Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pursuing Progress

I know that we're well into February, but here are my New Years' resolutions:

Take care of myself, my husband, my children; take care of my house, keep it clean and organized, stay on top of the dishes and the laundry; be more spiritual, magnify my calling; eat right, exercise, loose weight; have a daily routine, get enough sleep, make myself presentable everyday; spend more time with my family, be more patient and kind, be happier; live within our means, stick to a budget, save for the future. I'm sure there are more.

The reason I've held off on making any declaration of how I want to improve my life this year is because a list like this is just too vague. There are too many items and progress is too immeasurable for these "goals" to be realistic. I learned this from this post at Mormon Mommy Wars at the beginning of the year.

I'm also inspired by Elder Bednar's talk in General Conference last October:

"We will not attain a state of perfection in this life, but we can and should press forward with faith in Christ along the strait and narrow path and make steady progress toward our eternal destiny. The Lord’s pattern for spiritual development is “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Nephi 28:30). Small, steady, incremental spiritual improvements are the steps the Lord would have us take. Preparing to walk guiltless before God is one of the primary purposes of mortality and the pursuit of a lifetime; it does not result from sporadic spurts of intense spiritual activity."

Elder Bednar was talking about spiritual progress, but I'm applying his wisdom to any and all kinds of good progress; Progress at improving myself and my relationships effects the environment I live in, which ultimately enables or prohibits spiritual progress--Sister Beck talked about that, too. The discouragement I've experienced as of late is because I've been trying to make long-term progress through "sporadic spurts of intense [cleaning] activity" or laundry activity, or budgeting activity, or whatever. My goal here is to transition from sporadic spurts of intense [anything] activity to "sustained, paced progress."

Here is what I'm going to do instead of getting discouraged that I failed at being more patient this year, or because the laundry sat in a basket all week: I will make a few small acheivable goals each week. When one becomes habit, I can move on to another. So instead of resolving to keep my house clean, I'll try to mop the kitchen floor this week. Instead of resolving to pay more attention to my kids, I can make the goal to only use the computer when they are sleeping--perhaps a change as simple as that would help me to be more patient with them because I'm not trying to follow my own agenda when they need my attention.

Goals. Simple ones. Just a few each week.

The reason I'm sharing this with you is for the "accountability" factor. If you are counting on me to mop the kitchen floor once this week, I'm more likely to do it. Every Sunday I will list my goals for the coming week and report on how I did on the previous week's goals.

Last week I had the goal to clean 3 bathrooms, but you didn't know about it so my progress was 0 out of 3. This week my goal is to clean 1 bathroom.

This week I'm going to be ready for bed by 11:00 every night. Someday my goal will be 10:00, but we're just going one step at a time here.

This week, I will get dressed every day. This shouldn't be hard since I have a killer new wardrobe to try out.

This week, I will put away 3 loads of clean laundry.

Lets give this a try and see how I do!


Elizabeth said...

It is interesting how you phrased your getting dressed goal. If you had said your goal was to get dressed 7 times this week, you'd already have made that one, considering how many times you got dressed for your makeover yesterday!

I like your goals. Way to go. I think it is good to have the small, simple goals, and also to keep in mind the large, broad goals that the small ones work towards.

Anonymous said...

So you are suggesting that maybe I should have a goal to lose one pound? Then maybe the next week, it could be one more? That might be do-able! Anonymous large mother

Jenny said...

When I get to the loosing weight goal, it will be more like limiting myself to one (or zero) servings of snack or dessert per day, and five minutes on the bike at a time. That is more do-able to me than loosing pounds.

michal & david coombs said...

jenny--this is the exact view! you can do it!!--one thing at a time, one day at a time. it's much more manageable that way. i need to work on being more spiritual, one day at a time. maybe you can help me out with that and i can help you with your mopping;.)