As a speaker/trainer on the topics of play/early learning and self-care/burnout for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen variations of the following scenario play out again and again and want to do something about it:
Someone, we’ll call her Jenny, gets fired up during a conference session about a topic (loose parts, rough-and-tumble play, managing burnout, etc) and decides then and there to make a change in their professional practice or personal life.
Saturday afternoon, Jenny leaves the event energized and dedicated to providing more loose parts for the kids, or setting up a dedicated space for roughhousing, or getting up and going for a walk before work every day. She can’t wait to get started.
On the way to her car, she checks her phone (it’s been off for over four hours) and is pummeled by notifications, messages, and voice mails. Her eagerness to change slips to the back of her mind while she addresses all the demands on her attention. She’s got to bring home dinner, get one kid from soccer practice and the other from tuba lessons, and remember to clean the cat puke off the rug in the kitchen if it’s still there (she knows it will still be there.)
Sunday is enjoyable and busy. Jenny has a lot to do, but she does manage 20 minutes to think about and prepare for the change she wants to make. Maybe she reads an article on loose parts or downloads an app to track her steps so she can measure how far she walks when she kicks off her new routine the next morning. She’s so excited to give her New Thing a try.
Monday morning, Jenny tries her New Thing.
Tuesday, Life distracts her and she doesn’t get to the New Thing.
Wednesday, the New Thing gets another try.
Thursday, it slips her mind.
Friday, she mentally beats herself up for not being successful at implementing the New Thing. She failed at changing–again.
Saturday, she slips back into the routines of soccer, tuba, and cat puke. She commits to try again when life is less hectic while knowing deep down that it’ll never be less hectic.
Change is hard
To make it a bit easier, I want to create an informal online workgroup of peers who are interested in working together to make change. A place here at Playvolution HQ where people like Jenny can declare the change they want to make, check in with the ups and downs of their efforts, and receive (and offer) support.
I’m not sure this will work, but I do think it’s worth a try. If you’re a Jenny and want to be part of this experiment, visit the Implementing Change Workgroup page, and start engaging.
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