"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 statistically be 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 Betsy DiJulio, who wears a number of creative hats - High School Art Teacher, Artist, Freelance Writer, Blogger, Food Stylist, and Columnist - in my travels across the Internet in search of folks who make and keep their resolutions. Betsy is a full-time National Board Certified Art Teacher (M.A., Ed.S.) at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She was chosen as the Princess Anne 2009-2010 Teacher Of The Year before being chosen as the 2009-2010 citywide Teacher Of The Year for the Virginia Beach Public School District. As a part-time freelance food/lifestyles/arts writer, and sometimes vegan cooking instructor, Betsy has won several national recipe contests. She writes 'The Veggie Table', a monthly vegan column for the Virginian-Pilot Newspaper (an animal lover, animal rights supporter and SPCA volunteer, Betsy is a longtime vegetarian turned vegan). Betsy and her husband have been married since 1990 and share their home with a pack of beloved canines.
If you would like to get an online taste of her wonderful recipes surf over to her fabulous Blog, 'The Blooming Platter'. On her Blog she describes her 2009 New Year Resolution this way: "My 2009 New Year's resolution was to start this blog as a way of "giving back" to all of the wonderful vegan bloggers and other cooks/chefs out there who have inspired me, taught me so much, and continue to be incredibly generous. I finally got my courage up to "plant the seeds," so please join me frequently as my resolution takes root." [I must admit, I am big fan of the seeds Betsy planted - her resolution has definitely taken root the past year!] [UPDATE: Read Betsy'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?
Betsy DiJulio: I've been known to make New Year's Resolutions, but not always, and not always in January. For teachers, the "New Year" is September. However, my Blog, The Blooming Platter, was the result of a January 2009 New Year's Resolution. Beyond that, though, like most people in the world, I am employed in a goal-oriented environment. As an art teacher, in particular, I live one of my central dreams and passions every day with my wonderful students. But in all aspects of my life - I have a number of other passions - I set daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc. goals to keep me moving forward. They aren't rigid, but I am very serious about them.
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)?
Betsy DiJulio: I was talking about this with a professor-friend recently - that our so-called passions are part of "one creative flow," as he called it. Other than my friends and family, about whom I am passionate, I am completely devoted to my lifetime/longtime interests in teaching students through visual art, as well as my own art and writing about art. I am also deeply committed to the other areas about which I write as a freelancer/blogger: vegan food, animal welfare, a greener environment, and small business development, especially the so-called creative fields. I have concurrent short-term and long-term goals related to each of them.
3. Kim Simpson: What key techniques, or strategies, do you attribute to your success in making your dreams, resolutions and daily goals a reality?
Betsy DiJulio: I don't know what this means exactly, or how it works - or if it works, as opposed to seeming to work - but I use my own home-grown brand of "visualization." The "if you can see it, you can be it" approach. I'm also fairly relentless about achieving success, even on a small level, and that's the 'ole "if at first you don't succeed . . . " approach. Plus, I am completely uninhibited about asking people how to do things better - I have no pride in that regard - and I hope others are uninhibited about asking me, as it is my pleasure to share anything I know.
4. Kim Simpson: What are your primary obstacles and how do you overcome them?
Betsy DiJulio: My primary obstacle is probably the same as everyone's: the resource of time. I don't know how to overcome it other than to probably work too much some of the time; but I'm also efficient, high-energy, focused and organized, at least most of the time. Okay, and I'm a little - maybe a lot - Type A. I'm always thinking ahead and that helps. Dog walking is a great time for planning/strategizing. But I try to be "present in the moment," at least some of the time. :)
5. Kim Simpson: How do you stay motivated, enthusiastic and on track with your plans?
Betsy DiJulio: I think it's important to start out that way, yet be realistic. I also tend not to place all of my eggs in once basket just because I pursue a lot of interests. However, that tendency serves another inadvertent purpose in that when things aren't working out as I'd hoped in one area, they are likely to be perking along in others.
6. Kim Simpson: How do you keep yourself accountable?
Betsy DiJulio: My husband once told a mutual friend that I'm the most driven person he knows. I don't know about that, but I do hold myself to a higher standard than I hold most everyone else, yet I don't think I take myself too seriously.
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?
Betsy DiJulio: I can't imagine pouring myself into something I didn't enjoy, but I think we have to be cognizant of our "bad habits," and work to change them, or minimize their negative effect. They're not called "bad" for nothing. :)
8. Kim Simpson: Does pursuing a passion (dream/resolution) bring a sense of joy, accomplishment and reward?
Betsy DiJulio: Absolutely. But I think it's rare that such a pursuit isn't also layered with other emotions at times: anxiety, doubt, disappointment, and the like. But those "negative" emotions aren't necessarily all negative. Sometimes they are the impetus to keep pushing.
9. Kim Simpson: What is your most significant achievement, and/or most memorable outcome of the journey so far?
Betsy DiJulio: I guess it would have to be being chosen, after a rigorous selection process - and only 4.5 years of teaching - as my large district's Teacher Of The Year for 2009-2010. It's certainly the most tangible and the most public.
10. Kim Simpson: Any advice for someone who is thinking about pursuing a dream?
Betsy DiJulio: Use your heart and your head. Be realistic, smart and strategic, but take calculated risks. And remember the "Six Degrees Of Separation" adage: you are only six people away from anyone you need to access in order to help make your dream a reality.
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 - October 26, 2009
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