Tiny steps

July 13, 2018


Tiny steps 

As I examined my overflowing bookshelf a thought of dread washed over me. “ Will I ever get through all these books?”

One book in particular constantly caught my eye. The Encyclopedia of Me, a guided journal I purchased after reading the popular ‘Encyclopedia of an ordinary life’, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This blank journal taunted me with another reminder of my faltering intentions. Someday, had not arrived and the blank pages mocked me judgingly.

The demands of a busy life and caring for others gnawed at my heartstrings as I watched abandoned goals slip through another year. Thoughts tumbled with a quest for change as I questioned my dependability for others needs, but never for my own?

Just as curiosity nudged for more I discovered Jerry Seinfeld’s joke writing routine. Jerry’s method was simple. In order to be a better comedian he had to write more jokes, so he committed to writing one joke a day. Afterwards he would mark the day with a red ”X” on a large wall calendar, creating a chain of repetition.

The mission was not just about writing that joke, but moreover to keep the momentum of the red X without breaking the chain. I decided to test his theory with the New Year and a new calendar of my own in an attempt to turn my goals into a routine like Jerry’s.

With this shot of inspiration I devised a plan. Instead of viewing all these books as an overwhelming chore, I would begin with one book, one page, one day at a time.  With this slow and steady progress, I began reading more.

This seedling sprouted motivation in several areas when I compiled a list of non-negotiable tasks I would complete at the start of each day. Waking early with enthusiasm and a warm glass of lemon water, the momentum led me in a new direction. (Google all the benefits of lemon water)

As I penned my (morning pages), Julia Cameron’s three pages of longhand stream of conscious writing. Followed by one answer in ‘The encyclopedia of me,' meditation, 10 minutes of reading, along with a few stretches and strength work I had assembled a thirty-minute routine I felt proud to complete.

Today, nearly 200 X’s connect the days of my calendar. A routine which includes books and devotionals, strength and meditation, and finally a promise to myself I have kept.

Thanks to the methods of Jerry Seinfeld and a few X’s on a calendar, I begin each day with the tiny steps that have fulfilled goals, as well as effectively authoring my copy of ‘Encyclopedia of me.’

Change occurs in the creation of habit, and once I let go of expectation I found inspiration and a red X to make a difference.

A few books I enjoyed on this journey:

  • Encyclopedia of Me by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • Savor by Shauna Niequist
  • 100 days to Brave by Annie Downs
  • The happiness project by Gretchen Rubin
  • Cultivate by Lara Casey
  • I’ve been thinking By Maria Shriver
  • 52 Lists project by Moorea Seal
  • Grace not perfection by Emily Ley


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