The word b-r-a-k-e is the word for those things on our cars, buses, trains, roller skates, and bicycles that mechanically reduce the speed at which we are traveling. The word b-r-e-a-k means to separate something into pieces.
B-r-e-a-k can also be used casually to refer to a brief time of rest, as in “to take a break.” Our McDonald’s generation has grown up with “you deserve a break today” in their mental jukeboxes, and the results are starting to show. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break – at the right time and the right place. But put too many breaks together and you end up with the “brakes” on your life.
Have you ever driven your car with the emergency brake engaged? Sometimes it takes a second to figure out where that drag is coming from. You check your gauges, your gears, slap yourself in the noggin and let off the brake. Apply the same principle to discover what keeps you from DOING what it is you want to do but just can’t seem to get done.
For myself of late, it’s a bad case of procrastination. I procrastinate early morning exercise because my body resists the pain of those first 10 minutes of cardio. That leaves me in exercise garb and accompanying bedhead most of the day. Is that a bad thing? For me it is, because it makes me feel like I’ve wasted half my day. Or I procrastinate housework because I “don’t feel like it.” Does anyone ever feel like doing housework? Since when is that a good reason? I procrastinate sewing and craft projects because I don’t want to get out all the stuff I’ll need. Or I procrastinate writing because I doubt my ability, I fear failure, and don’t want to argue with my annoying internal editor.
What about you? Identify what keeps you away from your goal. It could be procrastination, or fear, or laziness, or feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances. What are you afraid of? Are you “lazy” because you’re exhausted from not taking proper care of yourself? Do you feel overwhelmed because you’ve been avoiding that pile of mail, dust bunnies in the corner (dust puppies at our house, since they are made almost entirely of dog hair), or Himalayan mountain range of laundry and ironing downstairs?
I’m participating in American Christian Fiction Writers’ NovelTrack during the month of July. I’ve set a personal goal of completing 30,000 words on my current manuscript. That’s 1,000 words a day for 30 days.
I’m considering it a kick-myself-in-the-pants program. If I were a paid professional writer, I’d expect to put in at least that much a day, at the bare minimum!
To accomplish that goal, I have to define my priorities for the month. If I don’t make writing a priority, I can’t expect the results of a writer. Duh. Sounds simple, but we do this sort of thing all the time. If we don’t make eating healthy food in reasonable portions a priority in our lives, splurges follow binges and we end up blaming everything but what we’ve put in our mouths for the resulting weight gain.
Now that you know what’s most important to you, outline your ideal schedule. Choose an average day, give yourself time to sleep (I once had a “perfect” schedule that allowed me to complete my entire to-do list, but only left three hours for sleeping), time to prepare food and eat it in a relaxed posture (not standing in front of the pantry or in the car on the way to somewhere), time to bathe, time to care for pets, interact with family members, exercise, run errands, whatever you consider non-negotiable for your daily schedule. Fill in the remaining blanks (no matter how few there seem to be) with the things you really, truly desire to accomplish.
If you want the results of a _____________ ,
you must DO what a ____________ does.
How would you fill the blanks in the above statement? Does your new schedule agree with that statement?