Creative Life: Sticker Reward for Tracking

If there’s something that’s going to trip me up when it comes to my health journey, it’s food. I love food. Like, if we’re meeting in a city center and you call and say you’re going to be late? You will not have to worry about me because, trust, I will find a bakery or a coffeeshop within walking distance. And I’ll probably send you a picture of what I’m eating while you’re stuck in traffic.

So, yeah, food is a challenge. And I used to reward myself with a sticker for staying under my daily calorie goal…but that wasn’t working. What I’ve been doing so far this year and has worked is I simply earn a sticker if I track the food. Doesn’t matter how much I eat. If I write, take a picture of it, or somehow track my eating, I get my sticker.

Because what I was doing is, if I went over my caloric goal, I’d go into a spiral and think well, nothing matters. And it would just be a lost day in my tracking and I wouldn’t be aware of what I was eating.

The – this doesn’t matter though– is such a lie.  Everything matters. One cupcake does not equal doomsday and by tracking everything, I am able to see that one day will not torpedo my health efforts, not because of what I think, but what the data is saying.

So, this year, I have a writing done calendar on the back of my door, just like I have one for my health goals. It’s incredibly easy for me to get a sticker. Did I write a fiction sentence? STICKER? Did I submit a story? BIG STICKER. I see that calendar every day. I literally can’t get away from it unlike tracking in a journal.

So here is where we come to a new section of the newsletter because I am using y’all for accountability:

Did Irette Write a Sentence of Fiction this week? This is a yes-or-no question. I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s easy for me to write non-fiction which is why, for the most part, this newsletter isn’t such a drain. But fiction has all the baggage for me that non-fiction does not.

So, just like eating, I’m taking the pressure off for writing. One fiction sentence a week? WINNER!

It’s all about getting and staying in the arena.

About Irette Y Patterson

Irette Y Patterson is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has been published in FIYAH, Strange Horizons, Translunar Travelers Lounge and on the website of The Saturday Evening Post. When not writing, you can find her digging around in her garden or catching the latest musical in the theater.
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