If you’re new to Daily Prompts, you may want to start at the beginning of the series here.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a PDF version and other notes.
Year______ Month_______Day______Consecutive Practice Days_____Missed Days______
Gratitude: (Spend a few moments writing about the things you’re grateful for. Lined pages are on the PDF below)
Vision: (Write out your vision for the future you want to live. Lined pages are on the PDF below)
Affirmations: (Write out 1-5 affirmations of who you want to be. Lined pages are on the PDF below)
Action: (Write out one simple action step you can take today that brings you closer to your vision Lined pages are on the PDF below)
Procrastination creeps in.
It happens. Especially if we’ve had a gap in our consecutive days of Practice. We have to keep in mind that when we stop or slow our progress for any reason, atrophy sets in. It’s just like your physical fitness.
If you’re on a weightlifting program and working consistently and intelligently, getting stronger, and tracking your progress, you’ll be gaining muscle and other adaptations. But the moment you take a break, the progress begins to go backward. Your body is designed to conserve energy so if you don’t use your muscles to their safe potential, then your body will adapt by reducing the amount of muscle needed. Why expend energy to support tissue that isn’t being used?
This can be applied to so many areas. Cardio capacity, patience, memory, agility, bone density, gratitude, awareness, presence, and practice. And just like a weightlifting program, if you take time off, you can’t expect to jump back in where you left off without an injury. You might not have to start all the way back at the beginning, but you do need to scale your effort down to a safe level to get back on track.
It’s no different from any other practice. If your Keystone Practice has been built up over time but you’ve had a break from it, you’ll injure yourself if you try to pick up where you left off. It doesn’t matter what your practice is. If it’s physical, then it’s obvious you really could injure yourself. Even playing an instrument can wreak havoc on your body if you had once built up stamina that you no longer possess. But there are other dangers you might not consider…
Self-defeating thoughts. Mental fatigue. Discouragement. Resentment toward your distraction- perhaps a loved one, or even yourself. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but you get the idea. So what’s the best strategy for getting back on track?
Listen to your procrastination.
We are constantly told that procrastination is a terrible trait with no redeemable qualities. But after making a career of procrastinating, I’ve learned to look at it as yet another tool. Procrastination is feedback. We can learn from it if we stop resisting and listen.
Procrastination may be telling you that your Vision is off. Try reviewing previous passages and asking yourself if it’s authentically your vision or some external pressure? Or, perhaps you’ve changed your mind. That’s cool too! Be thankful to your procrastination for helping you recognize it!
Procrastination may be warning you that you’re trying to take on too much too quickly. Perhaps you’ve atrophied in your Keystone Practice and you need to have a ramp-up period of easier Practice sessions to get back to where you left off.
To get back on track, set the bar low. Just like I said at the beginning of this Course Journal; set the bar so low it feels silly to not get it done. Maybe today’s guitar practice is tuning the guitar and tomorrow begins a 2-minute timed practice session to start rebuilding those finger calluses. Whatever your practice is, try restarting it at a ridiculously low standard, and each day or week, add just a tiny bit more. Don’t ramp up too quickly! In my almost 20 years as a fitness coach I can tell you, the most likely athletes to ever get injured were my higher performers who had taken time off and refused to be patient coming back.
Be kind to yourself.
Be patient with yourself.
Be grateful to yourself and your procrastination.
It might just be trying to tell you something.
Daily: (The pdf version below contains three lined pages for your daily journal)
The above is an excerpt from the upcoming The Lyceum Course Journal. We will be releasing it here for free as a Daily Prompt blog post. If you would like a physical copy, we will link to it here once it is released.
I realize a daily journal prompt on a blog is a little weird. This is how I would suggest using it: Open your favorite note-taking software such as Evernote, copy and paste this post into it, and write your daily entries there.
Download a PDF version of this post here. Feel free to print it out, or access it through a PDF editor where you can type in your daily entry.
Collaborate With Me!
This post series is a first draft of the future book. If you have suggestions, comments, or see errors, please reach out so that I can make the final product more valuable for you and the rest of the community. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!