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The Smallest Thing: Making Inroads with Goals

I had a slow start to my day yesterday. Granted it was a Sunday and, by nature, most Sunday’s are very quiet for us. But I was feeling a little…too…slow. I’d recently read an article about reaching goals. Most times these articles repeat the same old tired advice but I can never resist them. It insisted that it had the perfect all time solution to reaching goals. My problem is rarely setting my goals. It’s often in getting them achieved. I have a bad habit that is common to many of us. I often procrastinate my time away. I’m doing nothing particularly interesting when I’m procrastinating. I don’t find I’m reading a novel, or watering my roses or pulling weeds. I’m not reading to my kids or creating anything spectacular in that time. I’m just doing…nothing. And pondering that I should be doing something. That’s when the article I’d read that insisted it had the all time perfect fix-it method for reaching goals in life came to mind. The gem that had stood out for me was this: 

What is the one smallest thing you can do right now to reach your goal? 

When I thought about that, I remembered a line in a book I’m in the middle of reading (Quitter by Jon Acuff-excellent read so far, by the way) and his contention that when you start to get disciplined in one part of your life, it often naturally flows into other parts of your life. In other words:

Action begets more action

So I got up off the couch, snapped my laptop shut and announced to my kids: “Let’s make bread!” I wasn’t in the least in the mood to make bread. I had this needling feeling it was going to be nothing more than a big floury mess. But I pulled out my KitchenAid anyway. And all the ingredients. And the recipe. A funny thing happened as we went along. I got inspired. The bread was kneading on the dough hook in the bowl (I love my Kitchen Aid!) and I remembered my son had been asking about homemade pizza for dinner for the past few nights. We turned on music. I was in my apron (over shorts and looking, quite frankly, ridiculous) and one of my son’s was in his dress up apron while the other wore his dress up chef’s hat. The three of us were merrily wiggling and bouncing to the music in the kitchen and having a grand old time. When my husband finally came home, somewhere near five in the afternoon, my oldest met him at the door and said “Dad, come look at all of our experiments!” He laughed at us. There was a loaf of fresh homemade wheat bread cooling, pizza dough ready to be turned into pizza, sauce simmering on the stove, homemade yogurt in the process of becoming yogurt (which I’d never tried before and found remarkably easy), and, in my small food processor I was blending up some fruits smoothie to make into frozen smoothie pops for desert. I sliced a piece of fresh bread for my husband to enjoy and smiled. I said, “I guess I got inspired.”

When we are in the middle of feeling frozen about our goals, letting procrastination get the best of us, or can’t even figure out what our goals should be-that is the time to get up. Do something. Don’t think big, think small. Think of the absolute smallest action, the smallest step you can take right now to get you moving. If you haven’t written out your budget yet, find a pencil. If you are still learning to tackle meal planning (as I am) print off a menu plan template and look at it for a bit. If you want to make some homemade bread, pull out a bowl. You might just surprise yourself with a kitchen-ful of goodness too.

Comment Worthy:

Do you find thinking too big freezes you up? What small steps work for you?

Bread, yogurt, & some of the fruit smoothie pops. Pizza was yummy. And is all gone!

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Yep. Really. A Budget.

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”-Henry Ford

My first one looked a lot like this one. It was tough at first. It felt like….WORK. And it was. But I haven’t had to work real hard at in the eight years since we started living on one. Now it’s about refinement. It’s graduated to a lovely Excel spreadsheet. You’ve got to start somewhere. A notepad and a pencil will do just fine.

It starts like this. JUST like this. Start small and make baby steps.