Monday, February 2, 2015

The Snowball Effect

We're digging out from the fifth-largest snowfall in Chicagoland this week. Yesterday we woke to a winter wonderland, and it was glorious to drive to church in it. Even more glorious to discover that most of the congregation and a full quota of the choir had also braved the elements to worship together. We shared a moment of calm together, the Lord's Table, and profound reminders of God's deep love for us while we were at our worst--ungodly and weak-willed, unable to do the right thing even when we knew what it was. What a great way to spend a snow day. We enjoyed watching the Super Bowl as well--probably the first time we've had all our kids watch the whole thing with us.

January and February are often months of paralysis for me, probably the effect of not enough sun. The irony is that these are the very months I'm often trying to reassert some sort of order in my world. Out with the Christmas decorations and holiday eating habits. In with more discipline in my walk with the Lord, in my health, and in our spending habits. Out with the toys that no longer fit now that Christmas gifts are put away. In with better study and practicing habits. Out with time-wasting on the computer, in with weekly blogging--that's the goal, anyway!

This year I'm trying a new strategy: instead of working on everything at once, I'm trying to focus on one thing and see how discipline in that area leads to discipline in another. It's what Dave Ramsey calls the snowball method, where you tackle the smallest debt and the other ones naturally follow. I don't want to get overwhelmed with everything I'd like to see run better in our lives, so I'm letting myself just work on one thing with the other things coming along as I'm able.

The big area I'm working on is our finances. Now that our big move is done and life has settled down a bit, I really need to work on getting our spending habits--my spending habits--under control. It's not that I waste money, but I do not do a good job of sticking to the budget. So I'm taking baby steps toward better planning and money management. Maybe soon I can blog about extreme couponing!

In the meantime, it has been healthy to spend these dark winter months focusing on manageable steps toward success in one area instead of feeling down on myself for not being as far as I'd like to be toward ten different goals. And I think it's working. When I'm feeling pretty good about accomplishing one small thing I tend to want to take a step toward accomplishing something else as well. Today's victories were spending some time with my Bible and my gratitude journal when my attitude was heading south, not eating the leftover junk food from yesterday's Super Bowl bash, and doing pretty well with my budgeted Walgreens run (although I hope to do better next week). There are more things I wish I had gotten done, but instead of beating myself up about those things I'm going to choose to focus on the few things I did right. Tomorrow is another day, and perhaps I will have five or six victories instead of only three. Especially since school will surely be back in session and I will presumably have fewer interruptions.

How about you? Is there a goal you're working on? Have you taken some baby steps in the right direction that have helped you gain discipline in a second area as well?

1 comment:

  1. Sunday was such a wonderful time together. Coming outside to beautiful, pure snow pouring down after realizing how much saving I need was a special gift. I enjoyed this post and am happy you are writing more as all of us readers reap the benefits of it. Thanks!