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Small Victories

We are always trying to change something about ourselves.

Be nicer to others. Eat less junk food. Exercise more. The list other things we want to change or improve could be endless. Thew beginning of a New Year seems to be a great place to start these changes. The infamous New Year’s Resolution!

Well, according to an article in Forbes I just looked up, only 8% of people are successful in achieving their Resolution goal. Kudos to them! The rest of us, well, if you’re like me, you stumble at some point, and if you don’t regain that discipline or motivation, your Resolution fails, and often, you feel like a failure.

That is probably the biggest fear we all have when we set a New Year’s Resolution, or just want to make a change to our life. Failure can be worse than the thing we are trying to change. If we set a goal for ourselves, and stumble a bit, we can get angry, frustrated, disappointed, and depressed, perhaps in that order. I don’t know how many times I’ve set myself goals to achieve and when I failed, I wallowed in that failure. A lot of us have probably done the same thing, or got angry with ourselves. In the end, most of us just give up and settle back into our regular routines with the habit or whatever we wanted to change, unchanged.

For me, there are a bunch of things I have constantly tried to change. Less junk food. Write more. Be more responsible with my time. Wiser with my money. Exercise regularly. Eat healthier. Like many, I used New Year’s Resolution to instigate these changes. I also had a soft spot for September, which always feels like a new beginning, thanks to all those years of school. But the fact that I’m still talking about dealing with these things means that I haven’t conquered them.

In my opinion, the big “I’m-gonna-change-this!” event-style life changes don’t work.

So many of us are slaves to our habits. Unless we have a serious, life-altering reason to change, we won’t kick those bad habits or makes those changes. Even IF we have a life-altering reason to make changes, many of us don’t. People know cigarettes are a source of Cancer, yet keep on smoking. Obese people continue to over-eat knowing it is doing more harm than good. Even if people have been in multiple accidents and have numerous traffic tickets, they still drive recklessly. Habits are called habits for a reason. They are habit-forming.

That is why we need to start small.

Recently, I have been doing bits of changes here and there, like an experiment, to see if a more piecemeal method would work better than the grand change. The results have been better and easier to maintain. An example of one has been part of my work. As a driver, I used to make a pit-stop (to either use the bathroom, get fuel, or just a slave to my cravings). I’d buy some snacks and drink. Not only was this unnecessary, but it added up financially. So, I started a gradual change. Instead of my usual snacks (Coke and Doritos), I’d get just a Gatorade or a large bottle of water. This past week, I didn’t buy anything!

It may not sound like much to some. But to me, it’s a Small Victory.

Like writing this blog. There have been weeks when I didn’t want to write anything (and disappoint my 2 or 3 readers!). So I re-posted something or just didn’t bother. This week would have been the same thing, especially since I waited until later in the week (Thursday) to write this. But I DID write it! Another Small Victory.

That is my new goal, or goals. Each day, do something that is a Small Victory. To do simple things repeatedly until they become a habit. Like getting on my computer each day. Then, once on the computer, work on something, and stay AWAY from YouTube! Then, to work on current and new projects.

The other important things about these Small Victories is to remind myself that I did something positive. From not buying junk food when I had the chance, to keeping my mouth shut about something I dislike. I may not always succeed in everything I attempt, but I won’t let those small failures strop me. I’ll focus instead on the Small Victories instead.

I think if we all focus on those Small Victories, the positive things we do, instead of dwelling on what we didn’t do, we may find those Small Victories build up to something bigger and better for ourselves.

To many people, America these days seems to be the home of fear, racism, hatred, and all the bad stuff that people having been fighting in earnest since World War II.

But as far as we like to think we have advanced ourselves, and our way of thinking, those things still exist, and not just in America. Up here in Canada, we aren’t much better. In English Canada, we have a group that seems to get the majority of slurs and hatred. The French.

Despite the fact that French Canadians were the foundation of the nation we call Canada, people still treat them like shit. Those same people will use the excuse of Quebec sovereignty for why they hate Quebec and people from there. “They want to break up the country! I say screw them!” is an example of what they might say. Or they’ll use derogatory terms like “Quebecistan” (a recent favourite from the ignorant jackasses out there). Some will use the excuse that they have known a few people from Quebec that were assholes, therefore, ALL people from Quebec are assholes. I particularly love that last excuse. I think the Nazis used that for the Jews as well.

What is really sad is that these people who slam Quebec don’t usually have any other hatred towards any other group. I’m guessing they think that mocking people from Quebec is ok because it’s not a racial slur, or an attack against a religion. After all, they’re just people from Quebecistan! Who cares about them right? They are all asshole right?

No. They aren’t.

Anyone who mocks, attacks, or makes childish, ignorant slurs against ANY fellow Canadian, don’t deserve to BE Canadian. That also goes for anyone of any group that they wish to be associated with.

To me, Canada is a great country. I was raised to believe that ALL people are welcome here. ALL people, no matter their differences of race, religion, sexual orientation, beliefs, or provincial habitation, are Canadians. The only thing I would expect from all of them, is that they lives their lives as they choose, without intentionally doing harm to anyone else. That also includes people of Quebec who wish to separate from the rest of Canada…

Sidebar: For those outside Canada, for many years in Quebec, there has been movements to have Quebec separate from Canada. There have been referendums about it, where the Separatists failed to get a majority of the vote to leave. These days, the political parties that support this movement are more focused on important, regular political/ government-y things.

…I may not support Quebec’s separation, but I support their right to  do so. That is what a truly free society is about.

But I often wonder if the negative crap said about Quebecois in the English parts of Canada is a reason why they want to leave. If I were a Quebecois, and people were constantly calling my home province “Quebecistan”, I wouldn’t feel to welcome.

As it is, any time I hear people slur anyone of a different group, especially from people I usually get along with, I wonder why I should get along with them? What makes them of any value if they have so little value for others? If they can disrespect a group of people for some perceived slight or, even worse, just because they are ignorant jackasses, then how can I have respect for them?

The answer is, I can’t.

And neither should anyone else.


Chapter TK

Question Everything


... I M O ...

Kate Heartfield

writer and editor

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