Need a Reset? Develop Your Practice: February 2024 Planning Tips
Could developing your practice be this month's project?
If you get that sinking feeling that you’re “failing” at an endeavor you’ve undertaken for 2024, you might be overdue for a change of perspective or approach. Practice can give us both.
We talk a lot at PF about how life tends to get in the way of our best-laid plans. In last week’s Pulse, Charlie laid out ways we might cope when this happens, and how we can reset when we feel stuck and disheartened.
Self-defeat tends to happen when we have big dreams or plans, yet the results and outcomes aren’t forthcoming (or at least, not on our preferred schedule).
Practice grounds us in humility instead.
Download your free February weekly planners and see how you might plan your practice alongside (or as) your February projects.
February Planning Tips
Since a key part of this is leaning into the practice and the process, rather than the outcome, here are some tips for what developing your “practice” can look like:
Mindfully engage in what’s before you. Embrace the present moment by immersing yourself fully in the task at hand. This is one of the key ideas in Rick Rubin’s recent book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being (and many other books on creativity). Try moving the bullseye onto the process itself rather than focusing on the result.
Pick process-oriented goals. Set goals that focus on the steps, techniques, or skills involved in doing whatever your field of activity is. Breaking down larger objectives into smaller, actionable components is key here — it helps us see progress and keeps us motivated. (See also January’s tips for more on this: leading indicators vs. lagging indicators.)
Conduct experiments. Building experimentation and exploration within your practice is a) one way to make it more interesting and b) almost certainly likely to make it more interesting to your audience when it reaches them. (Whoever you consider your audience to be.) Nothing risked, nothing gained. Be open to trying new approaches, methods, or ideas with less concern about the outcome.
Learn continuously. Realize you’ll improve gradually. View each experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. If you take an iterative approach to your work, and regularly seek new knowledge, you’ll see there’s always room for improvement. And that’s the fun of it.
Play the long game. Taking the long-term perspective means you won’t sweat the small stuff as much, and you can begin to enjoy what Charlie sometimes calls the “infinite game” (from Finite and Infinite Games, James P. Carse). Mastery and meaningful outcomes often emerge by walking the walk and doing the groundwork. Embracing that you’re playing the long game makes the journey itself where you find your joy and bliss.
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The game-changing realization is we might get as much or more satisfaction from seeing our mastery grow through continuous practice than through world-shattering levels of public achievement. (Just take a quick look at folks in the world with that level of world-shattering achievement… do most look happy and satisfied to you?)
Instead we get the inherent joy of engaging in meaningful work. If we enter the game from a place of humility and openness, not pressure, it becomes clear that no matter what happens, we improve and grow. That is reward in itself.
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