Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Imperfect Progress

Recently my friends had a discussion about how will they know when they have 100% accomplished what they set out for. For example, someone really wants to work on themselves and reach a place of peace.  Once they look back, they can see small accomplishments but are never satisfied with the current results.

This got me thinking... We are too hard on ourselves. In most big situations, you cannot get from Point A to Point B within a designated amount of time. If I am trying to come to peace with certain situations in my life, you cannot measure the distance and determine "I will be here on this day. I will have this peaceful feeling 2 months from now."  Not saying that you cannot make a goal and keep it--you can!  This is in reference to certain situations that cannot be measured.  Sometimes it is a slow process, and sometimes there is a reason for that.  Maybe you need all that time to reach your goal so you have plenty of time to process the situation and learn something from it.  A slow process can also make you appreciate it even more when you do finally accomplish what you set out for. Have you ever received something instantly, thought that was cool, and then you're off to the next thing you want?  Well, if we were always given everything on the spot and did not have to work hard to get it, we would not appreciate it as much.

Also, even if you work hard and made progress we are sooo hard on ourselves and think we have not made hardly any progress. We need to remind ourselves that little progress IS progress. Give yourself credit.  The fact that someone is working on themselves or trying to reach a specific goal is enough to show that they do care, and that they do want to make a difference.  

If I were to go further in detail with this topic, I would tell my friend that maybe it is a good thing she is never satisfied with where she is.  I know that sounds odd, but let me explain.... The day you are 100% whole as a person and have nothing else to learn, it better be the day you are in Heaven.  While we are on Earth, we will always be searching for more and hopefully wanting to be better than what we are. That is natural. That is how God created us--to constantly want to better ourselves and learn from experiences.  We will never be perfect but we can strive to live a happy lifestyle and improve our crappy situations. 

I am reading a book right now called "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst.  The author constantly repeats the phrase, "Imperfect Progress".  Throughout the last few weeks, I have had to remind myself of that phrase.   I will always have something to work on and will never be perfect.  Nobody is perfect.  That is not to get you down, but to be an uplifting reminder to give yourself some grace sometimes. Work towards your goals, but also remember to be realistic. 

That is where I struggle--being realistic.  I am a list-maker, a goal-setter, and I set high expectations for myself.  Honestly, will I accomplish 20 items from my to-do list in one day?  Probably not, and I should not beat myself up when I don't accomplish them in that given day.  Instead, prioritize and set out realistic goals. Pick a few at a time...not 20. 

My son has a home educator that comes over every month and she wanted to help me with goal-setting.  She asked me what would one goal be for myself, for Joshua, and one for our family.  This is what we came up with:

The home educator told us to eat twice a week at our dinner table. I thought this was strange and I asked why she did not insist on doing 6-7 times a week.  Her response was that you have to set yourself up for success. If I started out with 6-7 days as our family goal, we would fail right away and never try again (most likely).  So set yourself up with baby steps, small goals that you know you can easily accomplish. That way you can see the progress and not beat yourself up.  These are small goals, but my personal goals are pretty outlandish... which is why I have to reel in my thoughts and force myself to be realistic again.

I just want to encourage others and root them on!  I have many goals and struggles in life and to know there is someone to stand by me makes a world of difference.  

Imperfect Progress!
Little Progress IS Progress!

What are some things you are working on or want to share?  We are in this together!

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