I want to write an e-book (electronic book). I have purchased a course to guide me through the formatting process of a Kindle ebook, and I am almost through with it (the course, not the book). The next step is to start on the book. This is a BIG goal for me. I’m not sure I will be able to actually complete the book by the end of this month, but I can commit to working on the book (or the course) every day this month.
I cannot really explain my failure with this challenge except to say that life has been very busy this month with out-of-the-ordinary issues that I hadn’t really planned on (imagine that; things happening that I didn’t plan for). Not only have I failed in my 30-day challenge this month, but I have backslidden in my writing discipline, as well. Even as I sat down to write this morning, I struggled with what to write about. It occurred to me that I just needed to come clean, to let you, my readers, know that I have not succeeded this month. It’s easy to report when I have been successful, but maybe it will be more helpful to you this month to hear about my struggles. So here it goes: Overall this month, I would have to say that my 30-day challenge is a big, fat failure.
BUT I AM RENEWING MY CHALLENGE TODAY. I choose to look at it this way: I’m getting a late start in the month of January. Nevertheless, I will start afresh, press on and finish strong! Who knows? Maybe I’ll double my usual progress by adopting this attitude!
Actually, this is one of the premises of this blog—to encourage people to start where they are, to build one tiny baby step at a time, then to gradually increase their capacity by stretching a little further, until—BOOM!—‘suddenly’ they’re an expert in the field that once was so difficult for them. What better way to impart this truth than to demonstrate it?
So, before you as my witnesses today, I renew my 30-day challenge (now a 15-day challenge) to study the aforementioned course a little every day and/or to work on the aforementioned ebook and to get back on the writing wagon.
Years ago, I had a friend who declared he was going on a week-long fast (as in abstaining from food for that period of time). That was on a Sunday, and he was going to start the next day. The following Sunday, I asked him how it went. He immediately dropped his head in shame. “Well, on Monday I actually forgot I was fasting, and I ordered a hamburger for lunch. I had gobbled up the onion before I remembered. And then I thought, Oh well; I’ve eaten the onion. I might as well eat the hamburger.” That was the end of his week-long fast.
There’s a more than a couple of things strange about that story. First of all, why would anyone eat a raw onion? Yuck! Secondly, since he remembered his fast before he ate the hamburger, why didn’t he stop right then, count his “losses,” and continue with his fast? (I suppose if I had just eaten a raw onion, I too, would want to drown out that taste with a nice juicy hamburger.) And finally, even after eating the hamburger, why didn’t he renew his commitment and start again?
But enough about my onion-eating, fast-breaking friend. One of the wonderful revelations I have received since beginning the 30-day challenge concept six months ago is how much more productive I am when I settle for imperfection. Most of my life I have been a “frustrated perfectionist.” I wanted to be perfect, and thus, my frustration—because I never attained it. So many of my plans and dreams and projects have fallen by the wayside of my life because I couldn’t do them perfectly (I’m serious).
When I started this blog in January of last year, I had visions of writing inspiring posts that would change people’s lives. I had a rude awakening on that very first post. I wrote and re-wrote and tweaked and polished until, finally—hours later—I felt comfortable clicking “Publish” and waiting for all the world to read. The rude awakening? I didn’t have hours to spend writing posts on a regular basis. And so, over the next six months, only ten more posts went up. That’s where the first 30-day challenge came in and provided me the pressure I needed to write imperfect posts (111 imperfect posts since that time; this makes 122).
And so today, I am writing another imperfect post about a very imperfect 30-day challenge experience, but my hope is that I will not only write about, but also demonstrate for you, the principle in Proverbs 24:16, “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again…” Today’s post is me getting up, dusting myself off and starting afresh. I’m no longer frustrated. I’m righteous.
How about you? Have you been frustrated with your progress towards your goals this month? Maybe you’ve already let your “New Year’s resolutions” fall by the wayside. Think about my onion-eating friend. It’s really a little ridiculous to throw in the towel this early in the year, isn’t it? Maybe your goal/resolution needs a little tweaking? Maybe you need to do a little experimenting? Whatever the case, we know that tiny actions can make huge differences. So if, like me, you have not been all that successful this month, will you renew your commitment and settle for righteousness instead of perfection? Leave me a comment and tell me how you’re doing.