Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness. Brene Brown

Aren’t the new days of New Year’s filled with big plans? We call them resolutions and we make them in our mind even if we aren’t willing to say them out loud. This is the year we are going to… One of the problems with resolutions is when we get right down to it they are about two things, work and change. If things are going to be different, something has to change.

One of the problems most of us have why we don’t follow through on our resolutions is we don’t break them down into “SMART” goals, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. The other problem is, we overestimate what we can do in one year, and underestimate what we can do in ten years.

Some of the time it seems we treat everyone around us better than ourselves. We understand other people not meeting their goals but we berate ourselves. We tell ourselves we have no discipline, we don’t persevere, and we aren’t the achievers of the world. Is that any way to talk to someone we love?

Often there is no one we criticize more than ourselves. We tell ourselves, I won’t do that, I won’t do that, and then we find ourselves doing that thing again. What if we are telling ourselves the wrong thing? What is the thing we do want to do instead of the thing we don’t want to do?

We won’t get up late again becomes, we will get up when the alarm rings. We won’t be so hungry we eat the whole bag of chips becomes we will eat prepared meals at mealtime, and we will have healthy snacks on hand. We won’t waste our evenings watching TV, becomes we will write, paint, dance, sing, play an instrument, go for a walk or whatever activity we want to do in the evening. We need to quit telling ourselves all the negative things we don’t want to do and start telling ourselves the positive things we do want to do. We need to quit setting ourselves up for failure.

Why do we set ourselves up for failure? There must be a payoff. The payoff might be, if we never do this thing we say we must do, then we never have to face something else. One day I was listening to a very accomplished woman on YouTube. She said, “Don’t think I’m special, because when you do, it means you don’t expect as much from yourself.” When we tell ourselves that person is “Special” they are so talented, they are so lucky, smart, etc. We are giving ourselves an excuse to not step up in our own lives and make our own dreams come true. It is true there are talented people out there, but perseverance often outweighs talent.

Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do. Brene Brown

We sell ourselves short when we think other people are so much more than us, but it takes the pressure off because we tell ourselves we can’t, instead of we aren’t. What could we do, if we decided to do it? What is the, “It” in our life? The “It” that when we accomplish it we feel we have hit a milestone in our life we can be proud of.

For me, that was publishing my novel “Secrets and Silence.” Is it the best book ever written? Absolutely not, but it is published and available for purchase as a print and Ebook, or read as a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. I wanted to write my whole life, then why has it taken me this long to publish a novel? Why when I wrote my first novel starting October 9, 2000, and wrote 85,000 words did I put it away and never consider editing it to become publishable? It is a convoluted mess I am proud of, but I haven’t done anything with it. I am actually more proud of it than the one I published because it started me off as a writer. A writer that wrote almost every day, and a writer that persevered to the end of a first draft.

Editing that novel would have meant I had to put myself out there. I had to call myself a writer and have people read my work and judge it. Why have I been so hard on myself? I have twenty years of being a writer behind me even though I only published one novel that was started in 2012. It took me eight years to get it ready to put out into the world. A big part of that eight years was getting me ready, not the book.

What was I afraid of? Maybe part of what I was afraid of is that my world might change more than I wanted it to. It would take up the time I needed to give to my family. At least that sounds noble, so I’ll go with it.

I have feared putting my work out for public scrutiny. I didn’t hang any of my paintings on the walls of my own house until a few years ago.

What has changed? Becoming a Toastmaster first in 1986 and then again in 2016 has made a huge difference in my life. When we watch others struggle to find their voice it makes our own struggle to find ours, okay.

We are all struggling. We all have things about ourselves we aren’t proud of. We all make mistakes, and wish we’d made different decisions along the way. We are here, how can we make this a great year?

Where do storytellers find the wisdom to discover their own stories? From no place more mysterious than their own hearts. Marion Dane Bauer

Your life is a story, what’s done is done. Where it goes from here is totally up to you. Write your own ending. Unknown

Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined. Unknown

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Thank you to everyone that reads my novel Secrets and Silence and a special thank you to those who leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the picture and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.