It’s Not All Or Nothing! Setting Small Goals

its not all or nothingWe all make fun of New Year’s resolutions, but there’s something to be said for new beginnings—that feeling of making a fresh start. So, as I’ve been thinking about the new year, asking myself what resolutions I should make, I’ve come to one basic conclusion:

In 2017 I want to start doing the little things.

Sure, I have aspirations for greatness: to be a New York Times bestselling author, to affect multitudes of people through my writing, become an accomplished artist, get back to my music and write that song that everyone is still singing twenty years from now. But even those big things have to be done with little bits of time.

I’ve always been one of those “all or nothing” kind of people.

I lost 135 lbs. in a year with very little struggle.

How did I do that?

I got on a program and stuck to it like glue.

It really wasn’t that hard, once I’d made up my mind. The struggle began after I lost the weight. That was almost seven years ago, and I’ve wrestled every day to keep it off, sometimes unsuccessfully.

After stabilizing at the 120-pound loss mark for a long time, I’ve yo-yoed up and down twenty, thirty pounds. Fortunately, I don’t just go up and up, as I used to.

I get myself under control and get back down there, but it’s hard. Why?—when it was so easy (comparatively) to lose the first time.

Because when I was on the diet, I had a big goal, and I stayed focused on meeting it.

Of course, that kind of concentration is hard to sustain for a lifetime. I want to exercise, and I have a gym of sorts right in the building where I work, but I think I need to exercise at least forty-five minutes, and if I don’t have that much time I don’t exercise at all. Even five or ten minutes a few days a week would make a big difference after a while and would probably lead to me wanting to do more.

Setting small goals and meeting them is better than setting big goals and not meeting them.

But enough about weight!

There are other things I avoid because I feel I don’t have enough time: talking to people on the phone, for one. I have a few dear friends that I love to talk to, but our conversations are usually long, so I just don’t call. I’ve determined this year to make those calls, carving out longer chunks of time when I can, but checking in for five or ten minutes if that’s all the time I’ve got.

But the most important New Year’s resolution I want to make has to do with spiritual things.

I have to admit—I often treat God like those friends I don’t have time to chat with. Every once in a while I reassess and start a “plan” to study my Bible every morning for an hour, pray for thirty minutes, worship for another thirty, and journal about everything I got out of all that spiritual exercise.

And to tell the truth, when I do that, I’m blessed beyond measure. But it just isn’t always possible to keep up with that kind of schedule, work three days a week, and get that dratted book finished.

So what to do?
Do what I can!
Read when I can.
Pray when I can.
Journal when I can—but do it!
Just do something!
It may lead to doing more.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you.

That sounds like a lot of rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks. But it’s more about walking in an attitude of prayer and thanksgiving than punching the prayer clock.

The same mentality has kept me from keeping up with my blog as I want to. People who don’t do much writing have no idea how much time it takes. It’s taken you three or four minutes to read what I’ve written so far, so it probably only took me five or six minutes to write it—right?


I can spend six or seven hours writing one blog post: mulling over every point; writing and rewriting until I’m perfectly satisfied with every word; hunting for just the right illustration to go with it; trying to make sure I haven’t made some glaring punctuation error that one of my writing buddies is going notice.

All that is good, if I have the time.

It’s important to be excellent, but I like what one of those writing buddies said at a retreat we attended:

Done is better than perfect.

So, you may see a few short, not so perfect posts from me in the future, but, at least, you’ll see something. And I’ll try to take the time for those longer, more polished pieces as often as I can.

So, what can you do this year to make small changes that make a big difference?

Figure it out and write it down! There’s something about putting pen to paper that makes those goals seem doable.

Can you get up twenty minutes earlier and spend that twenty minutes praying, giving God your undivided attention?

If not, at least pray on your way to work instead of risking your life and everyone else’s texting or talking on your phone.

Can you read one chapter a day in your Bible?

If not, listen to a Bible app while you put your makeup on, or while brushing your teeth.

Just do something, and do it religiously!

One thing I can attest to: life is short.

If you don’t want to look back on your life, wishing you’d spent more time on the things that mattered, start small and start now.

It will add up to more than you think in the end.

Please leave a comment below. What’s your New Year’s resolution?