15 minutes a day

14 May

One of my learnings this year for me seems to be about developing consistent good habits for myself and my children. Earlier, around the time of Baha’i fast (March), I realized that I need to commit to a certain time to do my obligatory prayer if I am to remember to do it (yes, after so many years as a Baha’i I still struggle with this). It happened kind of naturally really as we are allowed to eat after sunset so I was ACUTELY aware of when sunset was. As I waited for that time of day, I realized I had not prayed yet and doing this several days, I made the conscious choice to make it part of my daily routine. This worked well because on days when I work, I get home at 5:30 and need a little time to myself before facing the family – the perfect time to pray. I also combined the prayer time with the time for my daily exercise routine. This works well for me because I am very mental and not really “in my body” most of the time but exercising made me much more present, which then helped me be present in my prayers. This routine worked really well during fast but slipped a bit afterwards then improved again. It is a work in progress but I am doing much better than I ever had before.

Another learning came a few weeks ago, thanks to our friend Matt, who is also Roya’s piano teacher. Let me just say that I think he is an amazing teacher – he is so patient and in tune with what Roya needs in terms of instruction and so flexible – I wish we had started her on piano with him much earlier! We will miss his lessons very much but are really grateful for his foundation….Back to what I learned from Matt – he and Roya started a daily practice chart where she would write how long she practiced every day. The great thing is, Matt told her at first that she should practice no more than 10 minutes a day – he was trying to develop the habit and chose such a short time so as to not encounter resistance. Well, it is now week 2 and she herself chose to move up the time on the weekends to 15 min. She feels a great sense of accomplishment when she does her time and checks it off. So I decided to do the same for the kids’ English reading – ie. have them read 15 min. with me every day. I had tried before to read “a little every day” but without a firm goal/plan, it was far from consistent. Plus when you tell them it will only be 15 minutes, it does not seem as daunting as “Come read with me (endlessly!)”

So after all this, I decided that I myself need to adopt this for my Chinese study. It has been almost a year since I stopped formal Chinese classes and I know my (intermediate) level is just not good enough (I mean esp. for my research which I want to do in China). This term was less busy than I’ve had in a long time and I started doing some Chinese on my own but again, not consistently. So today I began my 15 minutes of Chinese a day. If I want to do more, I can but it is a base I hope I can keep up with.

So if you want to work on something, why don’t you try doing it for 15 minutes a day?

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One Response to “15 minutes a day”

  1. Mud Spice May 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    This is such a great reminder for me because I have been having similar issues. What a great post. Thanks!

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