I’ve had it with vows, goals, and resolutions!  Anything that has to do with The Big Picture or end result is just ticking me off.  Every year, all year long, I go through the same motions of setting up a ton of goals that I want to reach at any given time.  Then (usually months later) I get disgusted with myself because I did not accomplish them.

Late last year I was turned on to a book called One Small Step Can Change Your Life – The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer Ph.D., and I realized it was not my goals that were messed up, but my lack of planning on how to reach them was.

I constantly create lists of things that I want to do.  The stupid part is I create them as end results without adding any steps on how to get that end result.  The book (or more accurately the method) discusses how taking everything and breaking it down to the smallest steps is the key.  For example, I listed the following:

  1. Start working on 2019 handmade cards (it is all I use anymore cuz I love doing them)
    1. Create at least 5 per week
      1. When I get dressed, plan extra 15 minutes every day to stop at the craft room (I pass it to get to and from my bedroom and getting dressed) then:
        1. Day one: cut a bunch of dies or punches to add to cards.
        2. Day two: cut a bunch of background colors
        3. Day three: plan out the designs
        4. Day four: begin gluing or putting together
        5. Day five, six, and seven – get the minimum 5-cards a day done

My old way was just to list the first part of “start working on cards,” but this new way forces me to take it down farther.  I now step back and tear my goal down.  I try to get it down to its simplest step.  The whole Kaizen method is about using a way to get things accomplished that does not overwhelm.  That is (or was) my biggest problem.  I set up all these end-result goals and the minute life side-tracked me, I would fall off the path.

We all know how life loves to throw wrenches into our designs.  She (yes, she is a “she” because she is so mysterious) will take my perfectly beautiful gardening day and bring on winds-from-hell to mess me up.

wind from hell toon

When I decide it’s going to be the right temperature outside to finish painting the barn; she will mysteriously drop the temps outside to close to freezing.

brr cold toon

When I make any end-result type plans, life always seems to step in.  Her stepping in always seems to be either so distracting that I forget my goal, or so overwhelming that I can’t go back to it again.

I have already begun my path to this new idea.  I have alarms on my phone to help me make sure to get my grandson up and running every day. (He has mild autism and ADHD, plus all the trauma from the fire and the loss of his brother.)  He needs structure and does best under routine.  The only change I had to make in my/our morning schedule is to set my “get dressed” alarm 15-minutes earlier.  This now gives me enough time to get dressed AND spend that extra 15-minutes working on the cards.


congrats toon

I surprised myself on how easy it was to break the big pictures down into smaller bites and then actually accomplish them!

The next step is to watch myself on the number of smaller tasks per day.  The method warns to hold firm to no more than three tasks per day.  Apparently, three is the magic number for a couple of reasons:

1)    Most of the tasks should be easy enough to accomplish in a single day, even with life distractions.

2)    If one or two cannot be reached in that first day, you can easily use them to start with the next day (It is a fact that even some of the smallest tasks can turn into an unexpected bigger one.  I set one of my first-day tasks as fixing my glider rocker.  It was made with just three screws in the glider part.  Well, my “easy” thought turned into a 3-hour task.  Part of it was having to go back to the shop and get the right tools because I did not think I needed them the first time around – duh on me.)

3)    If/when I do manage to get the minimum of three done and there is still time left in my day, I can begin another.  Note: I say “begin” as it gives me free mental rein to carry it over to the next day’s list of three if I do not complete it.

4)    Completing a small daily list is confidence building and encouraging.   I receive an instant mental and emotional high when I check off the third item.  The method explains how this positive reinforcement adds to creating a better, stronger momentum.


I have also set reminders on my digital calendar at every three months to make sure I stick with the “tiny-steps” plan.  I am way too used to doing the end goal just to hope this change will work for me.  I need to put some self-checks in place.  That’s what I hope the calendar reminders will do.  Since it is quarterly, I will try to remember to share updates with you.  Don’t hold me to it as we all know how well my memory works (or not).

Never-the-less…Happy, calm New Year!

calm woods

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