“Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.” ~ (Dale Carnegie: Inspirational Quotes on Getting Better)
I’m one of those people who starts out every year with an ambitious list of New Year’s Resolutions, only to fade mid-January into the old ruts and habits.
This year, however, I determined to be different. Before climbing into bed each night, I’d open a journal and record what I’d done that day toward achieving those goals. The progress. The failures. The ho-hum monotony.
While my journaling goal collapsed in mid-September, I’ve learned a lot by looking back.
My resolution to live healthier? I didn’t dramatically change my lifestyle overnight. (That shock to my system always backfires!) Instead, I decided to do one – just one – “healthy” thing per day. At the burger place, I chose apple slices or a small salad instead of fries. I wore a pedometer on my waistband and recorded how many steps I took. I parked in the first available spot no matter the distance from the doors instead of driving in circles looking for the closest opening. I remembered to actually take my multi-vitamin.
Just one small thing. Repeated daily. And, guess what? It’s December and I’m healthier than I was at the start of the year. And I lost about ten pounds too! Like the quote above, I did the small jobs well and the big job took care of itself.
My resolution to finish one book this year? I broke it down into small tasks and set weekly goals. Write one new chapter this week. Send one chapter to my critique group. Edit two chapters per week. Well, December isn’t over yet but my novel has been written and had one full rewrite already. While I’m in the middle of editing round number two, I’ve come a long way through small weekly goals.
My resolution to pare down our family debt? Once again, I made a series of small decisions. Skip the fast food meal and eat at home. Order water with the fast food meal instead of a Coke (oh, and that was a healthy choice too. Bonus.) Sell a couple things on Craig’s list. Add an extra hour per day to the part-time job and use the additional income to make a larger loan payment.
Sense a pattern here? Me, too. Do the small things well and the big stuff takes care of itself.
What about you? Do you break your big goals down into small jobs? How have you done in accomplishing your goals this year? Any tips for the rest of us?