The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step beneath your feet. There’s something about me that loves a good journey and getting something accomplished.
Over the years, I have noticed that I am a goal-oriented person. On my days off, I like to make little lists of things that I’d like to get done. They don’t have to be large lists or hard things to check off. This weekend, for instance, I wanted to:
✅ clean the basement
✅ do the laundry
✅ burn a brush pile
After I check off each thing, I like to stand back and look at it. Like the end of each day in the first chapters of Genesis, I look and see that it is good.
In my mid and late 20s, the goals were more extreme. In my religious life, I set fasting goals. I fasted three days, then seven, 14, 21, and finally a 40 until I had fasted over 120 days in 2008.
In 2012-13, I made goals for running. I ran a 5K, then a few half marathons, then a marathon. These were formative times where I learned how to do hard things. They taught me about adversity and trial.
Even now, when I think about having only water for 21 days and only juice for 40 days, I am a bit awestruck. When I drive the 26 miles that I used to run, I remember it proudly. I have checked off some hard boxes in my lifetime. The list of hard boxes I’ve checked off help me know that I can do anything with small steps in the right direction.
Over the last few weeks, I have been struggling with a lack of motivation. Going to work has felt monotonous and I’ve felt mentally exhausted by the time that I get home. We all have days or weeks when we feel a little aimless.
The journey begins to feel like circles instead of progress, so I started working on a project for our inventory. With each day that I saw a little order come into being, I found more motivation and an increased sense of accomplishment. The fog began to lift and the way forward became clearer.
If you find yourself in a funk or feeling unmotivated with life, make a small goal. Start with a small area of chaos in your life. Make a short list of two or three things and check them off. This may help you feel like you are progressing. Wash the dishes, clean the closet, sweep the porch, organize your food pantry, or clean out your car.
You don’t need to go out and run a marathon. Instead, set a smaller goal. Walk 5,000 or 10,000 steps. In order to do that, you must start with one.