If practice doesn’t make perfect
You’re probably familiar with the well-used saying, ‘practice makes perfect’. I actually don’t think it’s very usable anymore, as the idea of trying to be perfect is slowly being eroded.
And hooray for that. We know that ‘being perfect’ doesn’t actually exist and that we become miserable and exhausted trying to get there.
So, if practice doesn’t make perfect, what does it make?
It makes embodiment.
Did you know that doing something 300 times gives us muscle memory?
Doing it 3000 times makes it embodied.
It becomes automatic. It’s ‘in our body’. We no longer need to go via our heads to remember or consciously do it. Our bodies just do it.
The practice of practicing is essential. If we want to learn anything, change anything, be better at anything; it takes practice.
This applies to absolutely everything: from external activities like learning a sport, or managing our finances…
..to wanting to change internal things, such as learning new ways of feeling good, changing unhelpful habits, feeling whole & more in alignment. And practice is involved whatever method we choose; whether it’s through mindfulness, meditation, somatic practices, therapy or all the myriad of other ways we can explore ourselves.
It’s the old, if we want to see a change, we need to make a change.
And then practice it.
So, and as with most things in life, we have to get the balance right.
We need the discipline of practice to make a long lasting change; the Nike ad “just do it” idea. But – and really importantly – it needs to be within the context of kindness and compassion for ourselves.
This means that on the days we don’t manage to practice, we don’t beat ourselves up, or give up the project completely. But we instead recognise that even though it’s important we’re consistent, missing a day is not the end of the world and we can always begin again tomorrow.
So, if we want to create new habits and make changes:
We need to practice regularly with purpose and intention, have realistic goals and kindness to ourself. When we do this over and over, we reach embodiment and our new skill, habit or way of being in the world becomes a natural part of us.
What are you going to practice this autumn?