"Some people spend their entire lives waiting for the time to be right to make an improvement." James Clear

If I had kept practicing my painting every day, maybe I'd have a gallery wall by now. If I had continued knitting, crocheting, or sewing, I'd probably be making cute hats for all my friends with ease. But as I gaze at the Island of Misremembered Hobbies in my craft room, I can't help but feel a tinge of sadness. These are all the hobbies I could have excelled at by now if only I had kept practicing them instead of letting them slip away.Over the last few years, I've been on a slow and steady journey of learning how to prevent things from slipping through my fingers. By taking the time to step out of my comfort zone and embrace the magic of tiny changes, I have discovered the joy of being a lifelong learner.

How to embrace changes:

  1. Change Is Always Happening - Take Advantage of That

I used to think that the worst thing about being human was being aware of time as it continued to pass, and knowing there was a finite amount of it. I’d often sit on the floor of my college apartment paralyzed by the knowledge of the passage of time, and how I wasn’t “doing enough” to experience more.

With some help from my therapist I came to the understanding that I could use this knowledge to shift my mindset - time would always pass & change was inevitable. What I did in during that time was what would mean the most. So I became much more intentional. I began purposely seeking out new little experiences around me.

One of the best places I found to uncover these was in the library or in a coffee shop. There’s often bulletin boards that showcase community events and spaces like book clubs or knitting pals. My life could either be spent sitting on my floor paralyzed by anxiety or by sitting alongside new friends discussing the book of the month. You’d be shocked at how many fun, niche groups there are! My LifeAt Planner is full of reminders of events that are happening all around me. By adding these community events in to my daily planner I am able to fit more of these small spaces of meaning into my week.

  1. Practicing your Progress

The first time I tried to knit it was a disaster. I had bought all of the fun, shiny new tools with the goal of making a Pinterest worthy chunky knitted hat to be whimsical for the fall season. I set the yarn on my bed, pulled out the fancy (expensive) knitting sticks, and pressed play on the Youtube tutorial waiting on my laptop. A short while later my fingers were aching and the ball of yarn was tangled on my bed, and I’d never gotten past the first 7 minutes of the tutorial. Out of frustration I put the tools away in a box under my bed with the intention of trying again later.

So, later hasn’t happened and it’s been 14 months.

Overcoming the initial struggle and feelings of frustration can be difficult, especially when Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) comes into play. Those with RSD, often experienced by individuals with ADHD, feel intense emotional distress due to failure or perceived rejection. I manage this by figuring out ways to make minor moments of progress.

Just last month I pulled the box out from under my bed and propped it on my desk. I looked up ways to keep your yarn from tangling while knitting and found a small basket to set next to my hobby chair. I’ve watched the youtube tutorial for at least 3 minutes a day to get the hang of the motions & know what’s coming next. In my LifeAt Notes widget, I like to spend a 5 minutes a day reflecting on how the minor changes have made me feel, what I learned, and how I will continue to learn tomorrow. I let out the feelings of frustration I have in my notes & give it a space to exist so it doesn’t swell up in my head and stop me from trying again tomorrow.

It's important to understand that making mistakes is a natural part of learning and growth. By embracing this process and seeing mistakes as valuable opportunities for personal development, it becomes easier to manage emotions and overcome the fear of not being perfect.

  1. A LifeLong Newbie

Being a lifelong learner is all about recognizing that growth is a journey that never ends. It's amazing how even small improvements can have a huge impact over time. Just a couple of months ago, I was struggling to crack an egg without using a spoon, but now I can (mostly) do it with just one hand! I made it a habit to practice at least once a day while I was in the kitchen - whether I was making my morning coffee or getting ready for a snack. It only took a minute or two each day to teach myself how to properly hold and crack an egg.

By breaking my big goal into manageable steps, I've been able to make progress and overcome the challenges that used to hold me back. This approach not only makes me more productive, but it also boosts my self-confidence. With each small step forward, I can see myself getting closer to my ultimate goal of making the most of my time.