Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 8 comments

Back when I was in high school I was on the basketball team. Notice I said I was on the team. I didn't say I played on the team because I didn't. Play that is. I was in that unenviable position of being just good enough to make the team but not quite good enough to play. And when there are twelve girls on the team and only ten are needed to practice...let's just say I watched a lot of basketball.

Back then I had heard that you needed to think big, shoot for the stars, be all you can be - you get the drift. So I set a goal of making the all-conference team. Um, yeah. This from a girl that never played, not even in practice.  Sure, I had a goal, but it was very general and far-reaching, plus I really didn't have a clue as to how to achieve it.  

Photo courtesy of nhssc.com and google

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER

Studies have shown that those most successful in any given field don't focus on outcomes; they focus on improving their behavior or the process.* In other words, I should have aimed to have more control over my dribble or to develop a good form while shooting free-throws rather than setting my sights on the lofty goal of all-conference. 

The same principle can be applied to our spiritual lives. Rather than focusing on a general goal of being more consistent in our quiet times or spending more time with the Lord, we need to make our goal more measurable and specific.


SUCCESS FOR TOMORROW BEGINS TODAY

Success is found in the little things.  It only takes a small change make a big difference in your life. Isn't that good news friends? You don't have to have it all figured out. You don't have to be the best or the brightest. You just need to start with one little change. The challenge is discerning what change needs to be made.

Let me give you an example. 

I tend to get distracted, and I've discovered these distractions come in many forms, most of them electronic. (Anyone else with me here?) For example, there's my phone. I'm fairly new to this phenomenon, owning a smart phone for just shy of a year now. It came into my possession with alerts set to notify me of anything and everything. It wasn't long before I was behaving like one of Pavlov's dogs. Every time I heard an alert go off, I'd rush to the phone to take a "quick" look. More often than not, looking at the teaser on the home screen was only enough to whet my appetite, so I'd open up the email or text or facebook to glance at the message in its entirety. The next thing I knew, I was "quickly" sending a reply. 


Not only would this constant barrage of interruptions keep me from concentrating on the task at hand, but sometimes they gave Dude and Bubba just the opportunity they needed to add something more to my schedule - like cleaning up cat food! (In Bubba's defense, it was Dude - the innocent looking one sitting on the sofa - who was responsible for most of this mess. He was just running there when I turned to snap this photo.)

So what change could I implement to make a difference here? I turned off the alert sounds on my phone.  I've found that if I don't hear the sounds, I don't look at my phone nearly as often. Since the alerts can still catch my eye, I've added the step of keeping my phone face-down when I really need to keep my focus on the task at hand.


Small Change = Big Difference

Looking back, I realize I've created more time to spend with the Lord by making a series of these small changes, one at a time, in regards to my television set. I grew up in a home where it was on literally ALL the time, and so it became just something I did; background noise that would repeatedly lure me in. 

Here are the steps I took to help overcome this stronghold in my life: 

  • I started by keeping the TV off unless I specifically wanted to watch something.

  • Next, I eliminated watching mid-day.

  • Then I quit turning it on first thing in the morning. I would tell myself, "I'm just going to watch the weather forecast," but then I'd think, "I really should catch up on the local news," followed by, "I wonder what's going on in the national news," and then there would be a teaser for an upcoming segment and I'd stay tuned to watch that. Before I knew it I had lost an hour (sometimes more!)

  • I stopped adding new shows to the ones I watched.

  • God helped me with the final step by giving me pain in my neck! It had been my habit to lie in bed and watch TV until I fell asleep, but when it became physically too painful to do so I had to go to bed without turning the television on.

Over the years, there were many times I tried to watch less TV but success was fleeting at best. I really didn't see any progress until I started addressing the problem one step at a time. These incremental changes have ultimately led me to victory in this area of my life.

Small Change = Big Difference

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” ~ Matthew 7:20

Not sure where to start? As with everything in life, our first course of action should be to pray.  God knows you better than you know yourself, so ask for His guidance as you seek to spend more time with Him. Ask Him to show you the first step you need to make to take back control of your time!

How about you? Can you think of a small change you could make (or have made) to reclaim wasted time? Please leave a comment - even if it's not something you normally do - so we can help each other. I'd love to hear from you! Pretty please?

Father, I am so thankful that through you all things are possible! Thank you for shaving seemingly insurmountable goals into something I can achieve! Forgive me for all those times I only turned to You after I ran out of my own ideas, and help me to make you my first resort, not the last.

Lisa
*This comes from a book called "Influencer" by Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzler,  which I'm reading because there's one person in particular I want to influence - ME!

This post is the fourth of a series dedicated to help you establish setting aside time with the Lord every day.  Prior posts are:

     1.  Getting on the Right Track - Motivation

     2.  Make Way for Jesus - Preparation

     3.  Overcoming Obstacles - Press on!  

     4.  Defeating Distractions - Small Change = Big Difference  You are here!

     5.  Set Up for Success - Construct a Conducive Environment

     6.  Positive Peer Pressure - Growth in Groups

I've been known to link up with: Living Proverbs 31, Soli Deo GloriaInspire Me MondayTitus 2sdaysTell Me a StoryTeach Me TuesdaysTutorials and Tips, Tell His Story, Doing You Well WednesdayInto the BeautifulGod Bumps & God IncidencesWord-Filled WednesdayWinsome WednesdaySimply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, InspireThrive at Home, Hope in Every SeasonFunky Junk InteriorsFrugal FridayFriendship FridayInspire Me Please,Feathered Nest FridayWhat Have You RedoneHome Sweet HomeThrifty Things Friday, DIY Sunday Showcase Think Pink SundaysCourtship ConnectionA Little R&R WednesdaysThink Tank ThursdaysMake My Saturday Sweet

8 Responses so far.

  1. Laura says:

    What great insight!! And so true small change=big difference. Thanks for illustrating it so well. :)_

  2. Hello, I think you will see grate improvements over these small but big choices! So many things can become distractions. But I learned long time ago that people that God has put in my lifer were not distractions. I pour my energy into these things.
    I enjoyed this post!
    Blessings, Roxy
    PS. At least you made the team :)

  3. Thank you for sharing your small changes with us here at 'Tell me a Story' and how they affected your life. Yes, I need to make some changes too. Thanks for the push!

  4. caryjo says:

    All I can say is that I get so easily distracted... and it happened LONG before the computer issues and cell phone issues hit our world. Ain't a young 'un, and don't move quickly enough in the right direction, but truly need to STOP moving and just turn to the Lord and listen to what HE has to say, not just what the bloggers and fb people have to say. What a world we live in...

  5. "It only takes a small change to make a big difference in your life" - that is so true! I got a smart phone a year and a half ago too and I'm still trying to draw the line with it. ha. I turned off a lot of alerts too. I want to control my phone, not have it control me.

  6. Kathi says:

    I enjoyed your post very much, and went back to read the others in the series. :-) Thank you for sharing this at the HomeAcre Hop; I hope you'll join us again this Thursday.
    Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

  7. Enjoyed your post. It is very easy to get distracted with the tv, internet, especially when you are cooped up in the house due to freezing temps. great tips!

  8. "Success is found in the little things". This is so true. Thanks for sharing with us at The HomeAcre Hop!

    Please join us again Thursday at:
    http://summers-acres.com

    ~Ann

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