Being Thankful For What Counts

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
I don’t normally wear two fitness trackers but I was conducting an experiment.

See, my older fitness tracker had a broken strap and a syncing snafu, so I decided to buy a new one. And the new one was practically perfect in every way; the strap was fine and it synced beautifully. But had I somehow turned into a slug? Because with my older tracker, I was hitting my step count by early evening but suddenly, early evening would ease into late evening and I wouldn’t be even halfway to my goal. And after a couple of days of wearing the two trackers, it became obvious that my older tracker counted every single step—and then some—whereas the new tracker required consecutive steps at a certain level of exercise-worthiness to start counting.

So why am I talking about fitness trackers? Because I wanted, on this eve of the eve of Thanksgiving, to make a point about comparison. To wit: I was perfectly happy with my new tracker until my experiment. Once I compared the two trackers, I was disappointed and downright annoyed, and yet, the new tracker did what it was supposed to do—and more importantly, what I needed it to do.

I looked at that new tracker and shook my head, thinking of my favorite quote, the one by Theodore Roosevelt: Comparison is the thief of joy.

And I wonder, here at the end of November, how many of us are comparing ourselves to all those writers participating in NaNoWriMo and feeling disappointed and downright annoyed with ourselves because we haven’t reached that 50,000 word goal? When maybe, just looking at our own personal goals for this writing challenge, we’ve achieved exactly what we wanted, or more importantly, what we needed to get done.

Or maybe we’re looking at our writing career as the year winds down and comparing ourselves to writer friends (or members of our critique group or basically every other writer we sort of know) who’ve achieved what we consider far greater success in 2019. When, if we just objectively look at what we personally wanted to achieve for 2019, we can feel pretty impressed with what we’ve accomplished in a year.

The thing is, success is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, especially in the world of creatives. So join me this Thanksgiving and let’s be thankful for who we are. Resist the temptation to make comparisons, and focus instead on what’s been achieved, on the accomplishments made. I know I feel better and I guarantee you’ll find more joy in your writing life, and for that matter, life in general.

(And P.S. I’m just wearing one fitness tracker these days, the newer one. It’s fine the way it is, and that’s what really counts, right?)

~Cathy C. Hall wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--Comparing ourselves to others hardly ever does any good. I'm in a writing group with a very prolific writer--you know who she is--and if I live to be a 1,000 years old, I'll never catch up to her, publication-wise.

I'm competing with ME. I'm comparing my current writing progress to my writing progress last year.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. (You know, if you make lots of frequent trips to the fridge for Thanksgiving leftovers, your fitness tracker will keep track of those steps. ;)

Carie Juettner said...

Great post! Thank you for this important reminder, and Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

"Resist the temptation to make comparisons, and focus instead on what’s been achieved, on the accomplishments made."


Can we file these comparisons with the need to look at our accomplishments for the decade? Decade? Is this strictly essential?


Cathy C. Hall said...

Yep, Sioux, NO ONE can keep up with that particular prolific writer! :-) But I know how hard you work so I sure hope you're impressed with yourself!

And thanks, Carie! As long as my local grocery store is around to fix the turkey, I'll manage a happy Thanksgiving! :-)

Barbara Barth said...

A lovely post for Thanksgiving. I've been hard on myself this year on many fronts feeling I needed to do more, especially with my health issues in February breaking my right elbow and surgery which slowed down my entire life for six weeks. Yet it was a great six weeks because my friends and neighbors brought food and took me to doctor's appointments. I had more company in my house and it was awesome. Finally got my new book launched a year late and am back on track, but doing what I need to do, not what I want to do to feel I'm pacing with others. Thanks for your reminder. Now I have something else to think about. Is it time for a fitness tracker? Happy Thanksgiving.

Pat Wahler said...

Truth is, if I stop whining and apply myself, I'd get a lot more done. My own worst enemy, that's what I am.

Nicole Pyles said...

Oh 100%. Oddly I pretty much met my writing goals this year (they were very reasonable and obtainable) and now I feel bad I didn't push myself enough. But that shouldn't be! I'm glad for this post and it reminds me to be thankful for where I'm at today and how far I've come.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Cathy, I love this post. Thank you so much for this, and I am pretty happy with my year. I finally put my work out there, submitted and published personal creative work after not doing that for almost fifteen years, was nominated for a couple awards, and I'm at 27k for NaNo when I only planned on 25, and I actually like what I wrote. Woo hoo! The fitness tracker comparison is brilliant. I think it's so funny that you have glass half full/ half empty fitness trackers. ;)

I'm also the grocery store re-heating queen. :) Happy Thanksgiving!

Debra Mayhew said...

I cannot tell you how much I. Needed. THIS. My writing goals have been completely derailed the past six months and it's easy to let that comparison sneak in and become discontent. All my Inklets buddies are raging successes now and I am quick to compare and quick to deflate. Looking back through a grateful lens, I see a lot of success in other areas of my life because it was the right time for those things to happen. My writing time will come. Thanks for the much-needed reminder. Happy Thanksgiving!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Sue, I have a hard enough time remembering that it's 2019 so a decade? Nope, not gonna happen! :-)

Barbara, I didn't realize how much sitting I was doing until I started wearing the tracker; it just guilts me into getting up and moving. (And my back feels a whole lot better, now that I look at my steps and say, "Wholly moly, I gotta get up!")

I hear you, Pat. Been there, done that. But tomorrow's a nother day, right? :-)

Ang, you've rocked it this year--woo hoo! And now my cell is going wonky on me but I refuse to get ANOTHER one. It's funny, when I had an antique cell phone (seriously, it like weighed five pounds), that thing would NOT break down and I was always getting new phones for my kids "because I was due for an upgrade." But my new fancy-schmancy phone didn't last a year before I had to get a new one. It's quite possible I'll be using two cell phones in my future. :-)

Yep, Debra, you've been pretty busy with love and life and such. Writing will wait but kids and such? Not so much. ♥

Linda O'Connell said...

If only I could get in as many steps as I do word counts. I told my doctor I walk every aisle of the big box stores three times a week for exercise. She asked if I stop for the freebie hand outs. I smiled and said, "Only the healthy ones." Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Cathy.

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