Starting Something Vs. Building a Practice

I recently talked with a friend about a change she was trying to make in her life. I asked her how it was going, and if the change was helping her. The answer was, “No, I tried it a couple of times and it didn’t work so I stopped doing it.

There is a big difference between starting something and building a practice into your daily life.

Starting is good but most likely won’t bring about the change you’re looking for. It takes time to see results for most changes. I painted 13 little finches before I painted one that looked like a finch. If I had stopped after my first attempt I wouldn’t know this.

A practice is anything you do regularly that nurtures you. -Sarah Twichell

Building a practice doesn’t happen after one or two tries. It definitely does not happen over night. It’s something that probably requires some attention and effort. Building a practice can be very simple but it’s not necessarily easy.

So what does this look like if you’re trying to make a change in your life?   It means showing up every day, even when it’s hard.  Especially when it’s hard–day in and day out.  That’s building a practice and showing discipline.

“Discipline is remembering what you really want”

-Pam Young

Why is starting not enough?

  • Building one practice teaches us how to build others.  I approach change differently after having added painting everyday to my life.
  • Being dedicated and disciplined in adding something you love to your days brings better results.  Your abilities grow with your practice.

A Challenge: Build a Practice!

We don’t need to start another project and let it go unfinished.  We all have enough of those! Instead, let’s do something really loving and compassionate for ourselves. Let’s build a practice!

I want you to build a practice of doing something truly nice for yourself everyday. Just pick ONE nice thing you can do for yourself and do it EVERYDAY for the next 30 days.

Don’t put it off!  We are going to start NOW.

It should be something that you can do in 30 minutes or less. It should not take longer than that. Everyone is busy and if your truly loving thing takes more time than that then you may skip it–and skipping a day is your worst enemy!  It leads to feelings of failure, guilt, bad self talk…

One small act of self-love today, then again tomorrow.

If you can do this for a month, then you are building a practice. If you’re not, then you are just starting again and again, and that effort can be draining.

Bonus Challenge: Build a Team

Are you ready to build a practice? Does it seem easy? Good, that means you’ve built a practice before and it’s not new to you. (Remember, I said it gets easier the more you do it!)

The bonus challenge is to start building a team. Tracy and I LOVED having each other to lean on when we started making changes. Having a teammate or friend do this with you can be a HUGE help in making it stick. Here’s the best part: you don’t have to be doing the same activity. You just have to set up a way to communicate with each other to offer support, encouragement, and bounce ideas off of each other.

You could use your team to accomplish a common loving goal together. If you live nearby you could meet up at a coffeehouse or bookstore. Being surrounded by the right people can make a world of difference when building a practice.

Share what you’re building in the comments. It just might inspire someone else!



Kel Wilson

I am a wildlife biologist turned wife and mother, and more recently artist and blogger. It’s my mission to spread this idea to as many women as possible: Stop punishing and depriving yourself! You are so important, unique, and special! Start loving yourself enough to make the changes you need to find your happy place. Start doing this by adding something you love to your everyday life. I promise you, it will rock your world!

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3 Responses to Starting Something Vs. Building a Practice

  1. I began building a practice about a month ago.
    I painted the door to my laundry room with black chalkboard paint just for fun. Then one morning instead of laying in bed and worrying, fretting and generally building monsters in my head, I got up and made a lovely pot of coffee and drew on my chalkboard. I’ve done this every morning since. It brings a beautiful peaceful start to my day and totally feeds my soul. It’s so freeing to draw and create for no special purpose other than I want to.
    Of course, being an attention craving artist, I take a photo of my masterpieces and post them on my Instagram. It’s amazing how doing just a quick 15 minute design loosens up your brain for other creativity to flow through.

    • Karen says:

      What a wonderful idea, Rebecka!

      I have been crocheting for the first hour or so after the hubby goes off to work. He has been getting up earlier the last couple of months, leaving a full hour earlier than normal. At first I’d go back to sleep, but the last few weeks I’ve been staying up and crocheting. I am getting a lot more crocheting done, and also more productive throughout the day, even though I am very tired by the end of the week. Bedtime around here comes really early these days!

  2. Carol says:

    Really good and inspiring ideas, ladies. I do something similar when I am home, making sure I do some knitting or quilting first thing in the morning. I like Rebecka’s idea of doing something purely spontaneous and temporary. I need to give that some thought.

    Since I’m currently a month into at least a three month visit with my daughter and family awaiting our fourth grandchild, I am finding it a challenge to continue with my usual practices – stretching, meditating and writing. The stretching is working itself off as my body is being quite vocal if I skip that, but the other two are very hit or miss. I’m not sure how to change that right now. And maybe it isn’t necessary, as having this intense time with the girls feeds my soul in a different and very good way.

    I can absolutely vouch for the advantage to having a buddy on my journey. A friend and I have been sharing our gratitude lists nearly daily for several months now. More days than I care to admit having that bit of accountability has helped center me and reminded me to continue my gratitude practice.

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