“Keep the fire burnin’…never let us lose our yearnin'” . . . REO Speedwagon (ugh!)
Whatever you are trying to move in your life doesn’t necessarily have to move at once. In some ways, it may even work better to go small. I used to wait until my summer vacation and make big promises to myself to write and I did write. These days, I have around fifteen minutes every morning to write. I use a timer and then study Japanese. I’m getting a lot more done than when I had “all the time in the world.”
Small works when it is consistent. Daniel Coyle writes in The Little Book of Talent five minutes a day is better than infrequent and longer practice period. It is easier to link thoughts in writing when it is day to day. With musical instruments, it is easier to keep “muscle memory” going. Try to stop breathing for an extended time and see how much fun it is to get breathing again. On second thought, don’t. It will be a lot more pleasant for everyone if you keep breathing.
Small leverages the short term to long term memory connection. Masami Utsude describes transforming short term memory into long
term memory. He describes it as a relay race. Imagine a team of matches. One match (short term memory) runs until almost exhausted and lights the next match, continuing until it reaches a candle (long term memory).
Khatz, over at AJATT, talks about learning languages and suggests that critical frequency, moments of constant contact with the language will help it thrive and stay alive:
A language is like a cross between food, air and a pet. You can’t just binge on it once and call it a day. You need it there constantly, no, not constantly — very frequently — and when it does go, it needs to come back soon. Otherwise the skill dies.
Don’t let the skill die. Don’t prevent it from being born. Keep the fire burnin’.