Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

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We all have aspects of our lives that we would like to improve. We may struggle with our weight.  Or we may have a relationship that is fraught with conflict.  Perhaps we have a job which doesn’t suit our skills or aspirations.  When working to improve these areas, it is easy to get discouraged if we can’t fix these problems quickly.

But some problems simply cannot be remedied overnight. That makes sense because they probably weren’t created overnight.  In fact, most big problems are the product of years of bad choices.  For instance, health issues typically don’t come up out of the blue.  Rather, they tend to be the result of long-term bad habits, like poor eating choices, or abusing drugs or alcohol.

Likewise, relationships don’t reach a crisis point because of one small conflict. Instead, that crisis will arise after months or years of one (or both) parties behaving in a self-centered manner.  So, since big issues aren’t created overnight, we can’t expect to resolve them overnight either.  Instead, we have to look for progress as we move forward, rather than perfection.

My health is one area in which I focus on progress. This year, I didn’t lose the ten pounds that I would have liked to lose.  But the good news is that I kicked my caffeine habit.  I also have been getting daily exercise though ballroom dancing, which has improved my cardiovascular health, agility and posture.  I haven’t achieved perfection, but I keep making progress to be as healthy as possible.

You would be shocked at the results that you can achieve from small, daily amounts of progress toward a goal. When I was trying to learn Spanish, nothing helped me as much as listening to Spanish instructional CDs in my car on my daily commute.  Every morning, for the 40 minutes that I was driving, I practiced speaking Spanish.  That habit laid the foundation for my eventual ability to speak the language.

The same holds true for when we want to improve parts of our character. I am by nature an impatient person.  I know that I am not going to change that aspect of my personality overnight.  Instead, I approach the issue by dealing with individual situations.  If I know that I am going to be at a family event at which I will be irritated, I commit to being as patient as possible for that one event. My hope is that as I practice being patient in certain situations, I will develop the quality of patience.  But for today, I simply look for progress in that area.

This week, as you consider the areas of your life in which you would like to see change, don’t obsess about achieving your final goal. Instead, think of the ways in which you can make a small amount of progress today. If you do that every day, you will feel increasingly inspired to pursue your goals, and before you know it, you will have achieved them.

(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

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