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Don’t Do It Alone

I wanted to write something "important" today, something meaningful and useful. I wanted to talk about how possibly my favorite way of getting things done is to get involved in a group of people doing what I'm doing. Groups and challenges and classes with regular lessons and groups where people share--all of these help me keep going on goals I might quit if I was working completely on my own. I'm really motivated by externals. I love stickers on my exercise calendar, coloring in dots on a habit tracker, reporting my progress and sharing my work in a group. All of these keep me moving.

I feel like I just said everything, but this seems really short for a blog post, so here are I few more thoughts about this. I'm going to focus on finding an ongoing group for something you want to give regular time to. I also jump in on groups for 30 day challenges and things like that all the time; they're lots of fun and I learn a lot of new things that way, but right now I'm thinking about more sustainable group work.

Finding a Group:

  • A critique group is not the same as a support group to help you get things done. Critiquing is for when you're ready to polish things up. Critique too early can stop you in your tracks, so watch out for what kind of group you're getting into
  • Productivity groups can be helpful, but if everyone's only about checking things off and reporting what they've done and nothing more you might not get the encouragement you're looking for to do your work. Experiment and find out if it works for you.
  • It can be especially helpful if you're participating with people who are doing the same thing you are. For example, I participate in The 100 Day Project, and I love it (I get to color in circles on my tracker, and I report via Instagram every day so there's accountability), but I find that I'm most revved up and get things done easier for things like NaNoWriMo where I'm in there with people doing the same thing I'm doing.
  • Be willing to leave a group. This can be hard, especially if it's a small group. You might feel obligated to stay and help others. If it's not helping you move forward on your path, if it's making you feel stressed out, if you feel like "oh no, time to check in again," leave. Give yourself permission to leave if you need to, if it's not working for you.

I guess this comes down to something we know but maybe don't always pay enough attention to. Look for your people, the ones who are doing what you do, are interested in what you do, support you in what you do. Your people will cheer you on, pull you forward, help you reach your goals. They will help you drown out the voices saying to give up, you can't do this, it's pointless. Your people will tell you those voices are wrong, and they'll help you prove it. Find them, stand with them, succeed with them.


12 thoughts on “Don’t Do It Alone

  1. Renee

    I appreciate this post. A lot. Online groups have affected my mental health in the past and now I am cautious. There are some groups that encourage me and energize my creative spirit. Those are the groups that I enjoy the most.

    1. Kim

      I think we have to be cautious about who we let put things into our head. That's very wise! Those good groups that encourage and energize, though--pure gold!

  2. Samm Starrs

    100% being part of a group, having those external prompts and encouragement to keep going, seeing other people doing their thing, keeping accountable by way of all of that, sometimes that is the only way I get stuff done! I always appreciate communal journeying through a project 🙂

    1. Kim

      "Communal journeying." I absolutely love this phrase! I have to write that down. 🙂

  3. Sue Blott

    I agree--so important to find the right group of people who will support and encourage as needed. Julia Cameron calls these our 'believing mirrors' and they're priceless--when and if we find them!

    1. Kim

      "Believing mirrors." That's beautiful. I hadn't run across that before--thank you!

  4. Donna

    Oh how perfect this is!
    Being part of the blog group, I'm finding so many great pages to read, but I'm spending all day online reading, then I worry about my page, who's looking, is anyone looking, I'm part of a group I shouldn't be worrying, is being part of the group enough.
    Funnily enough I have, without trying almost finished the 100 day project, but as I didn't mark off the posts on Instagram I feel it doesn't count... But it does because my tracker says it does.
    Thank you!

    1. Kim

      I understand this! I want to read them all. But I'm limiting myself to 3-4 a day because otherwise I know I'll stress myself out. But it's hard!

      And your 100 days absolutely count! It's your project, so you get to decide what counts. Way to go on already making it more than halfway!

  5. Cheryl Turtlemoon

    Oh interesting post! I actually am allergic to groups, I find them stressful, so I tend not to do things involving others (and there I am in the blog-along group!) however I totally get what you’re saying. I use my planner for accountability. 🙂

    1. Kim

      So smart, knowing what works for you! And there are often exceptions, so that must be what the blog-along group is for. 🙂

  6. Nicole

    I appreciate this. I’ve started looking at groups and online projects a little more critically these days. I’m going to take a deep breath tomorrow and do a Marie Kondo of my Facebook groups.

    1. Kim

      It's so easy to jump in on everything that looks fun or interesting, and then suddenly we're buried. I think I need to follow your example about the FB groups.

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