattle, I had dinner with two special girlfriends.  Catherine, Mary and I met in high school and went on to attend the University of Washington together, so our friendship predates husbands and children, making it even more precious.

In our late teens and early twenties, the three of us loved to get together and play pinochle and, over the years, Cathy and I have teased Mary that she was always the first to look at her watch and say, “Oops, time to wash my hair.” She has gone onto achieve a great deal in her life since that time, including becoming a professor herself at the University of Washington.

After enjoying a delicious dinner at Catherine’s condo overlooking Elliot Bay, we sat around having coffee and discussing our present lives and eventually the conversation turned to my current book, long overdue and one I’ve struggled to write.  I spoke about the many things that occupy my time each day and Mary listened quietly.  When I finished, she asked me, “Do you brush your teeth every day?”

A simple question.

But one so direct, thought provoking and ultimately hitting at the core truth of the matter.  Now it’s the question—and answer—that is at the forefront of my thinking each day.  My commitment to writing each day is the same as all the daily tasks I routinely perform without angsting over, making excuses for, putting off, or not accomplishing. I just do them.  Without question.

Now, I confess, there are some hectic days when I actually don’t get to brush my teeth until later than usual.  But eventually I find a minute to do so.  And, this January, I’m making writing another daily habit, done without fail.  If it works for me, check the book dedication for Mary’s name!

NOW

No such dedication, so that tells the tale, doesn’t it?

Lots of up and downs over the intervening years and there were times when I successfully met my goals and then times when I didn’t.

None of it seems important to me now.  I would like to eat better, lose weight but if it doesn’t happen I won’t angst over it.  But, I do want to finish a particular book and Mary’s words seem as true today as they did then so I will keep them in mind as I begin a new writing journey.

Or perhaps I should term it as reconstructing my writing.

The best news of all is that Cathy and Mary are still my good friends and we had lunch at a favorite Bellevue, Washington eatery over the 2019 holidays.  And, unlike this writing, when we get together, it’s as if no time has passed!

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