Fate Up Against Your Will?

I’ll be honest. I was leery of posting this– because it will have to make me more accountable. But I’ll get to that.

The title of this piece is a line from an Echo and the Bunnymen song, “The Killing Moon.” It got me thinking on the way to work today.

How much do you consider your will? For me, it is an ever-present entity, and one I constantly struggle with in many ways. I blame my will, or willpower, for the weight issues I’ve had a good portion of my life. I’m the first to admit that some chicken and waffles or a Tart ‘n’ Juicy IPA are nigh impossible for me to refuse. Often, I blame my lack of willpower when it comes to these decisions.

But this is a paradoxical idea, for I know with certainty that I have a strong will. I push myself. I relish challenges. I work two jobs—one to pay bills (mostly) and the other because I love teaching others about language.

So what’s the problem otherwise? Why don’t I want to challenge myself to deal with this weight thing once and for all? It’d be easy to blame it on fate and say to myself, “It’s just going to be like this.” But I’ve done that before, and don’t want to do it again.

I tried to come up with a list to guide me. Let’s get to basics here:

Step One: Make a goal that motivates you.

What will your goal be? More exercise? A vacation to someplace you’ve always wanted to see? To reconnect with a loved one?

Step Two: Make the goal specific and measurable.

Don’t make it too broad—the more specific it is, the easier to will be to keep track of it. And think about how you can measure your goal. Think about what will show you your progress.

Step Three: Make it relevant and attainable.

A relevant goal makes sense. Have it be something you actually want in your life as change. Yet don’t make it so daunting it’s not achievable. If it’s not attainable, start with a smaller first goal as a step to the bigger one.

Step Four: Give yourself a time limit.

This is a challenge, and there’s nothing like an approaching deadline to keep you on track.

Step Five: Make yourself accountable.

Write it down. Consider keeping a journal of your progress. Or mark that deadline on a calendar and note each day what progress you’re making towards the end goal.

Step Six: Delineate your plan.

When you write the goal down, add in what things you need to accomplish the goal within your time frame. Or put it as a reminder in your phone’s calendar. Do what you have to in order to keep track of what’s happening.

Step Seven: Stick to it.

Make yourself keep track of the goal—even if it’s only for a few minutes each day. Write down successes. Track struggles so you can watch out for them as the process continues, and learn how to try to counteract them. Leave motivational quotations related to your goal in your phone’s reminders or in your journal. Do what you have to do to keep from slipping up.

Will you have slip-ups? Undoubtedly. We are all a work in progress. However, increasing our consciousness of how to improve ourselves is part of the idea, and knowing these things should help you cultivate strategies to keep working towards other goals in the future, too.

Set that goal for improvement.

No more letting fate have its way with us.

Marcie is a bilingual caseworker by day, a university adjunct by night, and an aspiring writer at times in between. An import to NEPA, she has been active in the arts for many years from theatre to forensics to music. Her interest in the arts continues as founder of Ink, an area writer’s group, a founding member of Voce Angeli (NEPA’s only all-female chamber choir), and as a columnist for Thirty-Third Wheel. She loves all things Pittsburgh, particularly the University of Pittsburgh where she earned her Master of Arts in Linguistics. She lives in Scranton with her handsome husband, Pete, and their horde of cats: Napoleon, Gimli, King Ajax, Sam, and Dean.

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