Plan and Celebrate Your Successes

Winning is not everything, but it sure makes it more fun! Do any of you ever use a fitness device on your wrist to track your steps or calories burned and all those great health and wellness details we can now audit regularly merely by using this amazing data tracking? And if so, are any of you as obsessed with yours as I am with mine? I analyze every single item of my life that my fitness device tracks! When I roll out of bed in the morning, I stumble into the kitchen for my first cup of coffee, and get this, I always check my fitness device to see how I “slept”. Sure, in my “pre-data fitness device tracking life”, I used to just ask myself this question while taking a quick ‘how do I feel’ mental inventory and have an immediate answer by simply listening to the way my body responded to this mental inquiry.

But now, after jumping on the ‘fitness tracking device’ bandwagon like of millions of others, and using, no wait, …. of NEEDING this fitness device, I cannot merely mentally audit how I feel in the morning with my own mental inquiry and inventory. Now in order to see ‘how I slept’ I have to check my wrist for my fitness device and review the data it has collected for me to see if I did in fact, have the right amount of hours my device decided was optimum for me, the correct amount of REM sleep and how long during the night I was ‘awake’ without knowing it. Ahem!

What I had done, was I started noticing that I only get about 7 hours of sleep a night, on average. However, my device had determined that 8 hours of sleep was the best amount of sleep for me, and because I like to be a little bit of an over achiever, I kept trying (sadly for years) to have success getting 8 hours of sleep each night, like my device expected. I would stay in bed in the morning just a little longer to try to reach my 8 hour goal. I tried going to bed earlier than I wanted, and so forth, only to discover through all of my data analyzing, that I only in fact got 8 hours of sleep about once every second or third month. *AGH* So, one time per fiscal quarter (haha) I would get a little ‘star’ by the one night I would hit that 8 hour random fitness device goal. Naturally, that meant that every single day, over coffee, when I looked at my device, I thought to myself, ‘no wonder I’m so tired, I only got 7 hours of sleep again’ and would then start dreaming about my NEXT cup of coffee to help me jump start my sleep deprived day. WELL…

Literally last week, it occurred to me, that maybe it would be possible for me to ‘change my goal’ on my fitness device in the settings! I thought, I’d rather feel successful with something in life that should be as easy as ‘sleeping’ every single day, or at the very least, more often than once every third month. Yes, is the answer. Yes, it is possible to CHANGE my goal on my fitness device (in every category by the way!) and choose to make my goal 7 hours instead of 8. So, I did exactly that. And now, almost every single day, I hit my sleeping goal and you’ll never guess what this has done for me (and my coffee consumption!)! I am honestly a little bit happier every day, because when I look at my fitness device in the morning, I think to myself, “success! I did it again!” which peps me up just a little bit! (I’m a winner!) I basically planned for my success in simply changing the arbitrary sleep goal. EXCELLENT! Every day I can now celebrate my sleeping success, instead of being down on myself, and feeling lethargic when I checked my fitness device. How about that!? There’s no stopping me now!

Of course, applying this ‘plan and celebrate your success’ to piano is where I am going. Once in a while, I sit down to the piano for practicing and I find that my goal has been somewhat overly lofty and that try as I may, I am not going to hit this goal I had for myself. When I have an overly lofty goal and I don’t hit it, I am disappointed, I start thinking I’ll never get this right. The piece has just got to be way too challenging for my skill level, and other self-defeating thoughts about my progress. Obviously when I start to feel that way, my enthusiasm runs out much more quickly, I am not motivated to get back to my piano to try again, and I have to really go through what I call some ‘mental gymnastics’ to make myself excited again and regain my motivation momentum.

How much easier would it be for me to plan my own success with my practice sessions by planning on making reasonable and achievable goals for myself, so that I could celebrate hitting these goals and enjoy the subsequent success of my practice time spent! When I know I can hit my goal with a reasonable amount of effort, I am using my time much more wisely, and dare I say efficiently. I am gaining so much more when hit my practice goal. I perk up, I feel like I’ve got this, I’m making progress with this piece, I start to enjoy the piece a little bit more as I see improvement, and to be honest, I feel a little bit more excited about the next time I sit down to practice. I wonder if you would feel the same way? I vote that we all plan our own successes with our practice and that way we can celebrate the wins every single day.


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