My friend ‘kindly’ reminded me the other day that doing the same thing over and over, and yet expecting a different result is insanity! We had a little laugh because that is what we do – we keep pushing through hoping against the odds that we will get a different result! Needless to say, I went away from that conversation ready to make a few changes!!
We can make changes in a number of ways
- Big huge changes – like going cold turkey and just making it happen
- Little steps – eating an elephant one mouthful at a time
- Or we can hate change so much we simply keep on doing the same thing!
Which are you? I’m the little steps person, Peter is the cold turkey.
To my way of thinking little steps means something actually happens – if we want to take big steps we wait till the perfect time, the convenient time, the when I’m ready time and the changes never happen! (You can read between the lines here I’m sure – this is something Peter and I have talked about!!) Little steps are less interruptive, more achievable in the midst of a busy life – and the thing that is often overlooked with baby steps is that the impact of just a small change, just a tweak here or there, can often be very significant.
Here are some small changes we’ve made over the years:
- Peter now has Bluetooth-noise-reducing headphones for when he flies. This means he can have a good clear conversation on the phone. Before the headphones he would phone me and we’d end up yelling, not because we were cross but just to get above the noise of the engine – I’d end up feeling like we’d had an argument and all he was asking was about the weather!! Noise reducing headphones – a small change, but one that has helped our conversations
- The headphones have also meant he can make business calls while he flies home. This means he has less to do when he gets home.
- Reading the news instead of watching the news. A small change Peter has made is that he now reads the news online instead of wanting to watch the 7.00 ABC news (an icon in the Australian country/bush lifestyle!) But to leave the table dead-set on 7.00pm cut across our family conversations. Now he only turns on the TV when there is a headline where he wants to see the images.
- Read alouds during dessert. We aren’t doing too well on this one but when we do it- it works! We struggle to find a time where the family can enjoy a good book together, so a small change was that I would read over dessert time – double bonus, I don’t eat dessert – which I don’t need – and we get to read a story together. I need to pick up this one again.
- We were always pushing and running late to start our morning studies. This year I moved our start time back to 8.30 instead of 8.00 and it means everyone gets everything done in good time – including exercising for those who are working on that. A small tweak to our routine, and huge benefits.
- I want to reduce my sugar intake, and I only take sugar with one particular drink. From now on that item is off my shopping list! A small change – a hard change – but it will be worth it!!
- I struggle to go walking when we have a foster child here – by realising she can have her playtime in the pram and come with me, changes things around. No excuse now!
What are the things that are not working well in your home right now?
My mum was a big help to me in this area – I would get overwhelmed and frustrated and see no end to it. She would make me take a deep breath, and prompt me to think of the one thing that was putting the most pressure on me. One time I remember it was the kids toys – we had nowhere to store them and it was getting to me. We brainstormed how to make changes, it was doable (time wise and financially) so within a week I had a new system in place.
I have found that there are always ripple effects to change. The headphones for example, one little change and yet it affects more than one area of our life. When I sorted my kids toys, not only did I have mental and physical space, but the kids were more inspired to play creatively – which in turn gave me more mental and physical space! Win-win!!
What is the one thing that is frustrating you this week? How can you make a change? Remember we can’t change other people – we can only change ourselves and the things for which we are responsible. Plus we always have to make changes within our means so don’t push beyond those God given boundaries. But at the same time, there is plenty of scope to think outside the box, to be creative and resourceful.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him. James 1:5
May God give you creative answers this week!