"Do you know where your New Year Resolution is?"
That is an often asked question in the days and months that follow the new year. Statistics show that the majority of resolution-makers eventually abandon their pursuits. During the past five years, as I have studied and practiced what works and what doesn't work, I have encountered scores of passionate people who do persist day-after-day. I coined the word 'Resolutionista' for these folks and the 'resolve' they patiently display: Resolutionistas make resolutions, keep resolutions and enjoy the journey! Borrowing on my years as a working journalist, I am running an inspirational series of interviews with ordinary folks who do extraordinary things. They breathe life into their dreams, resolutions and daily goals, one small step at a time, one day at a time over the long haul. Though they may be statistically in the minority of resolution-makers (the ones who succeed), I want to highlight 'what works', and give them credit for their accomplishments!
I discovered Stephanie O'Dea, AKA 'The Crockpot Lady', early in 2008 during my travels across the Internet in search of folks who make and keep their resolutions. Her 2008 resolution was to use her slow cooker every day and post the recipes and photos documenting the fruits of her labor in a daily blog, 'A Year Of Slow Cooking'. I love using my own 30-year-old slow cooker (my Mother gave it to me at the start of my freshman year in college), so I was an instant fan. According to Stephanie, "I was interested in starting a blog, and knew the only way I'd keep up with it was to vow to do so daily. I was (and still am!) a bit skittish about sharing too much personal information with the Internet, and liked the idea of a food blog. But I'm not a great cook. I pretty much can only slow-cook. The idea for the blog came from that realization, and my resolution was born." As was a book, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book Of Everyday Slow Cooking, soon to be released in October of 2009. [UPDATE: Read Stephanie's 2009 Year End Essay.]
1. Kim Simpson: Do you make New Year Resolutions, or use another method of consistently achieving your dreams and fulfilling your passions, day-to-day?
Stephanie O'Dea: Yes. I consistently write out goals and do to-do lists that I need to work on in order to accomplish my goals. I have 'big dream', 10 year, 5 year, 1 year, and quarterly goals. I tweak and modify as needed. I try my hardest to review my goals weekly and stay on task/focus. There are times I go months without reviewing my goals, and more often than not, I've found that I've met them, or surpassed them, which is a neat surprise.
2. Kim Simpson: What is your primary passion? Is it a lifelong passion, or a more recent interest? What is the focus of your current goal(s)?
Stephanie O'Dea: My family is my primary passion. I love spending time with them making new memories, and many of my goals keep that in mind. I'd like to keep my career as free-flowing as possible, so I can spend time with my growing family. I like to travel and discover new things. Professionally, I like helping people. I really like finding shortcuts around the house and helping others to learn those ways, so they, too, can spend more time with their family. I also like to write. I enjoy playing around with with sentences, and coming up with clear, creative ways to portray my ideas and thoughts. I also like coming up with ad slogans, but I'm not in advertising . . . ;-)
3. Kim Simpson: What key techniques, or strategies, do you attribute to your success in making your dreams, resolutions and daily goals a reality?
Stephanie O'Dea: I find myself thinking a few times a day, "Is this the best utilization of your time?" It keeps me focused and on task. There isn't really much on TV that is useful, and I get annoyed easily with how easily I can get sucked into something that isn't providing value. I like to veg as much as the next person, but I'd prefer to save my TV viewing for fantastic writing, or to learn something.
4. Kim Simpson: What are your primary obstacles and how do you overcome them?
Stephanie O'Dea: Self-doubt. I generally am a pretty positive person, but there are times when I get bogged down with worry and feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes I whine and feel sorry for myself, but I've found if I journal these thoughts, I usually can come full-circle and gain motivation.
5. Kim Simpson: How do you stay motivated, enthusiastic and on track with your plans?
Stephanie O'Dea: I talk with my husband. I try my hardest to not share too much with many people -- people would always prefer to talk about themselves than to listen to others go on and on about their future goals. [Kim: Having people with whom you can share the journey, brainstorm new ideas and overcome obstacles can be enormously helpful when working to generate enthusiasm, results and forward momentum with dreams, resolutions and daily goals.]
6. Kim Simpson: How do you keep yourself accountable?
Stephanie O'Dea: I talk with my husband. This really hasn't been too hard for me. I think about my plans and goals daily.
7. Kim Simpson: Do you think resolution-setters would achieve more success if they focused on their passions - things that they enjoy - rather than a list of bad habits?
Stephanie O'Dea: Absolutely. I seem to always focus on what I can do instead of what I shouldn't. It comes naturally to me, but if it doesn't for others, I'd recommend trying to change the mindset to a more positive one. If you want a child to walk in the house, you ask them to "walk please," you don't ask them "not to run."
8. Kim Simpson: Does pursuing a passion (dream/resolution) bring a sense of joy, accomplishment and reward?
Stephanie O'Dea: Absolutely.
9. Kim Simpson: What is your most significant achievement, and/or most memorable outcome of the journey so far?
Stephanie O'Dea: Getting married and having my children.
10. Kim Simpson: Any advice for someone who is thinking about pursuing a dream?
Stephanie O'Dea: I don't believe any dream is too big. I'd write it down, and then brainstorm about different ways to help get you to where you want to go. Many times, after you actively work toward something (paying off debt, for example) you find that new areas in your life have more harmony, and other fresh and brilliant ideas come to you. It's quite rewarding and a lot of fun to actively be working towards something.
Remember: I Resolve To . . . Achieve My New Year Resolutions, One Resolution, One Day At A Time For One Year. It's your choice. Do it today. Turn your resolution into reality in five simple, common sense steps: Dare To Dream, Decide, Define, Develop A Plan, and Do It Daily. Make your resolution a permanent Lifetime Resolution, something that's with you for good! Above all, Be A Resolutionista, someone who makes resolutions, keeps resolutions, and enjoys the journey! Let's Go For It!
Need More Inspiration? Wear Your Resolution By Visiting The I Resolve To . . . Shop At CafePress: I Resolve To . . . Resolutionista Gear And By Joining The Official I Resolve To . . . Group At Gather.Com.
Kim M. Simpson - July 6, 2009
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