Principle #2: Take It Easy

baby-steps1 Well, by now you’ve set your goals and are well on your way to stardom.  But I am still stuck with a list of possibilities that need to be reconsidered and trimmed down.  I took my own advice and just allowed the ideas to come.  I prayed hard and specifically to be led to goals that will move me in the direction of becoming my best self.

Every idea was allowed to land on my scratch paper and get comfortable with all of the other random ideas flowing in. Earlier this week I categorized the goals and typed up a list.  I am happy to report that there are only 18 books to read, 52 blog posts to write, indexing to please even Elder Bednar, 2 large Family History projects, a diet that puts Daniel and Co to shame, reasonable bedtimes, early rise times, Olympic fitness routines, dates with the hubby, time with the kids, weekly temple trips, daily journal entries, and significant gospel study.  (It sounds like an obnoxious Christmas card report, doesn’t it??!) We are studying the New Testament in Sunday School this year so I have planned a reading schedule to support that study-from fictional tales set in New Testament times to  Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.  Hopefully no one will need me this year, because this list is REALLY good… and totally undoable.  Considering the fact that I read MAYBE 5 books last year and I am staring at 3 or 4 journal entries for all of 2014, I should probably tuck my tail between my legs and just go home.  And if I start praying to be able to accomplish all of these goals, I am afraid that the only solution that seems plausible to me is a four month stint in the hospital with some type of stay-in-bed recovery. This is the point where I have to take to heart a principle that has been a pebble in my shoe for years:  slow and steady wins the race.  It’s the classic tale of the Tortoise and the Hare!  It’s marathoning and not sprinting.  It’s engaging in processes instead of hoping for events.  It’s so long and so boring sometimes!  BUT, it is a true principle and true principles cannot be violated if we want true results.  Back in 1993, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles wrote a great book (Raving Fans) about customer service-except that I really think that it’s a book about self-fulfillment.  And it’s about making 1% changes at a time: “The biggest problem…is knowing what to do next.  Either I try to do too much at once and get frustrated or I sit immobilized because of the job ahead..You can make big changes in almost anything or achieve great things in your life by improving or changing one percent.  Things can’t help but improve if you keep at it one percent at a time.”(Raving Fans, p. 117) That’s negligible!  Barely perceptible!  But totally doable. James reminds us that a big horse can be turned by a very small bit and a huge ship obeys a very small helm. I love the words of Nephi in the Book of Mormon because they come with an incomprehensible promise:  “By small means the Lord can bring about great things.” All the more reason to do as Jacob did and  “first [obtain] mine errand from the Lord.” God alone knows the small things that are going to bring large and lasting results into my life.  (For more on this see this post ) So, I’ll hit my knees with the ridiculous list AND a true principle in hand that will help me cull my list down to powerful, transformational changes.  And honestly,  a weekly temple trip, a reading of Ben Hur, or eating raw veggies would each have a great effect in my life so I don’t think that I can go wrong with anything that ends up on the short list. My challenge will be to remember to not  ‘run faster or labor more than [I] have strength and means provided’.  God really does believe in steady, boring, daily choices that slowly lead me back to Him.  He is more interested in my diligence than my ever-growing project list.   This is the year that I am putting principle #2 into practice. Wish me luck!  (or leave me a note!  I would love to hear from you.)

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