About a year ago, I saw something small that had a big impact on me.
I was walking on a street in my neighborhood when I noticed a turtle moving slowly along the street next to the curb. Every once in a while he would strain his neck up to try and see over the curb, as if he were trying to make it up to that level. He kept moving slowly along and I kept watching.
Finally after ten excruciatingly long minutes, the little guy found an opening in the curb where he could climb up to the sidewalk level and creep off to wherever he was headed. I imagined him being quite happy with his accomplishment.
As I walked home, I realized that this little interlude contained an important lesson:
Don’t give up because an opening will soon appear!
(I feel like I just copied the contents of a fortune cookie.)
How often do we start to move in a direction, but then give up after a few weeks (or hours) because we don’t see the results we expect in the short time since we began? Why don’t we keep moving until we see the opportunity open up before us, or see the change that we are hoping for occur?
To encourage myself (and maybe you too!), I made a list of a few changes that I consistently kept up with for the last year along with the resulting effects:
Change: Making a Weekly Plan
Results: I am better organized, more at peace and get more of what truly matters accomplished.
Change: Making Daily Exercise a Priority
Results: After walking (and sometimes running) at least three times every week for the last year, even if it was only for 15 minutes, I now have muscle definition in my legs, clothes that are a little too big, and an insatiable appetite to move my body rather than just sitting around.
Change: Recording EVERYTHING We Spend and Planning EVERY Paycheck
Results: As a result of our planning, we were able to meet four of our small financial goals in the first 6 months of this year. We are also aware of our spending traps, and can make plans to avoid them.
Change: Writing Daily
I began to do a morning “brain dump” journaling exercise (read more here) and I also began to carry a notebook with me everywhere I went. Whenever an interesting thought or idea came to me, I wrote it down. I then reviewed my notes on a weekly basis and chose to take action on the most important items.
Results: I have written most of a book, gained clarity about the direction of my business, implemented several new ideas on my blog, increased my creativity, begun to pursue public speaking, loved my family better and generally lived a more focused and enjoyable life.
My point in sharing is to encourage you that YOU can change your life, one tiny step at a time.
Most of the time we are looking for big answers and dramatic changes, but the truth is that real change occurs when we make minuscule decisions and tiny steps in the right direction every day.
Even if it seems that you are getting nowhere, just keep moving– the opening is just ahead!
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Katie Z says
This post prompted me to finally try out the “Brain Dump” but had a questions that may seem silly — do you write the brain dump in bed. I get up about 45 minutes earlier than my husband to go for a walk. I have been heading to my office to jot couple thoughts, dreams, words down before my walk. Don’t want to walk him up – any insight or more specifics on how you do it would be great – thanks!
Hi Katie! My husband is also asleep when I wake up. I keep my notebook on my nightstand, and on occasion I have used a small flashlight and quickly written down the details of a dream immediately upon waking. Most of the time though, I leave my bedroom and go directly to my desk to write. I do not turn on any lights other than a desk lamp that I have turned away from me, so that the light is as low as possible. This prevents me from fully waking up and losing some of those dreams and ideas that came to me during the night.
I write as quickly as possible and don’t worry about punctuation, grammar or even making sense. When I feel that I have written everything down, I go back and add any additional notes to make things clear, or add numbers to different sections of what I have written to remind myself of the order of events in a dream or the priority of things that I have written down.
I then go for my morning walk and write anything additional ideas or thoughts down as soon as I return. This is what works for me, but of course, the important thing is to find what works for you. 🙂
As always you are such an inspiration! Thanks, this was much needed today.
I’m so happy I could inspire you Janice. Thank you for letting me know.
Thanks soooo much…it is rainy and gloomy today and I was feeling so depressed and totally unmotivated…it also did NOT help that I caved in to my caffeine addiction this morning..so my body does not feel that great…
But then I read this…THANKS SOO MUCH FOR LETTING GOD WORK THRU YOU!!! I feel soo inspired!!!
Woohoo! I am so glad Larabelle! Thank you for taking the time to let me know. 🙂
As many have already stated, this came at a perfect time for me as well. I’ve been working on losing weight and exercising more. I have been frustrated that I’m not making the progress I feel I should be. This is what I needed to keep pressing on!
Thanks for all your great ideas you share with us on here!
You are very welcome Stephanie! Glad I could encourage you. 🙂
Kimberlee, this was a perfect timing blog for me to read today..thanks for the encouragement..you are a huge inspiration to me…
love ya, Mona
I’m so glad Mona–thanks for letting me inspire you. 🙂
Wow! Seconds before I saw this I was thinking about quitting on one of my major goals. I don’t know what it was that told me to open up blog reader and the first thing I see is your post. Thank you for the encouragement!
Don’t give up Alma! You can do it! 🙂
LOVE this post! Thanks so much for writing this! It’s really inspiring to me!
You are very welcome Amy!
I just want to thank you for this! I have been extremely worried about everything lately and just a few minutes ago (in the shower, lol) I was praying for guidance and i feel that I was meant to read this. 🙂
Wow Cara! I had not planned to post this today, but felt an urgency that I should get it posted right away. I think God wanted to encourage you! 🙂
Jennifer Willis says
So great for you. Nice to see that even as we grow older and circumstances change, we can adapt and don’t have to stay in our little “rut.” You’ve been an inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Jennifer, so glad I could encourage you!