The same young man adapted over time, learning to use a typewriter and used neat block lettering for all of his handwriting efforts. Surprisingly, he decided to become a teacher, and learned early on in his education studies about the work of Robert Rosenthal. Rosenthal was a professor at Harvard University, who asked in the mid-1960s if the expectations of outside influencers - like teachers, parents, and so forth - could mean the difference between positive and negative outcomes in the household, school, workplace. Setting a reasonably-high standard, believing the standard could be made, and communicating that belief in many different ways? Rosenthal learned that teachers who believed their students could achieve had students who could - and did - achieve. And yes, teachers who doubted a student could succeed were more likely to see that student struggle or fail.
I have a full-page sheet of paper on my refrigerator door with the training plan for the first 22 weeks of the calendar year laid out. Days where I run, days where I cross-train, rest days and the goal duration to spend during each day's workout session or sessions; all of the information is in black and white. Since I'm still in the process of building strength, endurance and overall fitness and not focused on a particular race distance, the workouts are straightforward base-building. Six weeks into the 22, the calendar shows more positive markings; workouts accomplished, intensities met, sometimes even both. Every filled block is a step in what I hope is the right direction, travel toward the desired goal.
The calendar on the fridge, with its "big picture" notations, are the macro version of my little daily workout spreadsheet. I don't post mileage or anything quantitative; there are only three types of marks on the calendar, corresponding to a qualitative standard - really good, good, or not-so-good. One mark reminds me I met both the intensity and duration goals for the day, if I met the duration but not the intensity I place a different mark on the calendar. If by some reason I didn't work out at all - unless I am sick or traveling - I mark the date with a big, fat "X." Naturally, that's a "not-so-good" day.
So far, there have only been four of those "X" days. And a few days where I didn't get the duration or intensity I hoped, because of outside issues. But I have to admit I've met or exceeded expectations more often than not. I don't need to scour through the spreadsheet to tell myself things are improving. And if I feel a little too lazy and start to think about cracking open a beer rather than going for a run, all I have to do is take a look at the "big picture" on the refrigerator door.