I have a recipe for achieving improvements in my strength and skills that I’ve learned over the decades. It includes the three Ps. 

Process  –  Persistence  –  Patience

Process is a set of sequential actions to take that are designed to produce a good result. It is having some sort of method or structure to follow for whatever it is you want to develop. 

Persistence is the consistent and frequent effort put into doing the process. 

Patience is the attitude of trust that persistence and process will have a positive effect, given enough time. 

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Through these, I’ve learned a foreign language, became capable of playing a musical instrument, developed a useful level of mindfulness, and successfully finished grad school. Through these, I’ve improved aspects of my health and even increased strength and endurance as I’ve gotten older.  By these, I sustain long climbs on mountain runs or swim for extended periods of time into the wind and waves in open water. Through these, I’ve healed up from injury and restored my capabilities. 

Through process-persistence-patience, you do a bit each day, most days of the week, week after week, month after month, and before you know it you have a lifestyle habit and your body adapts to the new norm of the challenge you’ve set and grows in its capability. As you grow you gain confidence, efficiency, and refinement in the activity. 

Cycle through a few bodyweight exercises. 

Swim or run skillfully for a number of minutes or meters. 

Practice the parts of a song on your instrument. 

Make some sketches or write continuously on a page for a set amount of time. 

Go out on a daily task using only pieces of the language you are trying to learn. 

A key to successfully getting started is to choose the amount of activity for a session (the amount of challenge) that you feel you could do successfully; don’t make it tough. Then just practice doing it every day, even a little bit. The first thing you are trying to establish is consistency, or normalizing the activity as a part of your life so that it becomes a fairly welcome routine. Do this before you actually make it more challenging, then incrementally turn up the challenge just as it starts to feel easy or less engaging. And keep doing it, a little each day, day after day.


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