A Single Step

While I feel the time is near that a post with this title could be talking about my ten-month-old (can you believe it?) taking his first steps, this particular post is a little more self-centered than child-centered. We all deserve to take a good, long look at ourselves from time to time, and this post is the result of my own recent self-reflection.

We’ve all heard a phrase similar to this one:

Every journey begins with a single step.

While this is true, what I’ve found about myself is this. More often than not, I take a lot of single steps. I take a step into writing. I take a step into educational enrichments for my children. I take a step into healthy living. I take a step into more efficient home organization. And so forth. Here is an illustration, however poorly drawn, to show you where all of those single steps have taken me so far:

Image

I’m right smack dab where I began. It’s like trying to clean the house by washing a bathroom sink, folding a load of laundry, neatly stacking the books on the bookshelves, and taking out the kitchen trash. Sure you’ve accomplished some things, but the house still looks messy because the beds still aren’t made, the kitchen sink is full of dishes, and the stack of paperwork on the desk hasn’t been filed.

So while a journey starts with a single step, to really gain the benefits by reaching the end of that journey, your next step needs to be in the same direction as the first.

If you’re like me, and you have so many different interests in your life, it’s sometimes hard to get a clear picture of where you want your journey to take you. I often ask myself: which is most important? Maintaining a clean, organized home? Giving my children opportunities for learning? Volunteering my time to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis? Living a healthy lifestyle focused on exercise and a balanced diet? Finding a deep, spiritual connection with God? Writing a brilliant, insightful blog? 😉 And of course, I would never have started a blog about “Close Families” if creating memories of love and closeness with my husband and children wasn’t a top priority.

I still don’t have the clearest picture of where I want my journey to take me, but I know that all of the above have to be a part of it, eventually. I think the key to success–to finishing a journey–is to choose one direction, and stay focused. For instance, if I choose to focus on my relationships with my family, family time should come before anything else. I would read books and articles about building stronger parent-child or marriage relationships. We would schedule more family time. Take a vacation together. Play together. Eat together. And then, when we feel as if we’ve never been closer, that we’ve reached our goal of establishing those healthy, lasting bonds, then I could move on to the next journey. Only this time, I would have the benefit of a strong family unit to support me. The same goes for any path I chose. A deeper spiritual connection will help in all other aspects of my life. Establishing more organized home will free up more time for family and writing and volunteering.

Of course life will always throw us a few bumps and detours, no matter which direction we choose. But if I can just stay focused on where I’m placing every single step, I know that I can achieve any goal I have for my life. And then make room for more.

How do you stay focused?

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10 Comments on “A Single Step”

  1. I feel a similar issue. I have a number of outside interests. I try to apprpach them & want something from them. However, I spread myself too thin & dont accomplish all that much. I need to take more steps in one or limited directions -to use your vernacular – if I really want /hope to accomplish.

  2. I don’t stay focused. I’m so bad at keeping motivation and a routine. I might set up a chart for a routine. X

    • Laura says:

      I think having a son with specific medical needs is what has really pushed me into keeping a routine. But those lazy days when we let it all go are SO very nice. 🙂

  3. SnapInTime says:

    This is a hard one. I think in order to have a full, balanced life our “steps” have to be spread out in many directions… I know that this multitasking is one of the biggest challenges I face. we end up having to find a balance, between various interests/needs/directions and extra focus on a targeted goal. I think the only way it will happen when we have limited resources (time and energy top on that list!) is to find ways to make our steps count as much as possible, to increase efficiency.

    If our over-arching goal is to increase our family bonds for example, then sub-goals that increase our family’s spirituality, that raise CF awareness together, that set goals toward working together towards better organization in the home, can all be undertaken together as a family. We’ve been working at some family goals together that I hope will achieve several objectives all at once over time. It’s been very challenging but I am hopeful.

    • Laura says:

      I like your idea of “sub-goals.” I guess you could say I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal. I tend to put the blinders on and stay focused on one goal for a time, and then jumping into another area once I realize it’s been neglected. There are so many things so close to my heart that I want to devote my time to. I think the biggest part for me has been learning to try to make every minute count. And you’re right, we are working on a Great Strides team, but like many ventures, I tend to carry all of the weight myself, and drag my family along for the ride. They keep me grounded, in a way, but there’s a fine line between being grounded, and feeling stuck.

    • Laura says:

      Also, I think it’s wonderful that you’ve got your family on board! It’s something I’m always endeavoring to do, but whether it’s being the only female in a house of males, or whether my interests just don’t seem to be the same as theirs (as in, they are perfectly fine watching sports day & night and could care less what kind of organizational system we put in place, they fight against every food container labeled as “organic,” and it’s the biggest chore of the week to get us all to church on Sunday mornings!) Maybe that’s part of why I feel like I neglect them when I step in any other direction… Because they aren’t following me. You know?? Thanks so much for your input. It shed some new light on the problem, but hopefully we can talk about it as a family and come up with a solution. 🙂

      • SnapInTime says:

        I completely understand the getting stuck thing. I know for me it seems like I will JUST START to be productive with something… and that is when E will get sick, and it has a total cascade effect on everything. Canceled plans, stress on her brothers, lost sleep for me (which equals less energy for me and less done), extra dr appts and so on.

        And it does take a while to figure out how to involve family in projects in a way that is balanced. Sometimes it works, sometimes… not so much. It is such a work in progress. What works today doesn’t work with the next developmental stage. And I do get a lot of resistance from the kids about some things, but with persistence and caving on what some of my way would be to come up with what is mutually acceptable for all of us and with finding out what they want too, we’re making some progress.

  4. Ah I hear you Laura. I have so many important goals. And I believe all are equally important. I try to keep a balance. I don’t go too far in any direction and it does feel like a lot of single steps going in opposite paths. Yet I find that all paths with God at the heart of them, eventually blend into each other and create a journey toward our destiny. When we look back after a few months of single steps we find every area has come some distance. Writing each blog develops our craft, reading other blogs give ideas to build family, faith and inspiration. Time with our family helps us apply the new ideas we have learned, a burst of motivation gives us a step toward organisation in our home. Keeping God as our focus helps us grow in love for his plan for our lives. No step is wasted, stay balanced and look back on how far you have come. Blessings to you!

    • Laura says:

      Thank you so much!! These are the words I think I needed to hear. I think some of it is my own impatience too… I want results and I want them now! But I have to remind myself that this is LIFE, not an info-mercial (do you have those in Austrailia??) about some product that gives instant results! I do try to keep God as the center focus of everything I do, and to ask for his strength and guidance daily, so that no matter what I do, I make sure that it is honoring Him. I’m still not the best at that, but it’s what I strive for!! Thank you so much for your words of truth and from your heart, sweet lady! God bless!!

      • Lol Oh I know what you mean about the info-mercials (Yes we have them). I want instant results too. It is hard to keep God as our focus 24/7 especially when this life and our loved ones take so much of our focus. It will be a constant battle as long as we walk this earth I’m afraid. I am glad I could help in some small way. That’s a blessings from God right there xox


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