Hi everyone! Time for another ROW80 update, what a fantastic and busy week. Back on the 17th many of you expressed an interest in the Buddy System that Kerry Meacham and I mentioned, so I’ve included a guest post I did recently on this subject following my normal update. I hope you enjoy it.
- The WIP, Virtual Perihelion, expanded by 3968 words this week, well over my goal. I’ve spent my time expanding on key points of my story worlds design and the backgrounds of my key players. Starting over the next week, I’ll be narrowing this down to two fine points: 1) The key structure of the plot (applying the lessons I’ve learned from Story Engineering, Plot & Structure, Save the Cat and a few other resources); 2) Character Bio’s to flesh out my protagonist, allies and antagonist “death squad” (insert maniacal laughter here if you wish).
- I had a 26 day streak going on 750words.com and missed yesterday due to life. Sigh. So to make sure I don’t miss again, I’ve signed up for the August challenge on that site, 30 days straight or I go to the Wall of Shame. I WILL NOT go on that wall. Wish me luck.
- Overtime at the day job killed my reading time over the past week but I did manage to get to page 34 in Character, Emotion and Viewpoint (Nancy Kress). I’m loving this book and picking up a host of great character development information. I have a couple of hours blocked out today that should put me close to the midpoint of the book.
- I have 3 expansion posts queued now and 3 more in process, so I’m back on track here. Thanks, Kerry.
- The treadmill went well this week. I’m controlling the walks myself and making sure I get a good sweat in every time. My middle age man gut is receding at a healthy pace and I haven’t felt this good in years. Yay for exercise!
That’s all for the official update. If you have a few minutes and are interested in some of the potential in the Buddy System, I’d encourage you to stick around and read the below post. Either way, have a great day and I hope your weeks are great ones!
The Power of the Buddy System
Sharing our goals is one key element to achieving them. When we set private goals it is easy to justify letting them slip away due to a host of reasons. Children, work, spouses, car issues, yard work, house tasks and the general chaos of daily life can intrude and steal our dreams from us. This is why sharing our goals publicly and making ourselves accountable to a trusted friend are such powerful tools in protecting our desired direction in life.
My good friend, Kerry Meacham and I are ROWbro’s, a.k.a. Accountability Partners. Our partnership has proven to be mutually beneficial. Here are three key areas where the Buddy System guards us.
1) The Buddy System Guards Us from Impulsive Goals.
We can fail at our goals in many ways. One of the greatest though is through not planning and considering our goals before we set them. Impulsiveness can kill our chances of success.
When I first decided to take the ROW80 challenge, twenty great ideas fired through my mind all vying for attention. Obviously, I couldn’t indulge all of them, after all one does have to sleep and live life. After toning down the mass to what I thought were eight reasonable goals, I sent them to Kerry to gain his advice and he did the same with his goals.
Kerry is a master goal setter and he challenged most of my initial goals. This helped me to refine some, drop others that didn’t need to be stated (as they were things I was already doing) and made me consider the merits and boundaries of each goal realistically.
The second time I stated the goals they were no longer impulsive. They were thought out in detail, considering all the things on my plate and so far I’ve been able to achieve each weekly goal as a result, with one exception that I’ll get to in a later point.
Our best intentions can sometimes have bad results but by working with a buddy we provide a check to impulsive motivations and drives.
2) The Buddy System Motivates Us Through the Rough Spots.
No matter how well designed our goals are or how motivated we may be to achieve them there will always be hard days, hard weeks and moments of frustration. When these moments come along, nothing motivates us more than knowing that we have a friend out there who is cheering for us and struggling along the same path.
One of my goals was to get into better shape. My wife and I bought a treadmill a couple of years ago, she is dedicated to using it, while I’ve found a myriad of reasons why I don’t have time. Weight gain and a decline in energy made me decide I needed to find the time, but still, it was the easiest thing in my daily schedule to give up. How to keep myself motivated became a major question.
By stating my goal to both my wife (the ultimate buddy) and my partner, Kerry, I was now accountable to two people that I respect and didn’t want to disappoint. Over the last three weeks I’ve actively planned and guarded my walking times because of this. The results: I have more energy throughout my days, better concentration and I’m watching my weight shrink, one walk at a time.
If you know you have an area where you have never been able to maintain motivation, nothing helps more then having a couple of people to be accountable to.
3) When Failure Seems Likely Our Buddies Offer an Objective View.
It is often difficult to be objective about the things we want and desire when failure seems imminent. The best protection against the lack of objectivity that comes with frustration and distress is a friend who cares and has the benefit of a neutral view.
I mentioned earlier that one of the goals I had set gave me difficulty. So much so, that after the first two weeks I was ready to drop it. The goal was to have fifteen blog posts ready in queue. Five for my regular series and ten for a planned posting expansion. Doing this would allow me some breathing room for those weeks when I needed to be concentrated on my work-in-progress or when life decided to spin a storm of chaos into my schedule. The goal was ambitious but manageable, except that I also had placed a qualifier on it as to when I wanted each of the types done. This turned out to be the difficulty.
Stressed and sure I was about to fail at my goal, I wrote Kerry and explained the situation. I listed the reasons why I felt I should abandon the goal. Sure, I didn’t want to. I hate to give up on anything that has a benefit and having those posts sitting there ready to go, weeks in advance, would definitely be beneficial in the long run.
Kerry is a cool guy. He didn’t buy into my justifications, instead he challenged them and me. In the end, he showed me by his response that what I needed was a change, not a failure. I took his advice and adjusted my goal accordingly. Once again I was moving forward, thanks to the neutral objectivity of my buddy.
I would encourage all ROW80 members to find a buddy, a partner, a friend in the group, at home, or wherever you choose. Having an accountability partner is mutually beneficial to both and a surefire way to press through to our goals and improve our lives.