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10 Ways To Be Determined

I recently read an article out of the A Girl and A Gun Shooting Journal titled "10 Ways to be Determined." I thought this was a very good article and could be a great place for you to start becoming more involved in shooting. I decided to go over each one and elaborate with my thoughts. So, each day, I'll add to this list until we're finished.

I hope you follow along with me :)

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#1. Work from your point of strength

Your determination can be fueled by negative influences or positive desires. Study your circumstances and make conscious choices to draw from positive intentions that keep you focused.

My thoughts: Our biggest influencer is... ourselves! We tend to be so critical on ourselves and by filling our head with negativity, there is no way we can excell. So, STOP ALL THAT STINKIN THINKIN! Position yourself with positive people, positive quotes, positive pictures, positive television (stop watching SVU or the news or America's Most Wanted)... Fill your head with the good stuff and suddenly there's nothing you can't do.

#2. Don't Choose Luck Over Deliberate Practice.

Simply having or carrying a gun is not enough; commit to regular practice sessions and hone your situational awareness.

My thoughts: Practice, practice, practice! We all know shooting is a perishable skill. And to take that a step further - 'only perfect practice makes perfect.' So make sure you have good form and techniques and are not reinforcing a poor draw stroke or poor trigger control. There's tons of research online to look at. And of course, use me! I do one-on-one 1.5 hr sessions teaching (or reinforcing) the FUNdamentals of shooting (grip, stance, aiming, trigger control, breathing, and follow through). I can also customize your session to anything you feel you need to work on.

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So, if you carry your gun in your purse, for instance, you should be regularly practicing drawing from your purse. Likewise, if you love to carry your gun in your flashbang holster like me then you need to be able to access it quickly. (Re: Video Gallery tab on this site) Practice, Practice, Practice!

Are you going to practice this week/weekend? I am. Watch for a new video next week from an activity out of the shooting journal. 

#3. Avoid Distractions

You could be putting yourself or others at risk if you are shooting while your mind is distracted by other people. Create uninterrupted time for practice sessions. Silent negative people and thoughts that
could derail you.

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My thoughts: Great advice above! This principle rings true whether you are on the line at a shooting match or when you're dry firing at home. When dry firing, clear your firearm, make sure all ammunition is out of the room, aim at a safe location, and remember the 4 Rules of Gun Safety. Refer to my dry fire video for elaboration of these. If your phone or the doorbell rings, or the laundry chirps or the oven goes off... DON'T ANSWER IT! If you know it's something important, clear your firearm and lock your gun in the safe. Then, when you return to practice, start completely over! Clear your firearm again, remove ammo from the room, etc... This is very important for your safety as well as anyone else in the house.

Tip: Silence your phone and put it in the other room. Then grab a kitchen timer and set it to 15-20 minutes. You're looking to create a small pocket of UNINTERRUPTED PRACTICE :) Happy practicing!

#4. Narrow Your Choices

Narrow your disciplines to improve your skillset. Are you practicing your draw from your carry holster or your competition holster? Are you practicing sight picture for trap/skeet or 3-gun shotgun? Focus your practice on specific skills.

My thoughts: In other words, let's master one thing at a time. You will get more benefit out of your practice sessions if you focus on one skill rather than many. In that practice session, select a drill that uses the skill you want to focus on and do that one drill over and over. Use the Tactical Foo Foo worksheet from your AGAG Shooting Journal to write down the drill and your times/ points down, etc. Then work on getting faster and faster at that one drill. A shot timer will really help you here.

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On a larger scale, I began shooting competition in the sport of IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association). Then I found out about 3-gun competitions and immediately wanted to do that too in order to help me learn how to shoot long guns in addition to pistols. But, I resisted that urge. Instead, I told myself I would spend one whole year focusing on pistols alone before I introduced other types of guns into the mix. I'm glad I did because that year I was invited to Nationals in that sport.

#5. Become Deeply Committed

Make a solid, well thought-out plan that creates the best path to achieve your goals... and then stick to it without deviating from your plan.

