I’m not usually a New Year’s resolution type of guy. I do use that time of the year as well as my birthday to reflect on what I have done and where I want to go. It helps to keep me focused and to stay in the moment.
This year I made an exception. I made a resolution. Don’t get too excited. It seems pretty simple. This year I resolved to only put one space after an end mark when I type. Tough one write. I read something about why we were taught in school to put two spaces and the logic seemed acceptable to me. With the advent of true type fonts, all letters no longer take up the same amount of space. On a typewrite each strike took up a finite amount of space. The double space was necessary to give the end of a sentence some room.
Anyway, not as easy as it sounds. For four or five weeks I backspaced and fixed every double space at the end of a sentence. Eventually I was doing it less and less until finally I don’t do it at all.
So, what’s my point.
Habits. I know this is a simple example but it is an example of what it takes to get into the habit of doing something. I’m not talking about quitting smoking or any big deal habits but little, positive habits. For example, writing your blog, being creative, exercising, bettering yourself in some way.
I began reading this book called Manage Your Day-to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. It’s a collection of essays by people with creative minds and it gives their perspectives on the tenets of the book.
In the second essay, Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project writes about the power of frequency. In her essay she talks about how frequency has helped advance her writing career. I won’t give you all the information; you should read it. She does though quote another great writer, Anthony Trollope, “A small daily task, if it really be daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”
When I think of leaders and educators in relation to this point, I think of the fact that we become overwhelmed by the big picture, the big ideas and sometimes that freezes us. “We’ll never get kids to think like the CCSS want us to” or “There is no way we will ever get students to be 100% proficient in PSSA.” I know I experience the same thing when I write. “I’ll never be able to write that well” or “I really don’t have anything good to write about today.” So we do nothing.
Doing nothing is easy. Making excuses is easy. Neither one will improve the learning of our students or get us where we want to be. Goals are a great idea but setting goals is only the first step in achieving them. Achieving goals means we have to bite off little bits at a time.
The point is that if we are focused and chip away at it every day, we can. If we make focus a priority and a habit and we do it with frequency, we can. If we take that gargantuan task and make them into minuscule, manageable tasks, we can. Every step forward is a step forward.
If we start with just one space.