Jan 2, 2014

One Step at a Time

Often, as I enter a new year, I feel the weight of every resolution I make. I’ve tried calling them “goals” to make them seem less burdensome, but in the end, I feel like a piano is hanging over my head ready to drop as soon as I fail. Following through with resolutions is difficult for me. I start out strong but then putter out about 2 weeks later. In the end, the piano (a.k.a. guilt) flattens me like a pancake. 

In theory, to form a good plan, you need to set small goals on your way to the big goal like a step ladder. I’ve known this for all long time, but the concept didn’t fully sink in until I read Kayla one of her stories. Although my daughter didn’t understand anything beyond the illustrations, I had a powerful “ah-ha!” moment.

In Ben’s Big Picture, Ben wants to make a work of art for his grade school’s wall. Unfortunately he knows he is lazy at times and is afraid the principal won’t choose him due to this flaw. He is determined to become more “reliable and organized.” I related to this fictional boy immediately being a procrastinator myself.

Ben must also execute a plan for his art project to be done in a month. He sits down with a blank monthly calendar, but no ideas come, and he just doodles in the first day’s square. Soon he realizes that the drawing he made in day one could be part of a bigger picture. He draws on the entire calendar until every day is covered. Then he sees that if he divided the work and painted each day’s portion on the correlating day, he’d have the project completed in exactly one month. I thought, “I should do that!” Here I’m reading to my toddler, and God is using a children’s book to reach me. Wow.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Finishing is better than starting…” There is no point to my jotting down a first chapter without eventually having a last one. No agent will pick up unfinished work. The summer I worked at Wal-Mart, I ran with a few coworkers every week. Running long distance is not my forte, but one guy advised me to make tiny goals. I’d see a mailbox a couple yards away and set my sights on it. Then, once I passed the mailbox, I’d find another marker to focus on. Before I knew it, I had run the whole way without stopping.

Keep this in mind as you seek to accomplish this year’s resolutions. The big picture may seem overwhelming, but little steps are far more manageable.  Pray for me. With most of my hats having a least one goal each, I will need to do a lot of high-quality planning.

Hats off to you, my friend. I will write again, but until then...
hang on to your hat! ;-)

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