What if that giant goal in front of you was just one tiny little step? One “micro-goal.” How much more likely would you be able to start?
I am learning to break anything down into one first small step, and then take that step. Just that. Then, all Newton-like, I’m a body in motion, tending to stay in motion.
So it’s not “Revive and resume my blog and keep at it continuously,” because that goal has been on my list for two years! Instead it’s “write one post” and then “identify the next one” That’s it. And here we are! Hi!
Research abounds in this area, but you don’t really need that. You can just try this at home. In my last post, Lori added this fabulous comment on how she does home decorating badly and how it is keeping her from moving forward in building her tiny dream office. I am challenging Lori, right here, to identify just one micro-goal, and then do it! Is it to pick up paint samples? Then, after that, identify one more tiny step, such as choose a color! That’s it. Not “paint the office,” which includes many overwhelming steps. Just one tiny step. And then another. Wouldn’t you all love to see Lori’s resulting tiny office? I would!
When has this worked for you? What tiny steps have you taken? What giant project looms ahead for you? What one little step could you take next? How small can you make it? Comment below or email me!
My new favorite source of things to learn is Gretchen Rubin, a researcher and writer with a focus on happiness, one of my favorite topics. Her twist on the solution to the paralysis of perfectionism, the impulse to let the perfect drive out the good, is to allow yourself to “do something badly” and she covers this in one of her delightful podcasts.
This made me think of things that I do badly and with great joy. Running is right up there: I have no problem with being the last runner in a race, and I have plenty of experience with that. I was a bad drummer until I noticed that the difference between good and bad drummers was that the bad drummers called attention to their mistakes and the good ones just kept on drumming.
Now I need to apply this important lesson to this blog. I have dozens and dozens of notes of things I’ve learned, waiting for that perfect time to write them perfectly. I would love to shift to just sharing them with you, as they are, written well or badly, revised or raw, long or short, but DONE and here for you to see!
What about you? What do you do badly? What can you do try to do badly? How can that bring you joy? Write in the comments below or send me a note and I’ll post it for you. But don’t wait until you have the perfect answer!
About ten years ago, I learned of a program that re-purposes race medals and gives them to children and other patients fighting difficult illnesses. I got it in my head that I would part with my medals in this way, even though some of them have intense personal meaning for me. The clipping from Runners World has lived on, in To Do list after To Do list.
Fast forward to now, when I am in a 30-day De-Clutter Challenge, requiring me to get rid of 456 items from my home this month – more about that another day. Since I can’t even find that clipping now, I found the program online: Medals 4 Mettle.
They take marathon, half-marathon, and triathlon medals only and they describe their program this way:
Medals4Mettle (M4M) is a non-profit organization that facilitates the gifting of marathon, half marathon, and triathlon finishers’ medals. Runners from around the world give their hard earned medals to Medals4Mettle. Our worldwide network of physicians and volunteers then awards these medals attached to a Medals4Mettle ribbon to children and adults fighting debilitating illnesses who might not be able to run a race, but are in a race of their own just to continue to live their life.
As I had planned, for about ten years, I learned to let go and I parted with these medals by capturing their image one last time, before sending them off to do some good:
I didn’t think I needed to learn anything about making scrambled eggs – what is there to learn? But my sister-in-law, Jane, had a lesson for me in the premier edition of Milk Street magazine. Christopher Kimball – until recently of America’s Test Kitchen – contends that we’ve been doing it all wrong, and now I have to agree. His method: use only olive oil, heat it to just smoking, toss in the beaten eggs and watch them PUFF, turn immediately with a soft spatula and cook within seconds. There is a whole scientific explanation of the chemistry, in the recipe. In summary, you are getting big steam from the hot oil.
We did this wrong – not hot enough – and then I did it again and it was beautiful, delicious, and FUN!
I have learned so much since November, and I plan to share much of it here, but the most important thing that I’ve learned is to, whenever possible, to engage with other people directly, rather than only in bulk and online. This means stepping away from Facebook, but not necessarily very far away, as you’ll see here.
For me, this means:
Looking people in the eye, everywhere I go. It turns out that I have a habit of not doing that, and apparently that’s why I never remember who our server is, in restaurants. In public, this gesture is fleeting but it’s a connection, and it feels different.
Trying to focus completely on the people I’m with. We all try to do that, right? I’m working on putting my phone out of sight and silent while I’m with other people – another work in progress.
For friends far away, seeking a more connected connection, which has meant fewer “me too” Facebook replies and more emails, texts, or FB messages or even phone calls, if I have something to say, including Happy Birthday. This has led to more conversations, more connections, some of them quite profound.
For friends and family closer, making the effort to spend time together, in person. Everyone is busy and logistics take work, but this is the deepest joy of my life and it’s worth the effort!
You’re in a race. You see someone in distress. You can’t tell if it’s big problem or a little one. You can’t immediately get in touch with a race organizer or anyone in charge. What do you do? You call 911!
Sally and I wasted so much time and effort before we figured this out, although it seems SO obvious now that we are out of the scene.
We were running in a casual race at a casual pace, so nothing dramatic was going on around us. A young woman took to the side of the road, clearly out of it. We stopped to try to help, eventually drawing a small crowd of equally clueless people. We all did lots of stuff that didn’t help: Sally RAN back to a water stop – the people there were volunteers with no contact with the race organizers and they brought water, which was or wasn’t a good idea. One woman said “Is anyone a nurse?” and another woman trying to help said “I am but that doesn’t mean that I know what she needs!” Eventually, precious minutes later, we said “Dial 911” and someone did.
What were we waiting for? We all had phones. There was an ambulance at the finish line for just this kind of thing – ready for our call. Why were we trying to figure out how to reach them? So what if we are calling a generic call center in town, miles away. They know how to reach the ambulance on site!
I don’t know how this turned out. I just know that an ambulance showed up immediately and we learned an important lesson.
How many of your phone Contacts have photos? Just the people, right? Because that’s what it’s made for, right?
Well, I have learned some more uses for that handy feature:
Membership cards: AAA, museum memberships, whatever is in your wallet! Anything that you need to flash – but not necessarily punch – can be found and displayed from your contacts.
Trail maps: You don’t even need the Contact part of this – just take a photo or screen shot and use it on the trail – but if you’ll ever be on this trail again, why not store it where you will find it.
Glasses or Contact Lens Prescription: Take a photo of the whole page and make it your eye doctor’s contact photo. You’ll always have it with you – who knows where you’ll need it?