Thursday, January 5, 2012

Strive for Success with Guest Blogger: Shelly Bell

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Shelly Bell today at the Book Boost!

Here's what she had to say about her plan for the New Year...

Resolutions No More: Goal Setting for Success

With the New Year come the inevitable resolutions. Topping the list are losing weight and exercising. Unfortunately, most people break their resolutions by the end of the month, if not sooner. Which is why, I no longer make New Year’s resolutions.

To me, a resolution is a decision to do something, i.e., I resolve to lose ten pounds. Instead, I believe in goal setting. Without goals, how can we ever achieve our dreams? But unlike a resolution, goals require you to make a plan of action.

The problem arises when we fail to accomplish our goal. We chastise ourselves for the inability to lose the last ten pounds or exercise five days a week. After our perceived failure, we throw our goal out the window, deciding that because we ate a piece of cake, we might as well eat the whole dessert.

When we make our goal, we need to set up realistic expectations. If you never exercise, don’t set your goal at five days a week. Start with one day a week and expect that occasionally, life will get in the way. After you get comfortable with the one day, add another. Hopefully, exercise will become a habit but if it doesn’t, don’t beat yourself up for it and don’t give up.

The same goes for weight loss. While you should eat a healthy and balanced diet, for most people, it’s acceptable to eat dessert now and then. Just because you enjoyed a piece of cake, doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Accept it and move on. Don’t give in to the temptation of gorging on everything in sight.

Getting healthy must begin with our thoughts. The past few years, I’ve focused not on losing weight, but on eliminating food binges. I’ve eliminated wheat and sugar from my diet and as a result, lost seventy pounds. I’m still not thin. My goal is to obtain a healthy weight and maintain it, regardless of what society and the BMI believe to be an acceptable weight for me. It may take years to achieve my goal but I won’t give up. In the meantime, my blood pressure, cholesterol and sugars are normal without medication. I added back years to my life. That to me is much more important than a number on the scale. In fact, I don’t weigh myself anymore.

I also started exercising with a personal trainer twice a week. I’d love to do it more, but right now, that’s all I can manage. I’ve learned to enjoy weight lifting and pilates, something I never would have tried if I kept my emphasis on weight loss. I can’t believe how flexible I’ve gotten this year!

Each day, I try to eat foods that will make me feel good physically. That means three balanced meals of protein, carbs and fats. Gone are the days when lunch consisted of Peanut M&M’s and Diet Coke. Also gone are those days when I ate pre-packaged meals, drank shakes or starved my body. With a balanced diet, I have the energy to work, play with my children, read a book a day, and write. I never could have done that when my goal was to lose weight.

Of course, I’m not perfect. I sometimes eat a larger portion than I should, so I need to get back to weighing and measuring my food. Not because of my weight but because mentally, I feel better when I take care of myself.

My health goals are simple. Love myself and others with my whole heart. Focus on the positive. Live each day to the fullest. Express my feelings.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do set goals year-round and make a plan to achieve my goals. It’s helped me more than with my weight. Last year, I set a goal to write a book. When I finished writing it, I set a goal to work to get it published.

Notice I said work. Whether it was accepted for publication wasn’t up to me, so how could I set it as my goal? What I could do was send out submissions to the publishers. I did the work and it paid off.

My first book, A Year to Remember, will be available on January 31st. It’s about a young woman who resolves to find and marry her soul mate within a year’s time. If only she had set a goal…

A Note from the Book Boost: Congrats on achieving your goals and I wish you much success with your debut release! Your post was very inspirational and thank you so much for joining us today at the Boost. Please tell us a little more about that fabulous book.


When her younger brother marries on her twenty-ninth birthday, food addict Sara Friedman drunkenly vows to three hundred wedding guests to find and marry her soul mate within the year. After her humiliating toast becomes a YouTube sensation, she permits a national morning show to chronicle her search. With the help of best friend Missy, she plunges head first into the shallow end of the dating pool.

Her journey leads her to question the true meaning of soul mates, as she decides between fulfilling her vow to marry before her thirtieth birthday and following her heart’s desire. But before she can make the biggest decision of her life, Sara must begin to take her first steps towards recovery from her addiction to food.


Plunged into darkness as the door closed behind me, I couldn’t find the light switch. I hit my knee against a chair and groaned from the pain.

The door opened and someone entered the room. I assumed it was Missy coming to rescue me once again.

“I can’t find the light switch, Missy. Do you know where it is?”

Without warning, someone yanked me tightly against his warm, solid body. I heard his slight intake of breath and then he kissed me.

I know I should have fought against it, but whoever he was, he kissed sinfully well. At first, his soft lips whispered lightly against my own, seeking permission. When not only didn’t I stop him, but made a little moan of approval, his tongue caressed my lips until I opened my mouth.

Only then did he allow his tongue to touch mine, first tentatively exploring the hidden depths of my mouth, and then hard and passionately, as though he’d never get enough of me.

He tasted like a heavenly combination of whiskey and cake. His tongue teased mine in sweet caresses, heating my blood to a fevered pitch.

