When setting my goals for this year, one thing I noticed was that I had very little stress or self-doubt about my ability to complete the “scripture reading goals” that I set. This is a new feeling for me, because ever since I started recording my goals on my blog, I have had to post time and time again that in the end I did not complete what I set out to do. So, when setting my goals this year, I definitely felt some hesitation…a sense of will I complete them this time? But not so with the scripture reading goals. Instead, with these there was a feeling of excitement and confidence. So, being analytically-minded as I am, of course I had to think about why. And I came up with two reasons:
- I’m in the habit of reading my scriptures every night. So, it’s just a matter of what I will read during that time.
- I have completed a similar goal in the past (reading the Old Testament along with the Institute Manual) and not only was I successful, but I really enjoyed it.
How My Scripture Reading Habit Got Started
With all of this reflection, my mind wandered back in time to when I first developed the habit of reading my scriptures. I was just about to have my 12th birthday, and in my church at age 12 children start attending youth classes instead of children’s classes. As the day approached, my older sister said to me, “when you go to Young Women, you will have to read your scriptures every day.” And she was right. The Young Women President had put up a chart and every Sunday we reported how many days we read our scriptures.
In response to this new requirement, every night I picked up my sister’s scriptures and read exactly one verse (I used hers because she had some verses marked). Then on Sundays I proudly reported that I read my scriptures for 7 days that week. It wasn’t until later when I spent that night at my friends house and noticed that she read a full chapter a day, that I realized that maybe the amount I was reading was a little small. After that, I increased my reading to a full chapter per day. Over time, I studied the scriptures more formally through Seminary, Sunday School, Institute, and on my mission. I not only learned to understand better what I was reading, but also found that I really enjoy studying them. But no matter what, I have always kept the habit to make sure that I read something every single day.
My point is this: It has been more years than I’m willing to say since my 12th birthday. A major reason that I have stuck with this habit over the years is because I started small…not just small, but tiny. I never felt over-whelmed by it, or too tired, or even too bored. No matter what else was going on, I could always find the time and motivation to read a verse. And the result was consistency that has definitely paid off over the years.
Defining Tiny Goals
So, especially in thinking about my health goals and I how I have been up-and-down, back-and-forth, and all-over-the-place with my eating habits, I’m finally admitting to myself that I’m trying to start too big. I’m always trying to “make-over” mine (and my family’s) eating habits in one big swoop. It never works and I always end up feeling like I’m a failure.
This is when I began thinking, how small of a goal could I set that would move me towards the big goal? And then I thought of the fact that my first goal to read scriptures wasn’t just small, but it was tiny. And that’s how the idea of “tiny goals” was born.
This is how I define Tiny Goals:
- Achieving it moves me in a concrete way towards the bigger goal.
- It is simple and clear.
- I have very little resistance to doing it.
Setting My Tiny Goals
As a result, I have set several Tiny Goals, so that I can work on all 2015 goals at once. Here they are:
- Eat at least one fruit or vegetable with breakfast and lunch (serving-amount doesn’t matter)
- Eat at least two fruits and/or vegetables with dinner (serving-amount doesn’t matter)
- Do some exercise everyday (amount or length of time doesn’t matter)
- Complete one reading lesson with my 5-yr old every day (except Sundays)
- Get rid of or put away 3 things from my bedroom every day (except Sundays)
- Study some Spanish vocabulary every day (except Sundays)
- Read something from the New Testament, Isaiah, General Conference, or Ezra T. Benson book every day
Aren’t they tiny? I actually started these goals on Jan 5, and I’m amazed at how well I have done with them. Not 100%, but I’m really satisfied! And I’ve noticed that some days all I can do is the bare minimum, while other days I find myself doing much more.
So, I’m really excited and very hopeful that I can make some progress.
When have you had success with setting small (or tiny) goals?