|Sunlight through oak leaves on an early morning in August.|
As you know, I’ve recently taken up knitting. At first, I didn’t think I’d ever get beyond a few awkward stitches. It was a struggle for me to become comfortable with the movements of the needles and yarn.
But gradually, things changed. I kept pulling out my knitting bag and doing a little more. I recognized that I was moving my needles more quickly. I was feeling more comfortable.
And I could look at the results and see with my own eyes that I was getting better.
Another example of practice making us better at whatever we’re trying to do.
I know that practice helps. I’ve experienced it. We usually have to practice, have to keep trying, before we reach our goals, before we get to the place we want to be.
So why can’t I keep that idea—that wisdom—in mind with all my efforts?
I think an obstacle for me is the “all or nothing” thinking that goes along with my OCD and depression. With that kind of cognitive distortion, I believe that if I don’t get it right the first time, if I’m not perfect, then I’ve failed. Then it’s not good enough. Then there’s no need to keep trying.
I’ve been trying to make some changes in my daily routine. One change I’ve been attempting is to get up at the same time every day, preferably at an early hour.
All or nothing thinking has been getting in the way.
I’ve tried motivating myself with thoughts of what I’d accomplish by getting up earlier. I’ve set a regular alarm clock on the dresser in the bedroom so I’ve had to get out of bed to turn it off. I’ve charged my cell phone in the bedroom so I’d awaken to a more pleasant alarm (the phone has so many choices that sound better than a blaring alarm or even the radio).
I’ve had mixed results. I’ve gotten up, turned off the alarm, and gone right back to bed. I’ve gotten up, fed Chase Bird, and gone back to bed. I’ve gotten up and stayed up. But I don’t yet have a firm routine in place.
I’ve felt defeated. I’ve felt like a failure, a personal failure. Other people get up at the same early hour every day. Why can’t I? I’ve done it in the past. What’s wrong with me now?
But then I decided to apply the “practicing” way of thinking. Maybe I haven’t defeated my propensity to sleep “just a little more,” but that doesn’t mean I won’t get better at it. Why not just keep practicing? Why not learn from my experiences?
Why not believe that down the road, I’ll look back and see that I’ve improved? Just like I’ve improved in my knitting.
And in so many other things, if I’m honest with myself.
So I’ll keep working at this.
Name something that you have practiced to get better at.