We often go through life saying to ourselves, “I want to do this,” or “I want to be better at that,” only to find later that little has actually changed. Humans are perhaps the most adaptable and versatile creatures on Earth, yet we find we are not naturally prone to change.
We’ve all heard the term “practice makes perfect.” Many of us have also heard the rebuttal to this that says “practice makes permanent.” The reality is that practice alone does not create change. This is because practice really only relates to the time spent doing something. Work however relates to the amount of effort that is put into an activity. The saying should be “work makes perfect.” It is only through a conscious consistent effort that we find true change and improvement in our lives.
“Out of sight, out of mind” is no truer than when it comes to the arena of self-improvement. The effort we make must be conscious, we must understand what it is we want and how we plan to get there. Planning is a big part in bringing our desire to change into our daily consciousness. Without it, our mind is likely to wander to the pleasures or problems of the moment which quickly drown out other thoughts unless we provide time and space for those thoughts, which only happens by planning.
Our effort must be consistent because after all, change takes time. Humans are naturally unbending creatures. We often adapt because we have to not because we want to. Climate, circumstance, environment and other external factors are the typical catalysts for change in our lives. So if we want to change because of an internal desire, then we must be consistent in that desire. If we are not consistent, then these desires are like footprints in the sand that are quickly washed away by the waves of other external factors. We must embed those desires deep in the burning fires of our hearts. They must be compounded by the weight of years of consistent work. Then we will find that the raw and dirty coal of our desires for change have truly become the invaluable, unbreakable diamonds of our character.
And yet, I still can’t get my wife to do the dishes and she still complains that I never put any of my food away.