#my500words challenge

writer's block - crushed and crumpled paper on...

(Photo credit: photosteve101)

New Year’s resolutions are pretty useless for most of us because we start each new year with the best of intentions, but fall off the path by the end of January. In 2013, I did something a little different, and picked three words that I wanted to embody with the decisions that I made throughout the course of the year. Choosing three words instead of resolutions made it a little easier for me to accept my humanness, this process made it easier to “fail”. Using three words to guide my decision-making defined my existence as a work in progress, ultimately; the words helped light the path to person I wanted to become. This year I have decided to continue the tradition of choosing three words, but you are going to have to come back and read my next post to learn about my three words for 2014.  For the rest of this post I want to talk about two challenges that I am undertaking this year.  I’m not totally sure where I am going with these, but I’m sure I will have some good stories to tell along the way.

Challenge #1

My first challenge is to run 500 miles in 2014. I first found out about this movement via Twitter when I discovered the hashtag #500in2014. After further investigation, I realized the movement was supported by a ton of educators. My first run of  2014 was amazing, and I ran 3.3 miles, shattering several of my personal bests. Fast forward 24 hours, New England gets hit with a massive snowstorm, and I fall off the wagon on day #2. Although missing my run yesterday was disheartening, I was reminded of a powerful lesson.

Just because obstacles are placed in our way, doesn’t mean we can give up on our goal. Yes, there is almost a foot of snow on the ground, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find another way to achieve my running goal. I must run 500 miles in 2014, giving up is not an option. I’ve committed to the #500in2014 community, and I will look to them for motivation. I’m sure many of them are out there braving the storm, and I can too!

Challenge #2

My second challenge was initiated by Jeff Goins via Twitter, who is building a community of folks that are willing to commit to writing 500 words a day to become a better writer. While I have had aspirations of writing more, I have always succumbed to a fear of failure that has resulted in self-inflicted writers block. Writing is therapeutic, and I often experience a greater focus after typing a few paragraphs. Even as I write this piece, I am not immune to the anxiety that arises when I see the misspelled words underscored in red. This fear is somewhat amusing when I think about it, spell check is a tool, not something or someone that is going to judge my value as a writer. While I like to write, I am not a place where I can confidently call myself a writer. Hopefully Jeff’s challenge will help me grow and become a better writer.  To follow along via Twitter, be sure to follow #my500words.

The biggest draw to these two challenges is the community that comes in tow. With community, comes accountability. But accountability can only take a person so far, and it is important for an individual to find internal motivation. If we are motivated by the reaction of others, we will be unfulfilled and could fail to meet our goal. Fear is my biggest stumbling block, and I must overcome that barrier on my own. I think Chris Brogan says it best, “you are the Super Hero you have been looking for”. In other words, you don’t need anyone’s validation but your own.

Now for the three words of 2014…Come back tomorrow!

Although I started #my500words a few days late, I made up for it today by writing over 1000 words.  You find the rest of today’s work over on my tutoring site, the Quincy Tutor Network.

I look forward to your feedback, let’s connect on Twitter at @EA_Clark.

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