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.