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My thoughts: Wow, if that isn't the definition of 'being determined' then I don't know what is! When I was younger (much much younger) I ran track. I loved the 800 yd dash because it was medium paced (steady and deliberate) and I could really finish strong. Everyone loves a good ending, right?! I'm a visual thinker so I'd envision that I was a freight train being pushed down the track in a straight line, building momentum the closer I got to the finish line. Trains don't zig-zag, they don't turn 90 degrees, and they don't decide to give up when they're at the top of their momentum. Trains are 'FULL SPEED AHEAD.' This, Ladies, is my hope for you in your determination to become a better shooter. Create a goal, make a plan, don't deviate. Finish Strong!

Tip: Write your goal(s) down... on actual paper! Do this now!!! Be specific. Have a clear and concise deadline. Then, write down your unique action plan to achieve YOUR goals.

And, Voila! You've just surpassed 97% of Harvard MBA graduates...

#6. Work Within Boundaries

Hold yourself accountable to your plan. Develop good health habits and self-discipline to achieve your goals. If you allow yourself to cheat on your plan, your goals will fade away.

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My thoughts: The best way to be held accountable to your goals is to get an accountability partner. Find someone in your circle of influence that is willing to whip you into shape when you feel like 'cheating' on your plan. It takes 21 days to form a habit so ask your friend, mom, or supportive husband to work with you for one month. Share your action plan and deadlines with that person and make sure they know YOU ARE DETERMINED!

If you need help in this area, I'll work with you! You can email me your goals, plan, deadlines, and DAILY action steps and I'll make sure you stay on track ;) Now get to work!

#7. Create Personal Values

Evolve your personal values into a strong value system. For example, if you want to be a safe and responsible gun owner, you have to live by the 4 Rules.

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My thoughts: I'd like to elaborate on what a "responsible gun owner" looks like. The very first thing you should memorize before you ever pick up a gun is the 4 Rules of Gun Safety. Memorize them, drill yourself on them, and adhere to them EVERY time. But here are some habits you should conform to also... Don't mix guns with drugs and/or alcohol, EVAH! Also, don't handle firearms when you're in an emotional state and may not be thinking clearly. And now let's take that word "responsibility" to a whole new level by ensuring the safety of our children around guns. Remember, guns should be unloaded and locked so that they are inaccessible to unauthorized persons with all ammunition locked in a separate area, per the NRA. Of course, you'll want to talk to your children about guns as early as possible. I teach the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety program in Deer Park. See what's available in your area.

All of these values will help ensure you are a responsible gun owner.

#8. Realign your actions regularly

Find ways to meet your expectations. If you can't go to the range, do a dry fire session. Life happens.

My thoughts: Two thoughts actually... First, be realistic with your goals. It won't do you any good if you set a goal that is unattainable. You know that expression, 'don't set yourself up for failure.' Second, set goals, but realize you may need to change your action steps in order to achieve your goals. For instance, let's say you get sick and that sets you back a week. Don't stop working toward your goal! Instead, reevaluate and adjust your plan in order to meet your deadline. And hey if you genuinely try but don't make your deadline, set a new one! And don't beat yourself up over it either. We're all human or, as the above article reads 'life happens.' In fact, when something gets me down (really down) I give myself the remainder of that day to sulk about it, knowing that when I wake up in the morning, my ONLY OPTION is to readjust and move on.

#9. Take Action Now

Break your determination into daily goals. Do not wait for inspiration -create it.

My thoughts: procrastination squashes determination. Don't be squash!!! Get up; get moving; get it done! Looking for an inspirational quote? I got'em... The 'right time' to begin never happens. Someday is not a day of the week. Go the extra mile - it's never crowded. Prove them wrong. Everything is hard before it is easy. Make progress or make excuses. The expert in anything was once the beginner. Wake up with determination - go to bed with satisfaction.

Okay, okay... you get it. Now 'Just do it.'

10. Don't Forget the Finish Line

Keep your end goal in mind. Is it to have skills to protect yourself in a defensive situation? Or to win your chapter's Quarterly Match? Whatever you want, seek it with determination and it is possible and within reach.

My thoughts: If you're a visual learner like me then it's best to put your goals where you can see them daily. Tape them onto your bathroom mirror or write them on the first page of your shooting Journal. It's also fun to think about how you will celebrate when you accomplish your goal. Write that down too! Good luck, have fun, and enjoy the journey.

xoxo Tania

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"But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work."

- 2 Chronicles 15:7