A brand new planner, all different colors of Sharpie pens that I got in my Christmas stocking, a stack of books I’m itching to read–all of these things stir up some tiny butterflies in my stomach for the beginning of a new year.
In the past, I have set a list of goals to accomplish in the new year. Sometimes the goals were far too lofty, sometimes they were measurable and attainable, but I neglected to plan the steps to accomplish the goal. This year, rather than setting goals for the year (which I still think is a wonderful practice when it is done with prayer and planning), I have set some goals for the next eight weeks as part of an accountability group I am leading. I am not asserting that this kind of goal setting is by nature superior to year’s worth of goals. However, as I have prepared for this 8-week period, it has made me realize that if I had to choose between a new day and a new year, I would choose a new day.
Bill Gates is often quoted for saying, ““Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
While I believe this is absolutely true, I am absolutely convinced that most of us also underestimate what we can do in one day. I am guilty of writing off a day before it has begun– a sick husband, a terrible night of sleep because one of my kids was up coughing during the night, or even a to-do list that is just too long can make me call the day a loss before I even eat breakfast. Or, I do imagine that I can knock out my to-do list for a day, but underestimate, then, my ability to be patient and gracious by the time evening rolls around.
I know our days are full, mommas, and they can be incredibly unpredictable. The direction of your day can change dramatically simply because your easy-going two year old has molars coming in that no longer make him easy-going. But, I have a few steps to help us stop underestimating our days.
- Measure correctly: if you’re like me, you may be underestimating what can be accomplished in your day because you’re measuring your to-do list against your strength rather than His. Zechariah 4:6 tells us, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Be sure you have the correct measuring tape.
- Plan Prayerfully: take a few minutes in the evening, if you can, or when you wake up in the morning to prayerfully make some plans for the day–let the Holy Spirit guide you. Sometimes, our plans fall to pieces because they are our plans and we’re asking God to equip us for something He didn’t call us to today.
- Accept Small Steps: this is so difficult for me–accept that something is still something and is, indeed, better than nothing. R. Collier said, “Success is made up of the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” Small efforts, don’t knock them!
Here we go, mommas — by His strength, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we will make small steps of progress and stop underestimating what God might do through us today.