Desperately needing to learn the identity of my mystery man, I lifted my hand to touch his face. He grabbed it away, nibbling on each fingertip then gently brushed his fingers across my cheek. I licked my lips in preparation of more kisses, but instead of kissing me, he spun me around in circles, confusing my sense of balance. As the world tilted on its axis and I tried to regain my bearings, he silently left the room.

For a few minutes, I stood rooted to the spot, attempting to recover from the encounter and craving more from my mystery kisser. Blushing from my response to him, I knew although I never saw his face, I would have made love to him if he asked. Before him, no one in twenty-nine years made my body burn that way.

Suddenly, I remembered the room’s two floor lamps. I floundered around the room until I smacked into one. After finding our coats, I left the synagogue with Missy.

Ending the evening of my twenty-ninth birthday with a kiss from my mysterious suitor should have thrilled me. Instead, I wondered why he (as drunk as I was, I was pretty sure I would have noticed if it was a woman) didn’t unmask his identity.

Was he married?


Fifteen or eighty-five years old?

Or even worse, embarrassed to be discovered kissing me?

Want More Shelly?

Visit her website here:

Pick up a copy of her debut novel on January 31st!
Stay tuned here for details.

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Carol Ann said...

Oh, you devil, you!!! You have left me with a definite need to read that book and learn who the secret kisser is! Enjoyed reading your philosophy on goal setting and resolutions. My resolution for the new year was not to make any resolutions, and so far I'm able to claim success!

Eliana said...

What or who inspires you? Do ask your loved ones for help with your goals?

Kimberley Troutte said...

this sounds like a really fun book. Loved the excerpt.

I'm with you on the goal setting. I am trying to get healthier too but didn't want to hurt myself, so I started off easy--walking.

I added the Nike GPS App to my phone to track my miles. This turned into a game for me as I guessed the miles to the coffee shop, say, and made myself walk there instead of drive. Soon I was walking to more places. The best thing is this little app has kept track for me and I have walked 450 miles!

I feel good and the time outdoors helps me to sort out those little plot bunnies. When I get home I'm ready to write.

Best of luck with your goals!

Patricia said...

Hi Shelly! I, too, wrote a blog post the other day about the Metamorphosis of New Year's Resolutions. Instead I decided to make a life choice: to think more positively and to turn my negative thoughts into positive ones. I love the way you turned the typical resolutions' gig into something doable. Nice post.

Jody Lebel said...

There are plenty of things that are out of our control. If you resolve to write every day, and then the car breaks down or the kids get sick, you probably will have to forego the writing for a day to two. Don't let that make you feel bad or feel like you've failed. Learn to always have a Plan B. Okay, I can't write today, but I'm going to clean out that junk drawer. Or I'm going to take a 20-minute walk. Accomplish some little thing and you'll feel better. Then tomorrow try to get back to writing. Don't beat yourself up. We've got the publishing industry to do that!
Jody Lebel
Fast, Fun and Felonious Romances.

Anonymous said...

I'm rooting for you! BTW, awesome book cover -- first time I've seen it.

Amy G. said...

Great photo of you Shelly!!! I can't wait to read your book. Haven't read anything good in a long while! Best Wishes!

Meggan Connors said...

Such a great post, Shelly, and the book sounds delightful! I think it's wonderful that you set the goal to work towards publication, because you're right--other people's acceptance isn't something we control. But still, look at you now!

Shelly Bell said...

Carol Ann,
Love your resolution!As for the kisser, you'll have to read it and find out (LOL!) :)
Eliana, I do ask my loved ones for help with my goals. It simply wouldn't be possible without the love and support of my family. I'm inspired each day by my friends and family, especially my husband.
Aren't apps the best? Makes life so much easier these days. Of course getting in 10,000 steps/day isn't as simple as it sounds!Good luck and keep walking!
I think one of the hardest things I learned these past few years was how to quiet those negative thoughts in my head and change them to positive ones!Thanks for the support!
My life has definitely had its ups and downs this year. You're right. It helps to have a Plan B. Just accomplishing one thing each day helps me feel good about myself!
Thanks! :)
I'm flattered that you're going to read my book!Thanks for the support!

Anonymous said...

Great post, and I totally agree, goals are better than resolutions! As for that excerpt -- terrific! Can't wait to read more. Congratulations!

Lisa G said...

Can't wait to read this book. I too had my food issues and now I'm just focusing on health by eliminating wheat and dairy. Best of luck to you on your goals and the book!

Melanie said...

Shelly, I'm hooked and I can't wait to read your book! I wish you all the success in the world!

Rose said...

What a great post! Congratulations on your book, Shelly. It sounds like a really fun premise! I look forward to reading it!

jeff7salter said...

I love the line, "she plunges head first into the shallow end of the dating pool."
And I really identify with your thoughts on resolutions. In fact on my own blog, FourFoxesOneHound, today, I'm talking in similar terms.

Mary Keith - Keith Publications, LLC said...

Great blog. I agree with you...Goals are the way to go.

Congratulations on your book.

Mary keith

Debby said...

Great advice but I beat myself up for everything. I am not sure how to stop doing that. I have a thyroid problem which makes losing weight that much harder.

Debby236 at gmail dot com

Na said...

Sara's journey sounds like a fun one. It looks as though getting drunk and facing some humilation may just the thing she needed to get things rolling. Beautiful cover as well.