Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Baby Steps

Baby steps. That all it takes to start.  We all know that. We also know that it takes 66 days to take that daily baby step of a routine and change it into a habit. Oh, we have great ideas. We think of the wonderful, life changing things we need to start doing tomorrow, as we lay in bed trying to get to sleep. Occasionally, we even get up and scribble a note to ourselves to remind us of that great idea (and once in a long while we even manage to be able to read and make sense of the idea in the daylight, provided we don’t throw the note away first).  

Less seldom, but not unknown, is the gallant initial start, when we not only remember our idea but we start taking those baby steps. But then, life gets in the way and suddenly a month later, we realize that we haven’t continued taking those baby steps. Oh, we still have that wonderful idea how we are going to transform our life, or the lives of those around us, but, just not right now.....  We’ve got to help the kids with their homework, do the laundry & dishes, prep for that important meeting at work, win the next level of candy crush or watch a tv show we recorded last week....  And slowly that great idea, while still in our heads, gets relegated to the proverbial dustbin of lost chances to make a difference.  

Sometimes the difference between thinking, taking that first baby step, sticking with it, then 66 days later recognizing we have formed a new habit is that old partner Accountability.  Sometimes, but seldom, we are able to hold ourselves accountable, to recognize that by X date we need to have this done. But far more common, Accountability needs to be a gentle but firm outsider. We need someone we trust not to belittle our baby steps and lapses, but someone who will cheer us on. Not like the cheers that release dopamine into our brains like the online games give us (Click here for more information) when we win the next level (how many dances can the dancing cards of solitaire do after all), but the warmth of their voice as they discuss our progress with us. The verbal and physical hugs we get from sharing and being validated by someone we know cares about our progress.  

It doesn’t matter whether our goal is to lose weight, run a marathon (or just be able to walk a straight line across a room), starting a compost pile in the yard, or improving our spiritual life by prayer, meditation or reading the bible more, having a cheerleader can make the difference between continuing with our faltering baby steps and succeeding in our quest. We all have the opportunity to participate in reading and studying The Story over the next 31 weeks. Plenty of time to create a habit. And more than enough time to not only find Accountability cheerleaders for ourselves, but to be them for someone else. 

Dale Weir

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