True life is lived when the tiny changes occur.”  ─ Leo Tolstoy

 January trundles along and New Hampshire remembers, at last, that it is supposed to be cold here. Temperatures have been in the single digits the last few mornings. The icy draft sneaks in my office window and wraps itself around me in the late afternoon as I work huddled over my computers. The gaiety of Christmas has been packed into boxes and returned to the attic. It is easy to take a tally on where I am in terms of meeting the goals I set on the first day of the year and feel discouraged. But why?

 It is important to remember that most  permanent changes take place slowly.  Rarely are we allowed the luxury of altering the demands of the lives in which we are attempting to make these changes. My two goals: Become healthier and more fit and Publish Francesca’s Foundlings must take place against the same constraints that were obstacles to success last year, the largest of which is lack of time.

 It is important then to observe and celebrate the tiny changes in our lives as Tolstoy suggests. I wanted to go the gym five days last week but managed to find the time go twice. Instead of mourning over this, I have bought a package of shiny stars and  I slap them the on the calendar to mark the days that I have gone.  Childish and silly? Maybe but you should try it, it works. Each star is worth a dollar of mad money that I can collect at the end of the month and spend on whatever I wish.  


Focus on the stars

January, February and March can be discouraging here is New England. One way I have found to combat that is by making tiny changes. I try to read some poetry, buy fresh flowers and honor celebrations both large and small. As a nation we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. today.

At my house, we celebrate the birthday of our resident canine, Admiral Grace who is ten today. The joy she gives us is immeasurable.

Happy Birthday, Grace!


Grace relaxing in front of the fire


Baby Steps Towards Your Goals


 By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”  ─ Charles  Haddon Spurgeon

Today is the second day of January. This is the day that I’m glad that I no longer make New Year’s Resolutions. The word resolution sounds so final. Maybe that’s why it is easy to give up on them the first time we “break” them. People have told me that they don’t make resolutions because not keeping them made them feel like they had failed.

In my day job I am an Instructional Designer. The first thing I do for any training or communication that I’m working on is to set the goal. Part of the process is to actually formalize it: Upon completion of this training, the student should be able to…A goal is something that we work toward. We are not expected to get there immediately. This is why I like them. They allow for imperfections and are much friendlier.

I love the image of the two snails slowly making their way to the ark while being passed by thundering rhinos, zebras, gazelles and everyone else.  The point is that the snails got there.

My writing career is a lot like that. I took a long time publish MacCullough’s Women leaving it at the bottom of my desk drawer when life got busy. I set two goals for 2012. After thinking about it, I decided that two was enough for this year. The first was to publish Francesca’s Foundlings and the second was to get as fit as I possibly can be.

Think of 2012 as a diary filled with blank pages waiting to be written on. Life is a journey best enjoyed by moving purposefully toward your goals at your pace. The point is to get there.

Did you set any goals for 2012 ?

Dary and by shoes

Move toward your goals with baby steps.