By Lavern Nissley
So, it's been a week since 2019 launched. Many people resolve to make major changes and transformations in light of starting a fresh, new year. Lose 40 pounds. Save $10,000 for some necessary expense. Read 50 books.
Is there a secret to making and keeping ambitious resolutions? What is the silver bullet that unlocks productivity and the achievement of goals that most people back away from? It's way simpler than you may imagine!
I once read that a key to a successful and productive day is simply making your bed. What??!! How could making your bed have anything to do with how your day goes? It only takes a minute!
The principle is to approach a day's list of demands by completing the first one. Then the second one. Then the third one. And so on. Kind of like "baby steps" from the delightful movie, What About Bob?
Research shows that people who actually list a number of attainable goals are much more likely to achieve them than those who don't. Most of us feel a lot better about ourselves when there is some degree of measurable accomplishment. Thus succeeding with goals usually has a positive effect upon relationships.
So, I'm going to make our bed every morning. Not just that, I'm planning to make sure our master bathroom is clean. And the kitchen counter cleared of dirty dishes. Baby steps, baby steps. I've noticed how much better I feel about myself when completing those first few daily tasks becomes a habit.
One of several major goals for Ronda and me this year is learning Spanish. We'd love to have a conversational proficiency when we return to Costa Rica toward the end of the year. We're using DuoLingo, an interactive app that breaks language acquisition into thousands of little baby steps. It's a long journey with about 110 multilevel categories to master. But even after several weeks of at least 15 minutes a day, we're getting the hang of it and enjoying simple conversations with each other!
NOTE: Ronda spent a college trimester in Costa Rica over 40 years ago learning Spanish, so for her it's been a bit easier building upon a foundation she already has!
Regardless of whether you set some ambitious goals for 2019 or not, try the baby steps approach to your day tomorrow by making your bed. We wish you great success in the goals you're working toward!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.