There is nothing like getting a shiny new dog license to remind you that a new year has begun. I am chagrined to be so far into 2016 without having formulated my goals and objectives for the year. I started last year with seven resolutions! I have had a hard time putting my paw on why I am struggling to set goals this year. Finally it hit me right on the snout. I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of recent world, national and local events. There seemed to be so much that needed to be fixed, that I simply could not imagine how I could make a difference.
Upon deeper reflection, I can see that I was trying to bite off more than I could chew. I was so paralyzed by the thought of how much there was to do, that I simply could not do anything. Then two important words came to me: Think small! Focus on one or two realistic goals and get going. To quote the famous canine American humorist and writer, Bark Twain: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming task into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
Does this sound like advice you can use? Whether it is the start of a new year, or an ongoing project or problem, sometimes you have to think small. Over time you can accomplish great things by the successful completion of a series of small steps.
With respect to some common new year’s goals, here are a few suggestions for thinking small.
If you are trying to lose weight, why don’t you replace a bagel or muffin with an extra piece of fruit in the morning? Commit to taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you are going up or down one story. One story might turn into two or three by the end of the year.
Is there someone in your life that would be thankful to have ten minutes of your time a week? A phone call? A cup of coffee with a stressed colleague? Ten short minutes of your life may make a bit difference to someone else.
You can have a big impact on the environment with small steps. Taking a few minutes to recycle and small reductions in your use of energy really add up over time. Please remember humans are not the only species that needs a healthy planet!
So what is my “think small” goal for 2016? I am going to try, to the greatest extent possible, to be more tolerant of the human who brings the letters and magazines to my house every day. I must confess, in the past I have been extremely inhospitable to her. Yet the members of my human team seem thankful for the objects she brings so I am going to try to be more welcoming. Or at least less hostile!
In closing, I would like to remind you of the words of the ancient canine philosopher Lao Shih Tzu: “The dog walk of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Your best friend,