I hope you’ll indulge me for a moment. I want to brag a little. (But I promise there’s a point.)
I’ve been using a phone app to learn Spanish, which has been a goal of mine for over a decade. It usually takes me about 10 minutes a day, so it’s not a huge investment of time. But it’s something. And a few weeks ago, I hit my 365th day in a row practicing Spanish. I’m pretty excited about that.
I’m not saying that I’ve mastered it (Duolingo says I’m 59% fluent, which feels about right). The next step would be to find some speaking Meetups or even a trip south of the border to immerse myself in the language for a week or two.
But there’s no doubt that I would not be in the place I’m in without the consistent, repetitive, daily practice.
How do you create change in your life? How do you move towards the goals that you are trying to achieve? I’m more and more convinced that we have to look at the small, daily choices we make and the activities that we engage in. We don’t have to make huge, earth-shattering changes to go in a different direction. Our challenge isn’t in creating big enough visions of the future.
Instead, we have to work consistently and regularly in a small way to move ahead. These little steps don’t remove the need to sometimes put forth a focused bit of effort. They might not get you all the way. But even though they aren’t always sufficient, they are always necessary.
And as a byproduct of our work towards a larger goal, we give ourselves the opportunity to create meaning in the now. Mindfulness has devolved into a meaningless buzzword, but it’s still really important. And this is a way to practice it.
What is one activity that you could for do 10-15 minutes a day for the next month that would have a big impact. Read a book, write, go walking, be present with a family member? You probably fly through your days with little focus and little intention. I’m right there with you because I struggle (and usually fail) every day to be deliberate with what I do.
If you can carve small islands out of your schedule and give yourself the time to work on something that is important to you, powerful things happen. The day is more meaningful, and maybe one day you’ll be able to say “Yo hablo un poco espanol.”