Broad generalizations are my specialty. Producing a vision, a goal , and a motivation are where I LOVE to "live." My grandiose execution of the newest, bestest idea and implementation of the ever optimistic dream goes off without a hitch. The crowds are cheering, the family is on board, the attitudes are all a flutter with grins and winks, hugs are copious and free flowing. We'll even get started and have several lovely days in a row on the fantastic journey towards the new exciting goal.
...and then reality sets in.
THAT's when self control and discipline is necessary to kick in.
What am I talking about? Really, all of life. But this week, in particular, I was fighting with my new favorite item, the USB Audio Flash Drive for See it and Say it Flip Flop Spanish.
The audio files are all the same recordings I made back in 2012, so that part was nice to re-listen after a few years and smile at my own casual, fun, upbeat voice. I'm still so proud of each little joke or laugh in my words, which keeps students and learners relaxed while they listen. Real-life is SO important in learning. The USB works flawlessly when you insert it into a computer USB port. Up pops the main file, with all four folders, one with each CD on it. I LOVE IT. ¡Perfecto!
But I decided to make it just a littler easier. (HA! Why can't we leave well enough alone?) I have purchased and tried about a half dozen (affordable) portable speakers to allow families to practice their Spanish with NO screens around. I know you can load the audio on your phone. That would be GREAT. You should totally do that!
When I went to use a speaker, and popped my cute little custom made flash drive into the USB port, it started right away with track 01. It was Lesson 33. And the next track was Lesson 36. Now, that's not right. Is there rhyme and reason to the tracks? No, there is not. A list must be made.
My eyes almost bugged out, but I DID IT! I listed each and every audio file, their title and the corresponding number for you to be able to quickly access the lesson you need. I'm so so proud of myself.
Next step: send it to my proof-reading team to get it approved. The details almost stopped me, it's really not my forte. But I DID IT!
So. Here are my tips and tricks for pushing through with learning Spanish, math, training for chores, sports, or any goal in general, when you find yourself outside of your comfort zone:
1) Recognize you are outside your comfort zone. - Say so. Saying it aloud gives you permission to move more methodically and intentionally. Your mind is more apt to be resourceful, and look for help, and be open advice, even from your children, who in some CRAZY way, know exactly what you need to be helped next. It's like they know you well, and even, in some way are a PART of you. Weird, right?
2) Set a time limit. - Limits are good. They help us to manage our energy output, and give us a finish line. I do this two different ways, depending on the task at hand.
~ Unpleasant tasks - I set a limit for HOW LONG I have to do it. Filing: 15 minutes. (I'm usually done within 9 minutes, but will NEVER do it, if I don't set a timer) Updating the budget: 20 minutes tops (Usually I'm done in 30 minutes, but will miss something if I don't take a quick break at 20 minutes.
~Pleasant tasks - Even though I WANT to do it, I sometimes don't get to it because I'll "do it tomorrow." So, for a task I enjoy, I set a deadline rather than a time limit - I won't go to bed tonight until the new blog post is done. That makes me smile. I LOVE blogging, and just never get to it. Knowing I've made myself a deadline is helpful and invigorating.
3) Muster up your discipline. Some of us are great at this, others aren't. No matter what, we all improve in our discipline when we have "running partners." These are the people that know a lot of what's going on in our daily lives and would love to know more, but we don't often tell them about the tasks that are holding us back. TELL THEM. Let them know of your two deadlines or time limits. Voice your goals. Text that special friend or family member who knows your struggles, set an alarm, put it on the calendar. An older child is usually VERY good at this. My youngest daughter has been wanting more time for Home Ec - she wants to become better at knitting,
sewing, baking, and cooking. She likes menu planning and budgeting, but I don't include her very often, since I often do these things before kiddos are usually up. I needed more discipline in keeping her involved. I told her: Let's put it on your school list three times a week. Did she hold me to it? Absolutely. It's POSTED on her school chart (which is in a prominent place in the kitchen area.) We ALWAYS complete our school for the week (maybe not always for the day, but always for the week.)
4) Reward yourself. Finally, when all else fails, promise yourself something. It might be a walk, a sweet treat, a social time to listen to music, or rewatch a movie, a bubble bath, a long phone call to a friend. Treating yourself with a something unusual; after completing an uncomfortable task brings a sense of pleasure, and a likelihood to do it better more efficiently next time.
I'll be posting my video rendition of the USB flash drive struggle later this week. I hope the learning curve I go through to produce excellent Spanish learning products blesses you beyond your Spanish learning journey, and helps you in all areas of life.