We all have projects in our lives that we want to tackle and bring about change. I’m not talking HGTV home remodeling, I’m talking life remodeling—get healthier, get skinnier, more disciplined, be a better spouse, better parent, better sibling, better friend, get closer to Jesus, out of debt, become more balanced, and the one you are thinking about that I wish I had listed. And some of the desired changes seem near impossible. Often we wait until that area of our life has spiraled way out of control before we try to take back the reigns. We wait until the extra weight is stacked on, the bills have piled up, or our marriage is on the brinks. And to fix-it we want that one button fix—you know, the easy button from Staple’s. We want the miracle diet that only lasts a week, the check for a million dollars, or that one counseling session to solve it all. It doesn’t work that way—statistically speaking.
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I guess I need to watch out for the “we”, but for me I wait for the one fix rather than take the slow, one-by-one steps to get to the change. And usually I’m left waiting, staring at the impossible situation.
Because its football season and because men think football can explain everything, let me use a football analogy. The task or project for every football team that takes the field is to move the ball from the spot they receive and return the kick-off to the end-zone on the opposite end of the field for a touchdown. Often that offense will need to go eighty yards. Sometimes they catch a break and the distance is shorter. On occasion, they get a good return and the task seems easier. But there are those times when they could even have to march the ball ninety-nine yards. The offense is pinned-in against their opponent’s end-zone with the entire field to go. It’s the life improvement projects that start like that in which I view as impossible. To keep it on the gridiron, I just want to keep calling time-outs to pause dealing with the life situation i want to change. And then if I do brave to do something about it, I want a pass play that picks up at least forty of the needed yardage.
And rarely do those big “chunk” yardage plays work. Often it takes grinding it out. Down after down picking up two yards. Then four yards. Then five yards. Then one yard. Take a lose of ten. Then pick up nine. Then pick up three. Over and over again all the way down the field.
It works. Maybe not as glamorous, but the odds of success are much higher.
The same is true in tackling the stuff we want to fix in our lives. Rather than waiting on the big chunk play, grind it out, little-by-little.
Leadership guru, John Maxwell, has a “Rule of 5” in which he illustrates by saying if you had a tree to chop down with an ax, but you have only a little time then at least go take five swings. Then continue those five swings every day. One day the tree will fall. The problem is often we just wait on a chainsaw or time to go ax it down in one sitting. And often we never do it. But if we do a little every day, we will accomplish that goal.
So, whatever life remodeling project you have been dreaming about—take a step. A small one. Grind it out. Run a 22 dive and be happy to make a yard. Go take five swings at that tree this morning. Take a step, tomorrow take another step, and pretty soon you just might get where you want go.
Do it! I’ve been trying this in areas of my life and a couple months in—it works.