The Splits - Forming Good Habits

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 -

Mr. Patel does the splits in assembly, Dec. 7, 2017

At Assembly last Thursday, I (sort of) made “good” on a promise I made to our students in September. I shared with them, then, that on average it takes 66 days to cement a habit, and I challenged them to take one on. In fact, I, too, would pick something and prove to them, some 66 days later, it works.

Each year, I set goals for myself - both professionally and personally. Given the polarized nature of discord, opinions, and perspectives in our world, one of my goals this year is to become more FLEXIBLE. I want to understand other perspectives; to listen more carefully to the opinions of those that my immediate instinct tells me to dismiss. I want to be a better listener, thinker, and seek to understand multiple points of view.

I continued this metaphor into my fitness journey. Perhaps as a now 50-year-old, I need to become more physically FLEXIBLE. All the evidence seems to indicate that this bending and manipulating helps with the aging process. So…for 66 days I began a daily stretching regime. I joined a hot yoga program that I now attend twice a week. Perhaps inspired by our senior dancers, I made a very public proclamation that in 66 days I hoped to do the splits. Yes, you read that correctly – THE SPLITS. What the heck, go big or go home! I’ve never done the splits. I’ve never wanted to do the splits.

On December 7th it was 66 days since I made this bold (crazy) statement. It seemed reasonable at the time. How hard could it be? I see our senior dancers easily achieve this plastic move so why can’t a 50-year-old, broken-down, former athlete do it – simple, right?

The proof is in the tightly wound pudding.

After reminding the student body of my words from 66 days ago, the anticipation built in the Killy Theatre. Questions were muttered … “Can Mr. Patel really do the splits?” … “Won’t he tear his suit pants?” … (from Mrs. Patel) …”Will I have to drive him to the hospital?”

After much encouragement from my Brentwood family, I swung into action and made “good” of my promise…err…well almost. Please ask your child what really happened!

For the record, it was not the full splits. You can see it here!

Setting goals and committing to the process does not always guarantee successful completion of that big audacious goal. In those 66 days, however, I created a positive habit that I will continue for some time, and hey, I am far more flexible than I was in September. Like anything in life, it starts with having the courage and conviction to take that first step. I hope they, too, have cemented some good habits over this past term that they will take with them for the rest of this year and beyond.

It’s never too late to start!

De Manu in Manum,

Bud Patel, Head of School



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