The joy of small successes

I post quite a lot about self-reflection and growth. Essentially I'm just a massive fan of mirrors and plants. Recently, our lives have shrunk quite considerably. Achieving big things and taking major steps don't seem like realistic intentions right now, so I've been mulling over the fact that I'm really enjoying the little things in life. My family and friends have heard me bang on about this for some time now, but I have honestly found so much joy in cooking a new dish, watching a new programme on Netflix or getting stuck in a really good book. All of these things are simultaneously great examples of self-care, too. Having said that, it's easy to feel stagnant. I'm lucky in that I have something I'm working towards over this year (my teaching qualification) but for a lot of us, there aren't really any tangible targets; life is creeping along at a snail's pace. Every day is almost identical to the last. This is what I had been thinking about over the past week... BUT THEN I came to a really simple and yet somehow enlightening conclusion. We can still set ourselves targets, but why don't we reduce the size of these targets? I used to be the queen of Unrealistic Expectations. As in, I'd set myself goals that I was never going to achieve, but setting these goals - actually writing them down - somehow gave me a sense of satisfaction. The only problem was, most of them were so vague and required so much time and effort that when I did review them months later, I just felt (yep, you guessed it) REALLY FRICKIN' ANNOYED. So why do we do this to ourselves? Why do you set the bar so high when we have responsibilities, bodies that tire - that AREN'T machines, goddamit - and relationships to nurture? There are only so many balls you can juggle, right? I dare you to set yourself one, two or three little things to achieve each day. It's that simple. Whatever brings you a little bit of joy or gives you a sense of satisfaction. It could be going meat-free for a day. It could be saying hello to someone who needs it. It could be writing a difficult but necessary e-mail. It could be walking home instead of getting on public transport (pretty easy at the moment because I know most people are avoiding other grimy, infectious, bus-riding humans.) It could be tidying your bedroom, putting your cushions in order, ARRANGING YOUR BOOKS BY COLOUR. ANYTHING. As I said, I'm currently training to be a teacher, so it's incredibly tempting to want to be able to fix all of the issues in my class immediately, to set myself these huge targets that encompass planning and delivery and maintaining enthusiasm and what have you. Sometimes it's good to step back and look at the bigger picture. I'm not even halfway through my training, so why would I aim to have my young whippernsnappers reciting Shakespeare by the Easter Holidays? (Not something I actually want, but you get my point.) Instead, I'm trying to focus on the small things that make up each day, because guess what? A lot of small things = a big thing! In fact, when you've got abstract goals such as 'to be able to have mastered behaviour management' and 'to have the respect of all the children', it's pretty difficult to measure your success - what matters is the small things that are proof that you have good behaviour management strategies, that your kids listen to instructions. We really should give more credit to the little things. These are the unsung heroes, the moments that make us smile, little candles inside us that flicker with warmth. Sometimes they're habits, good habits. And just because they're small doesn't mean that you can't feel excited about them. So, what will your day-to-day goals be?