Thursday, January 12, 2017
Reaching the Finish Line
For most people, new year always comes along with a list of resolutions, some new and some old. I personally don't make resolutions.. Resolutions are something you make with the mindset that it's something you have already failed at, and will most likely fail at again. I just don't want to enter a new year with the mindset that I have already failed and will probably continue to fail and wait til the next year to try again. It just seems like a vicious cycle that we do to ourselves that breaks our confidence and puts us in the mindset of "oh, well".
Instead, I set bite sized goals that know I can accomplish and build off of those goals. Recently I read something that I really liked and that stuck with me : "There's always another goal hiding behind the one that you're chasing". The reason I like that so much is that regardless how small my current goal may be, I've got to clear it to see the next one which will be bigger..
My first small goal this year is to get off my butt and exercise.. I think this is one of those resolutions everyone goes for on January 1st and by January 10th, the only thing they are lifting is the tv remote. Instead, I say "I'm going to make time to go to the gym three days a week".. Now, okay, just because I made time doesn't mean I'm doing it, I know.. But what usually happens is I tell my husband that "I'm going to go run in an hour" and in an hour, my husband will ask if I"m still going to go run and then I'm kinda obligated.. Hey, whatever works, right??
One of the goals I am hoping to achieve this year is to be able to run my first 5K and complete it.. I know exactly which one I wish to run - the Reindeer run here on base in December. I have an entire year to work towards accomplishing this goal. As someone who ran track and field nearly 35 years ago and haven't tried to run since, this is something that will probably take me the entire year to achieve. I've been researching how exactly I think I can accomplish this considering my current fitness level. I've got the treadmill, I've got shoes and I've got at least a small bit of determination..
But that's still the far off goal.. If I work only towards that goal, then I'm going to fail.. I can promise you, if I start this year with the only goal of running a 5K, that come December, I will be sitting on the couch watching Hallmark holiday movies rather than running the Reindeer run. Instead, I break it down to small goals. My first goal was to stay on the treadmill for a full 20 minutes, even if it was just a walking pace. Check!! Once that was accomplished, I went for walking a full mile, regardless of how long it took.. Check!! Then it was I want to get through at least three of these "hills" (20 seconds of running/40 seconds of walking).. Check!!! The goal I accomplished last night was to complete all six "Hills" and the first one minute sprint.. My next goal will be do to complete the six hills and 2 sprints..
Basically, build off the previous goal by adding just enough to grow from it but not set the bar so high I can't achieve it.
Now, you're probably reading this and saying "When did this become a fitness blog?? I thought this is a homeschooling blog?".. And you would be right and there's a point to this, I promise.
The point is, the same technique can be used in any aspect of life - ESPECIALLY homeschooling.
Homeschooling can be extremely intimidating, difficult and stressful - like running that 5K. If you've never run a race and don't know how to pace yourself, you're going to burn out before the finish line is ever in view. I've been there - one of those mom's crying to her husband saying "Did I make the wrong decision? Should I have put them in public school?".. Some of us go into homeschooling at the starting line at Kindergarten and instead of that 5K, we realize we jumped into a full marathon and the finish line is graduating high school and we wonder why we're feeling out of our element.
It's all about those little goals to get to the ones that are hiding.. Whether you're breaking it down into what you can accomplish with your student in a grade level, a month, a week or even just getting through a day or a particular assignment, find the small goals and earn the small victories with your child as you accomplish them and then find the next goal hidden behind the first. Celebrate those small victories - they are indeed victories, and look towards the next victory instead of setting yourself up with defeat because not everything went the way you think it should have.. It's amazing to me how one small set back can ruin the entire day, even after all the accomplishments achieved prior to that. Celebrate the things you and your students did achieve.
Our typical day has plenty of setbacks. My youngest is a jabberjaw and never shuts up while Garrett plays with his hands and fidgets - A LOT!! I don't set a unrealistic goal of expecting them to sit still, stay quiet and listen to our lessons because I know that's never going to happen.. To even expect it sets us up for failure straight from the starting line. Our finish line isn't to complete a grade on time by the end of the school year. Instead the finish line is each lesson. Then we line up for the next starting line, start the next lesson and work towards that finish line. When the day is over, that's another goal and another finish line.. Then we start it over the next day, and the next day.. Come Friday, we do the same thing but that final finish line of the week looms in the distance - to complete all lessons for the week. But before we read THAT finish line, that means we had 45 goals we accomplished each before that - 9 each day.. That's 45 opportunities to celebrate!!! By the end of the month, that's 180 celebrations!! Maybe you had a bad day that day, they only accomplished 5 goals rather than 7? That's still 5 reasons to celebrate rather than to declare the entire day a loss..
Stop running that marathon and putting yourself through hell trying to get to that final finish line!! Make those small goals and celebrate those smaller victories with your child and then find the next goal hiding behind it.. Remember the story of the Rabbit and the Tortoise - slow and steady wins the race - you will have well rounded students with a quality education if you set your mind to the goal - but rather than burning yourself out, set those smaller goals to help you get there.
See ya at the finish line!!