Fake it ’til you make it



[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

I heard a counselor once explain that actions precede feelings. Which means you must follow through with an action before the hoped-for or expected emotion takes root. Put into practice, it may look like this: you’re invited to join a group of people at a party. You don’t want to go, but your best friend asks you to be her “date.” Not mentioning you’d rather stay home and wash the dog, you join your friend because it’s important to her. You have a decent time, however, so when you’re invited to hang out again, you agree more readily. During the next party, you relax a bit more and end up having a blast. You faked it until you made it. Sometimes it takes a while before the feelings catch up with the actions but, the more you practice, the easier it gets … until one day your actions and the resulting emotions are completely natural. At least that’s the plan.

Have you faked it until you made it?

The littlest of blessings

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At the beginning of 2013, I pulled out a jar from the cupboard and placed it in plain view. The plan was for my family to jot down things we’re grateful for throughout the year and add these slips of paper to the jar. On New Year’s Eve, we’re supposed to read the notes and reflect on all of the blessings we received. Not unlike a clean slate on Jan. 1, an empty jar leaves so much room for possibilities. Glancing at the jar as I write this, I’m disappointed to see only a few pieces of paper scattered across the bottom. Although I know I’ve forgotten to write down some of the “good” things over the past 11 months, overall it’s been a challenging year. Consequently, the few slips of paper we’ll review at the end of December are that much more precious. And it makes me determined to recognize even the littlest of blessings I receive in 2014.

Has it been a “good” year for you?

A commitment to start

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A commitment to start

[Image credit: Idea go]

With a little more than a month remaining until 2014, I’ve been reflecting on the past year. Professionally speaking, I had one goal: to write a book. The most concise writing advice I’ve ever read is: start small, join a writing class and/or writer’s group and try to write every day. So I am, I did and I do. But life is a roller coaster and, for the writer, writing is an extension of that life. Which means the best laid plans are oftentimes crammed with detours. For example, mid-year my family ran into a snag. My daughter and I became estranged and didn’t speak for a month. We were stuck, like the proverbial writer’s block. However, applying that same (writing) advice to our situation, I started out small. I relied on friends and family for support. And now she and I try to communicate daily. Although we cannot avoid life’s roadblocks, we can make a commitment to start wherever we are.

What are you committed to start?