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Happy New Year!

By January 3, 2022MJV Living

Happy New Year!

I, for one, am excited about the idea of 2022. It’s an opportunity to build on the previous year and the many years that came before.

As much as everything seems to kind of suck right now —the ongoing covid pandemic, the planet is disintegrating, democracy in America is in real troublethe Seahawks are awful at football, John Madden just died… — there is still plenty of room for kindness and optimism. We can never have too much of those things.

About halfway through 2020, I started embracing the “practice –> suck less –> practice –> suck less”  daily improvement feedback loop. I first learned of this philosophy from Austin Kleon.

It’s a way of slowly making progress on things by tackling them one session at a time. It’s also a way to fend of nasty thoughts about not being good at a thing, which could prevent you from starting working on it in the first place. If you come at it from the mindset that you already suck at the thing, and that you will probably always suck at the thing, suddenly the stakes will seem much lower and you will be able to not worry about being good or not, you just start doing the thing.

After each session, you suck a little less at the thing than you did when you first started. The incremental improvements will add up over time, and suddenly you might seem to be way better at the thing. But you still might suck, but that’s ok because you can keep working on it.

I made this sign. It’s hanging in my studio. It serves as a nice reminder.

practice –> suck less –> practice –> suck less –> practice –> suck less –> practice –> suck less

The fun never is never-ending.

Every year I print out a calendar for each of the activities I’m choosing to focus on. Every time I complete my session for the day, I reward myself by putting a big fat X on the calendar. It’s great fun! If I don’t do the thing, I give myself a big fat O for the day, which is not as much fun 🙁

In 2021 I had focused on four things.

  • Singing practice – 30 min / day
  • Dancing practice – 60 minutes /day
  • Guitar practice –  60 minutes  / day
  • Writing – one blog post per day

Here is how I did:

  • Singing practice – 184 sessions
  • Dancing practice – 248 sessions
  • Guitar practice – 99 sessions
  • Writing – 65 blog posts

Not too shabby! I didn’t hit my goals every day but I’m happy with my effort.

For 2022 I will be focusing on the same four things.  Though I reserve the right to change my mind at any point. I’ve printed out my new calendars and I am ready to go.

I hope to pick up my guitar practice and writing habit this year. Also, did I mention that I’m taking voice lessons this year?!! And who knows when the pandemic will be over, but when it is safe I plan on taking some dance lessons. It will be nice to dance with actual people instead of YouTube videos.