Monday, January 28, 2019

Small Steps are Better Than No Steps

Can you believe the end of this week signals a whole new month?!?!  The "New Year" won't feel quite so crisp anymore.  Ground hogs will be stalked, Valentines plotted and, before we know it, we will be looking to spring. 

As this year rolls into full-motion I wonder... how many of us have kept up momentum with New Year's declarations and ambitions?  Has anyone given up yet?  Is anyone wearing down so far?  Me... well, I struggled right out of the gate!!  Every ambition I felt Led to set seemed to shake even before the Christmas Tree was tucked away!

Then I remembered...

Last year I was driven to really do things differently.  Change was desperately needed in my heart and life, so, I prayed fervently and diligently pursued each path God lay before me.  I didn't just learn and grow in 2018, but I developed skills and persistence I never knew I was capable of.  This memory is what is keeping me from giving up already in this new year. 

As I think on this stumble-bumble direction I am attempting to go with 2019 hopes and dreams, I thought of YOU, my sweet friend and reader.  I thought of all the Instagram and blog posts lamenting and lagging this month.  It is as if a funk has enveloped the planet (or at least the northern hemisphere?) and women everywhere are fighting not just to stay the course, but, in some cases, to keep their wits in the process!

So, here is my advice, tried and true, a mantra I am constantly still repeating to myself with regularity:

Even small steps are better than no steps.

I believe we get so focused on those BIG steps to meet the end of an idea or pursuit that we forget how monumental the little ones really are in the process....

Hope: I want to stay on top of housework more this year so I will clean one room every day....
Reality: I straightened a pile of magazines and cleaned spilled cereal off the floor

Hope: I want to eat healthier....
Reality: I switched out my morning cereal for yogurt but botched the rest of the day.

Hope: I want to yell at my kids less...
Reality: I didn't yell this morning, kinda lost it this afternoon though

Hope: I want to stay on-task in our homeschool day...
Reality: We kept up with math for most of the week but kind of fell off on the rest

We often get caught up on all the ways we missed the mark (or didn't even start).  We forget how even a small step in the right direction is part of the process of getting where we are going.

... so you aren't on top of housework yet, you got something done.  Try challenging yourself with one added little thing each day!

... so you didn't get all the right healthy choices in today, you made ONE... and even if you made none, that is OK... there is always tomorrow!  Try gradually switching out healthy for unhealthy in your meal plans.

... so you only managed to keep your cool in one situation in the day, it is a START.  Pray through the frustration, take 10 when necessary and trust... as you continue to choose new reactions you will gradually progress to where you want to be. not all the curriculum was covered as hoped, but some was, which is better than NONE!  (and even on those none days, just like healthy eating, tomorrow is a new day to try again!) Try staying on task one subject at a time, one day at a time.  You are going to have hiccups in progress but you are going to get where you need to be.

Life is an accumulation of the little choices you make.  Whether with goals or interpersonal relations, it tends to be those oft over-looked moments which collect to create the greatest impact.  As we step, one foot in front of the other, taking as it comes, we are building stamina to keep going onto the next... and the next... and the next!  Don't begrudge small beginnings!

 I am pushing forward.  I am refusing the funk.  I am hoping for better and progress and momentum... even one step at a time!  How about you?

I pray you find the Divine push you need and the encouragement to keep making, even incremental, change whenever you can!


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