My son has to practice math facts and be tested on them every week. They are a list of 20 math problems that he has to answer in 60 seconds or less. There’s nine levels. He gets frazzled with each new set. As we study, he’ll get stumped on a problem. He’ll go over the 60 seconds. He’s convinced he won’t pass the test each and every time.
I remind him that he’s been here before. He thought he wouldn’t pass it before. Then as we study and he beats the time. He goes from dreading practicing math facts to wanting to do them over and over again. He’s proud of himself! His confidence comes back. But when he’s in that space of being hard on himself I remind him of that feeling he gets when he beats the time. I tell him to try to get back to that feeling. I remind him of what he’s accomplished so he won’t forget that he can do it again.
When I think I’m teaching them
And this is where I remember that my kids teach me as much as I teach them. I can usually relate whatever lessons I’m teaching them to something that I need to learn in my own life. That’s usually how motherhood goes, right? Now, in this mode of New Year, New You, the lesson is clear. Everyone comes up with ideas of what they want the New Year to bring. There’s promises to eat better, work out, finally write that book. All of these things are totally doable. Sure enough, a lot of us fall off though. And the gym that’s packed on January 2nd is a ghost town by March. At some point we kick ourselves for not following through. We’re convinced we’ve let ourselves down.
How about a new approach? Why don’t we focus more on where we are. At one point where you are is where you were trying to be. Think about that. At one point your goal was to get to where you are. You deserve some credit for that. Are you giving yourself credit for that? Of course, I’m not saying don’t set new goals. Goals are awesome. They’re necessary. Much like my son’s math facts, sometimes goals take practice. We might fall off. Maybe we don’t quite make it on our first try.
You had big plans for working out and you’ve missed the last two weeks at the gym. That doesn’t mean you’re never going to get fit and you should just cancel your gym membership. So, you’ve been staring at the screen for two hours and haven’t written of a word of your book. There’s no need to kill the idea completely. When it comes to goals, there’s nothing wrong with patting yourself on the back a little. Think about the last goal you knocked out of the park. Remember how you felt. Remind yourself that you’re capable of awesome-ness. Because you are. Take that feeling and jump back into whatever your new goals may be. You’ve done it before. You can do it again.