Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Principle of Continuous Improvement

I am constantly reading about and coming up with things to do to help me become the best version of myself. I get overly excited as I discover what I should do next. I'm a jumper - I go from zero to sixty in one goal setting experience. I haven't worked out in forever? Go every day this week. I want to pray more? Add an additional holy half hour. I want to start writing again? Blog every day without exception. And then I fall miserably on my face because I pile all these things on top of each other at the same time. So it's more like zero to 500 in one day.

And it never lasts. The next time I want to try I don't do it because I failed so miserably the time before. Suddenly these goals and desires of mine are a page out of Shauna Niequest's Bittersweet screaming "DO EVERYTHING BETTER" at me, paralyzing me. So I do nothing.

I'm reading Matthew Kelly's The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic (read it and get it for free here) and he talks about using the principle of continuous improvement for our spiritual life. Basically this principle suggests that implementing one minuscule step towards your goal in your daily life each week allows people to feel empowered and motivated to make positive changes. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you are able to take control of your life and the growth you desire. You will grow over time, and these just noticeable differences are a non-threatening way to change.

After many series of repeated failures, this principle excites me. However, my problem is that there are about one million and one areas in my life that I want to improve with this principle. Which would continue to lead me down the failing path of zero to 500.

These next couple of weeks I will be focusing on growing in just one area. I have chosen Matthew Kelly's first sign of a Dynamic Catholic: prayer.

The Christian Life cannot sustain itself without prayer. As a missionary, I've grown so much in this over the course of the year. I have become consistent and I have actually learned to listen. But I still have quite a long way to go.

The best version of myself would not only faithfully stick to my daily prayer routine, but would have a life that is a constant flow of conversation with my God. For me, my first step is the morning offering.

How can I expect to flow in and out of conversation with Christ if I don't talk to Him at the start of my day?

That's where I'm at. I'm not making any promises of consistent posting (even though that's on my short list) because I really want to focus on the slow and steady growth.

For now, I will begin my day calling the name of Jesus to mind and offering Him my day.

I'll be back soon. Pray for me that I might grow closer to Christ this lent.

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