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I got a question from a long time facebook follower this morning:
Do you find you are making progress going at a snail’s pace as you say? The reason I ask is I notice I struggle with trying to do too much and getting overwhelmed and lately I have been really trying to do more small changes, baby steps… but I guess there’s part of me that wonders if that really works
Does going at a snail’s pace, really work? Yes it does but you have to remember it takes time and results will not be instant but it is worth it when you change feeling overwhelmed to feeling like “I can do this one small step at a time”
For example. I first came across snail pacing when my husband and I were working on renovating our first of 3 homes. I was in charge of painting the homes. At first I thought surely if I just go painting crazy I can finish off the first entire home in no time and then get back to my daily life until the next home was ready to paint.
Well…I tried but a complete home paint job including all walls, trim and ceiling from the primer coat to the final coat takes way longer than one or two marathon weeks. Especially when you are a newbie painter and you don’t have the handy dandy professional grade paint sprayer nor the knowledge of how to use one.
Within 2 weeks of painting every spare moment, my house was a mess, the children were uneducated (remember we homeschool), we were all sick of fast food and the laundry was backed up in piles to the ceiling. I was also exhausted. Yet the first of three renovation homes was far from being completely painted.
Realizing I could not continue to paint at a hare’s pace I started to chart out a plan that might take longer but would leave our home in balance and me energized enough to go about all my duties with a good attitude.
I used a time blocking chart similar to what is discussed by Amy Lynn Andrews in her ebook Tell Your Time and discovered just how many hours a week I could paint and still keep our home livable, the children educated, clean clothes on our backs, healthy food on our table and enough time to pursue my sanity keepers (prayer time and running).
I then took the time to break down my huge painting job into “mini goals” that I could celebrate along the way, such as “first coat on all ceilings”, followed by “second coat on all ceilings”. A great resource for help in breaking a goal down into mini goals is Crystal Paine’s ebook “21 Days To A More Disciplined Life” .
Each time I reached a mini goal I celebrated with some extra me time or even a simple shout out of “Yes I am making progress”.
Sure I didn’t paint the home in record time. Yes, people did ask me was I ever going to finish that house? However I maintained something even more important to me and that was BALANCE. Balance in my life allows me to make sure my children and my husband get the attention they need. Balance prevents me from being burnt out. Balance keeps my home at livable levels so that it is not an added frustration to me.
Now looking back all three homes are painted, we live in one, we rent one and we sold one. It was a crazy 5 year journey but through it all I managed to maintain balance in our home and family life and I can look back with joy at the fond memories instead of with regret at what all the hours work cost me.
The key to not getting frustrated when you are snail pacing your way to your goal is to set mini goals and celebrate them. They will make the journey to the finish line seem to go faster.
Here are my tips on celebrating mini goals and avoiding discouragement
1. Clap for yourself out loud every time you get an inch closer to your goal (sound silly but it is very satisfying)
2. Make an album on Facebook and post pictures of your progress that you can then review from time to time and see your progress.
3. Keep a written journal of your daily or weekly progress.
4. When you reach a “mini goal” treat yourself to something. For example I take a bit more me time and enjoy a good book or watch a sappy girly movie (as my husband refers to my movie choices).
5. Continually remind yourself about the story of the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise won!
6. Make up a bar graph of your goal and keep it posted where you see it often. Filling in squares as you get closer and closer.
I hope dear reader that these words encourage you.
If you have a question you would like me to answer you can email me at snailpacetransformations at gmail dot com.
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