What are You Practicing Today?

In my first four blog posts, I covered the issues of starting, setting next steps, asking good questions, and practicing. What we can do, then, is practice starting, practice setting next steps, practice asking good questions, and even practice practicing.

I hate to say this, but whatever we do repeatedly is what we are practicing. So if we smoke, we are practicing smoking. Whenever we have a cigarette, it makes it more likely we’ll have another one. If we overeat, we are practicing overeating. We make it more likely we’ll do so again. The idea of practice works both ways. It works in developing good habits and it works in developing, and perpetuating bad ones.

Piano practice handsWhatever we do now, makes it easier to do again later. Choosing not to have a dessert makes it easier to choose not to have a dessert next time. It’s a practice. Choosing to have a dessert today, makes it easier to have a dessert next time. It doesn’t guarantee the choice, but it makes it “more likely”.

So what habits do you want to develop and what small step could you take to make it more likely you’ll engage that desired habit in the future?

A friend of mine has stated on several occasions that he wants to be a science fiction writer. Yet he isn’t writing. Yesterday when I saw him he reiterated his difficulty; so this morning I wrote him a short email suggesting he write one sentence. It’s a start. He will be practicing writing. He’ll have a manageable place to go. He’ll likely engage his mind with questions like “what do I want to write about?" He’ll be laying the groundwork so tomorrow, the sentence writing or the paragraph writing will be easier.

Often we are stuck because our frame of reference is huge. Practice takes place in tiny increments in the moment. Repeatedly playing a few bars of music on the trumpet, or writing a sentence or two, or perhaps, doing yet another drill on the ice as a hockey player.

Start something today and you’ve just practiced the art of the start. Set a goal and you’ve practiced goalsetting. Ask a great question and that’s what you’re practicing.

And along those lines, I’ll continue my practice of setting up the next blog post topic. Instead of thinking big, let’s look at the advantages of thinking small.

Copyright © 2013 Rick Hoogendoorn