Show Up for Yourself
I recently began violin lessons after not playing the instrument for over 30 years. In my excitement I promised myself that I would practice at least 30 minutes every day. That lasted the first week and then life and work interfered with my plans. When I couldn’t find those 30 minutes in my day, I didn’t practice at all. Sometimes I didn’t practice for two or three days.
Has that ever happened to you? Maybe you made a resolution to eat better, exercise more, organize your closet, or learn a new language. You started with loads of excitement and a plan, but then found your enthusiasm waning or you just couldn’t find the time. I get it. The other night I was about to go bed once again without having picked up my violin. It was too late to practice without disturbing others and I was tired, but I was also concerned that this hobby that brought me so much joy would soon be a memory.
That’s when I realized that I needed to shift my mindset if I wanted to create a long-term habit of practicing every day.
I decided to show up for myself, with compassion, in whatever way I can every day. That may mean five minutes or less devoted to the violin. It also means thinking broadly about how I define “practice.” On days that I cannot find the time to do anything at all, my “practice” may mean expressing a word of gratitude for my violin.
That night when I was tired and on my way to bed, I picked up my theory book and reviewed one area of violin theory for about five minutes. I never touch my violin, but I still showed up. And, maybe because I released myself from the pressure of 30 minutes of practice, I actually enjoyed those five minutes of studying theory.
So, I invite you to revisit your New Year’s Resolutions or even the more modest goals you may have set for yourself. How might you approach those resolutions or goals with more self-compassion? How might you rethink and revise the language you use to describe your challenges and yourself? How might you show up for yourself in a way that feels more gentle?