January 5, 2013 by currbell
I love the new year. Always have. I’ve made New Year’s Resolutions for as long as I can remember. I love the feeling a fresh clean slate. Sundays feel like that for me, the start of a fresh week, so do sun rises. Honestly though my personality is one that easily leans towards constant improvement…which can be good, but also has it drawbacks, ’cause sometimes I don’t just leave well enough alone. Some of my goals in 2012 and into 2013 included being a better home manager, learning self control over my temper, reading to the girls 2 hours a day, doing scripture memorization with my girls, baking bread from my own sourdough starter, canning my own tomatoes, maintaining a cleaner house. Some of these things I have been wildly successful, others are epic failures, and still other are making slow progress.
One of my first rules of toward success has been to get permission, or a least inform, my husband before I embark on new ventures, like sourdough bread, and to seek his advice before I start. I have a major tendency to bite off WAY more than I can chew. His leadership keeps me for being unbalanced and over committing myself. This is a huge blessing. Also, most of these goals break down to small daily habits or learning new skills. I do the very best I can to focus on forming just one new habit or skill at a time. I have also learned that if I can tie this new habit to something I already do makes it much easier to remember.
So, for instance, under the goal of maintaining a cleaner house I started out with the goal of getting the dishes in the dishwasher promptly after every meal. I could have started anywhere, but I felt like this would have the most impact. After I started to get that down I decided to wipe down the bathroom sink and mirror twice a day, after brushing our teeth. I found that one thing that was hindering me from accomplishing that goal was trying to find a rag to wipe down the sink. So I moved a specific pile of rags to be kept in the bathroom. Then I found I didn’t have enough to use a new rag every time I wiped it down, and that I really didn’t need a new one for every wipe down, I just need a place to put the used, but not dirty rag. So in came a cup hook on the inside of the bathroom cabinet door. Be willing to think creatively and critically about what it keeping you from meeting your goals, and don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to get things going. It took me a month after I had the idea to actually get a cup hook on the bathroom door, and even then I couldn’t get it all the way in by myself and had to wait for The Man to help me. Do what you can, as you can. I’ve found for my season of life it is counter productive to plan too specifically and too far in advance. It is important to know where you are a headed, but can be a deflating waste of time to plan each step and how long it will take to be accomplished and then find you have mono, or are moving, or are pregnant. Take whatever time is needed to conquer each step, whether surprisingly long OR short.
Some times with prayer and a little creative thinking some of the goals that seemed the most difficult can become easy to attain. For instance, finding the time and a method for doing scripture memorization with my two year old girls was one of the more daunting goals on my list for some reason, and I found a surprisingly easy solution. I read a good night book with poems in it to the girls off and on, and I started to realize that just with sporadic repetition they were beginning to memorize some of them. So, I thought, I will simply read the memory verse to them every day and that should do it. At the same I received a bit of council to work steadily on memorizing whole chapters and books with small children, as apposed to one verse here and one there. I had been working off and on for over a year on memorizing 1 Corinthians 13, so that was the passage I decided to start with, and then I looking for some existing daily habit to tie this new habit to. I decided I would read the verse to the girls every time I brushed their teeth. I took an empty picture frame, put some pretty scrap book paper in it and wrote a portion of the verse on the glass with a white board marker. I never made the girls say it with me, they just listened while I read it. And after less than 3 months of reading our memory verse, adding more verses after we had the previous memorized, my 2 year old girls, and maybe every more surprisingly I have an entire chapter of the Bible memorized! The girls need some prompts and reminders, but otherwise they can go through the whole chapter by themselves. And it didn’t take any extra time. I just did it while I was completing an already necessary job. Since then a friend told me of someone who worked with her son, and by four years old he had the whole gospel of John memorized. What a gift for a parent to give to their child!
And lastly I would suggest seeking advice from someone who has been successful at whatever you are trying to accomplish. I ask a lot of questions of friends and family who I respect and try to listen open-mindedly to whatever advice they offer. Most often though the advice I receive comes from people I don’t know, through books and other things. With that in mind I wanted to share some of the best free resource that have been a blessing to me in reaching some of my specific goals.
May God bless your and make your plans succeed! c
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him…” Psalm 37:5