One small step for learning. One giant step for a new skill.

Learning something new is hard and takes time and dedication; whether it be a new wellness habit, a baseball swing, or how to present well to a group. It’s tempting to compare ourselves to others who make it look easy, but we may only be seeing their polished abilities. We need to take into consideration what we haven’t witnessed – the hours and effort they’ve put into practicing and improving. This behind-the-scenes view is not commonly accessible, so many of us just ignore it and assume that others are just naturally good at things. But none of us are born an expert, we all have to put the work in. To learn a new skill, it helps to break it down into easy, manageable steps, and be patient with our selves. These stages should build on the previous and may require the help of an instructor, who can separate the process into learning blocks for us. Make the steps attainable with incremental measurements along the way. For instance, when learning a baseball swing, getting used to keeping our eye on the ball is a good first step. Once making consistent contact with the ball (the measurement), we can move on to learning to transfer our weight through our swing, while still consistently hitting the ball. Many experienced people who aren’t used to teaching, will call out multiple instructions all at once, so it’s important to plan out our learning steps before we get up to bat.

Take action: Take a learning goal you have, and mark on a calendar when you want to have accomplished each step towards it. Be sure to make the steps achievable and realistic so that the process is sustainable. Adjust the goal marker dates if a step is easier than expected, or takes longer to learn.

Inspired by Jenna Wolfe’s book, Thinner in 30: Small Changes that Add Up to Big Weight Loss in Just 30 Days.

Sleep our way to success.

How many times have we heard sayings such as, “You snooze, you loose,” “Early bird gets the worm,” and “Sleep is for wimps”? These ridiculous expressions are part of a societal pressure to attempt to be more productive, by cutting into our under appreciated sleep time. However, often the opposite is true and this sort of thinking can actually work against us. When we are sleep deprived, we make poor decisions, have less energy, and waste time on unimportant tasks. Yes, time management can be tricky, but it’s pointless to get on top of our time, if we ignore energy management, such as when a task takes longer than it should because we can’t focus, or when we keep stopping to snack for a sugar boost, or when we need to backtrack because we’ve forgotten something. This is how we could easily be losing an hour in our day that would have been better spent sleeping. Getting enough sleep is very difficult for many of us. Yet, figuring out how to make it happen is certainly a better solution than walking around like a zombie, in an effort to be further productive. We can definitely make a more positive impression, when we are fully awake at a few key events, than half asleep in a lot of places.

Take action: Make sleep a priority. Make it just as important as eating healthily and getting exercise. A simple web search will give you ways to help improve your sleep, but you first need to make the time for it to happen. Try scheduling it in by marking your calendar for starting your bedtime routine, or if possible, plan for a nap.

Inspired by Arianna Huffington’s book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time