I just love the thought of a completed project. That far off day when I will have conquered the art of calligraphy (I do own the supplies), mastered the piano (it’s in the front room), or practice yoga daily (yes, I own several tapes). But wait, that’s the root of the problem-the dreaded P word…Practice! How can practice keep me and for that matter, a number of my friends, from doing the things that could make our life more joy-filled? You might even think the same way. You would love to play the viola; it is just the lessons that stop you cold.
Let’s look at the process of learning something new. For many there is pain associated with making positive life changes. You can visualize your “skinny” self but also feel the unpleasant pangs of hunger that it would take to get that image to become a reality. You can see yourself moving with grace and ease during each complex tai-chi movement but do not want to move from the comfort of your easy chair. Indeed, the pain of breaking an old habit and moving towards a positive life change is sometimes very overwhelming and sometimes paralyzing.
Then there is the cousin of pain-perfection. What keeps us from attempting lots of new and fun activities is the fear of not doing them perfectly. Who wants to experience the uncomfortable learning curve that comes with the acquisition of a new skill? Or the failures that precede any new skill which keep us from even trying. We instead become masters of the excuse and all the reasons why. Why we don’t have time to practice. Why it is too expensive. And of course, why we simply can’t!
But what happens when we face fear and choose to move through it? Are we fearless enough to see some traces of success? Do we continue until there is complete mastery and a transformation? Can we learn to push past the boundaries of our comfort zones? In order for the process to be complete we must endure the peaks and valleys of the journey and realize they are part of the complete progression.
So, let us face the obvious. We know there is no magic pill we can take. In fact, there is no easy system to experiencing success. The media admittedly bombards us with instant victory stories, complete with magical, fairytale endings of people who experience “overnight” achievements. If given the opportunity to speak with these sensational people you would learn their paths to triumph were rocky, full of detours, and pot holes that almost swallowed them whole. But, they continually showed up. They worked the program. They made slight progress each day which eventually won them their reward.
Day by day…piece by piece, allow yourself the time, routine, focus, and maybe even the fun of daily practice towards any new goal or skill. It holds the key to all your success!

Copyright 2007, Karen Pettrone-Keber, M.S.

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