Figure Out, Try It, Stick With It, Revise, Repeat


Woman using a laptop, cup of coffee and book

When I talk with instructors about choosing aspects of their courses (teaching strategies, assessments, etc.) I remind them that it’s an iterative process. You figure out what you want to do, try it, stick with it long enough to see if it works or not, revise what you’re doing as needed, and then try out that out, sticking with it long enough to see if it works. Ideally, you keep going through this process every time you teach a course.

This concept of something being an iterative process appears all throughout our lives.

You cook a recipe you’ve found in a cook book. You take note of what worked well and what didn’t. If you decide to make the dish again, you may modify the recipe based on your previous experience with it.

If you commute to work, you may try different routes or leaving at different times to try to find the least traffic or at least less stress.

The same is true when it comes to goals and habits. You may not ever change your long-term goals, but you may change your yearly or monthly goals if you find that they aren’t moving you toward what you really want or don’t align with your values. Habits may need to be revisited as well, even those habits you view as positive. As authors James Clear, Gretchen Rubin, and Todd Henry have all pointed out, it’s the things we do on a regular basis, that we’re consistent about, that are or become our habits that determine where we’ll go and who we’ll be.

I’ve written several times in the past about my “dailies”, something I picked up from Todd Henry, which he wrote about on his blog and in his third book Louder Than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice.

In that book, Todd wrote:

My dailies are all related to specific long-term goals that I want to achieve in life or work, and are designed to keep me on track mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

He also talked about his Manifesto in that book, but it was his blog post on this that included this item from his own Manifesto, which I included in mine:

Be ordered. Your daily personal habits and rituals determine your destiny.

Todd recently talked about “dailies” again on his podcast, which got me thinking about whether mine were still the ones I should have. Were they keeping me on track toward my long-term goals? Were they aligned with who I want to be? I decided that it was time to revise, try the new list out, give it time to see if these dailies were right for me, and then possibly revise them again.

These are my dailies as of March 1. The ones in bold are new.

  • Meditate
  • Recite my manifesto
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes
  • Drink at least 3 litres of healthy fluid (trying to avoid another kidney stone)
  • Write at least 250 words
  • Learn for at least 30 minutes (read, listen to a podcast, etc.)
  • Note at least one idea for a Better Me post or podcast
  • Have at least one conversation with my wife where I’m truly present
  • Have at least one conversation with my daughter where I’m truly present
  • Review my weekly and monthly goals

I removed the following from the list because they’ve become such consistent habits that they were always checked off. While as of today I’ve meditated more than 290 days in a row, it’s key to my daily well-being so I left it on my list of “dailies”.

  • Plan my day
  • Review my day
  • Floss
  • Write something in my “one-line-per-day” journal

Do you have habits, whether you view them as positive or negative that you should revisit, maybe change, try, stick with, and review how they’re going?

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