Which is more powerful – goal or practice?

Have you ever written practise when you meant practice?

I made this mistake a few months ago on the Grow Your Own Gorgeousness Facebook page.

I wrote practiCe instead of PractiSe. Hats off to the Grow Your Own Gorgeousness Facebook Liker who pointed out my mistake.

I bow to you and thank you with all of my heart.

You see, since then PractiCe (with a c) has been tapping me on the shoulder and won’t go away.

Smiling with gentle, wholesome-digestive-biscuit sort of wisdom, PractiCe kept saying, “I’ve got something to show you.”

To begin with I was a bit like, “Whaddya want? I’m busy.”

That probably sounds rude, but you see, in the coaching world its all about the high-flying goals. A little like Jammy Dodgers, goals are sweet, red targets with high promise rewards. Conversation revolves around the milestones, motivation, strategy and crème/jam/layered up drive and little is said about the quiet, gentle plod of a practice.

Yet it turns out that PractiCe has determination. PractiCe knows how to chip away.

PractiCe has a practice of tapping you on the shoulder, gently and consistently.

PractiCe does’t go away.

Eventually you have to listen.

“So what is it that you want exactly?” I sighed, sinking into a chair, shutting my eyes and massaging my temples.

PractiCe smiled.

He leaned forward with poise. Poured us each a cup of green tea. “I want to show you the difference,” he said, “between a Jammy Dodger and a Digestive Biscuit.”

The Differences 

“As a writer, your sweet jammy goal is to complete your book this year. Your wholesome practice is the schedule that you set yourself to write each week.

As a runner, your sweet jammy goal is to run a half marathon in October. Your daily, wholesome practice is getting up, putting on your trainers and hitting the road.

As a woman who quests for spiritual awareness, your sweet jammy goal is to break through your limiting beliefs about who you are. Your daily practice is meditation, good food and Yoga.

A practice is something that we develop and build upon. It is more than an action we force ourselves to do so we can achieve a red target six months down the line. A practice is intentional. It is on going. It turns our activities into an art and daily actions into foundations that support whole new life paths.

I listened to PractiCe explaining this and as he spoke I began to think about my Grow Your Own Gorgeousness Facebook page that was born in March 2014.

Each day I drew a picture and put on a quote that spoke to me. I did this because my brain had turned to mush (post baby) and I couldn’t write a sentence, but what I could do to hold my creative space, was draw.

Each day me and my felt-tip pens turned up at the pad of paper.

Now, ten months later, there’s a thriving FB page with this crazy-huge tribe circling around it. If I’d set myself the GOAL to make a Facebook page with 6000+ likes, there would have been no soul to it.

Every piece of art would have been a means to an end. Creating would have become a grind and I’d have felt enslaved by the target. Instead I just continued my daily practice of creating art. It was a joy and still is.

Sipping my tea, I turned to PractiCe. “Okay, tell me some more …”  

He said, “PRACTICE ENHANCES YOUR CONNECTION TO THE DAY.”

When we write or draw a goal, a subconscious process is triggered that starts us moving TOWARDS our goal.

While this is helpful in creating successful lives, if we are constantly focused on having that thing happen we are sending ourselves the message “until I get THERE I will not be enough and my life will not be enough.”

In other words, we continually put off our happiness until we reach a milestone. This is crazy because the present day is all we have. By cultivating a PRACTICE we get to enjoy the day, enjoy the process and grow each time we turn up and commit another session. We learn to love ourselves in the moment and not when we finally get to the distant rainbow of goal achievement.

He went on, “PRACTICE SECURES YOUR DREAM”

In the summer of 2008 I went to a spiritualist fayre and had a reading with a psychic. She held my hand in hers and said, “Bethan, you are planning on going to University very shortly. I see books that you have written. I see … success!”

I was happy with the accuracy of my reading. After all, I was off to begin a Masters in Writing for Children that September, a goal which, once completed would help me achieve my dreams of being a writer.

What the psychic didn’t mention was that following a terrible incident, my brother would be killed the week I was due to begin the course. As a result I didn’t achieve my goal of going to University. Instead I sat at home, wondering at the madness of life, and a few months later began my first blog.

Writing my blog regularly was what turned me into a regular writer; then a confident writer; then a published writer. I am still a writer who has blood thirsty show-downs with grammer; who regularly spells things wrong and mixes up Ss and Cs in practice and isn’t 100% convinced she knows what to do with a semi-colon. But I am a writer – because I write.

He then closed by saying, “PRACTICE STAYS LOYAL.” 

How many times have you started a diet in order to lose weight for a holiday or the summer? You eat less, exercise more and if your will-power holds strong, you may manage to achieve a “bikini body”. Once summer is over and the cold, wet weather creeps in, the old habits follow shortly after and eventually your old body too.

Compare yo-yo goal setting diets to someone who has developed a Yoga practice over the years. Through rhythmic weekly sessions, this person has gradually developed core strength and core serenity. As the weeks grow into months, serenity becomes peace and the need to binge-eat falls away. When this person goes on holiday, the Yoga mat goes with them. Once the holiday is a distant memory, the Yoga practice lives on. The practice continues through winter, then spring and then into summer again.

Goals are fair weather friends. They are charismatic, exciting and entice you forward in great leaps. A practiCe is the loyal companion that maintains your stability, your energy and your Zen. 

Having listened to PractiCe’s wisdom, I leaned back and rubbed my head.

I closed my eyes and swung between the Zen, Digestive world of Yogic days and then back to the burning hoop of Jammy-Dodger-risk-dare-leap-whoop-wooohooo-trapeze madness. The more I thought of Digestives, the more sickly the Jammy Dodger became and the more I considered Jammy Dodgers, the more dull the digestive grew.

Total dilemma.

In the end I decided that there was only one thing for it: the ULTIMATE power balance.

I would set myself targets in certain life areas, such as my business. For these I would continue using my core coaching systems, such as Goal Mapping and the Grow Your Gorgeous 2015 Workbook. In other areas (such as health) I would set up daily practices; systematic actionables that, over time, would flower into higher energy, radiant thinking and positive manifestation.

My prediction is that through this dynamic interplay of high reward and wholesome process, a completely different biscuit will be brought to life.

With the perfect Goal/Practice Ratio, I introduce you to …

… the Chocolate Digestive. 

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