The number I always start with is three minutes. Yes, ONLY THREE. I'm dealing with nine and ten year olds and we can't just thrust them into silent reading for 30 minutes right off the bat. They will fidget, ask to go to the restroom every five seconds, and ask about recess and lunch. But, starting off with a small, obtainable goal does something to them. When they realize they can actually achieve the small, obtainable goal, they get excited about the next goal. They also love shading in the thermometer (which is a piece of data that actually makes them happy).
One more thing I like to mention. If they look up from their book, get up out of their seat, raise their hand to ask a question, or speak during that three minutes, I stop what they're doing and we gather together on the carpet and talk about why we did not reach our goal. Then, we get someone to model the "right" way and the "not so right" way and restart our goal. For as long as I've done this (approximately four years), it has worked EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Folks come into my class like, "Wow, they're so quiet. They're so engaged. What did you do." It's simple:
They learned how to build their stamina.
I have a great understanding that our passion does wake up, but you do have to start somewhere. And just like my students who actually needed a small, obtainable goal to jumpstart their daily silent reading habit, sometimes we need the same to jumpstart our own goals. Remember it's all about small wins.
When we build our stamina in our actions, our big goals are broken into manageable chunks, and we establish a consistent schedule.
That means that if we are steady on the course of action, we'll have a greater probability of success. For me, I just have to start with a small, obtainable goal. Start at 6 a.m., then wind the clock back 30 minutes. Keep going until you get to a 4 a.m. wake up time. And then, who know? 3 a.m.?
Let's see how it works out. #BuildStamina