“The man who moves a mountain begins carrying away small stones.” – Confucius
This quote highlights the importance of accomplishing big things by doing many small things. If you look at any large accomplishment you finished it by acting the way this quote describes. Whether you write a book, complete an assignment in school, finish a project for your employer, or even start a garden in your back yard, you completed small, discreet steps to get to the final goal.
I like using this principle when doing my daily work. Since I am retired my day is my own. I decided when I retired that I would not waste away or pursue a life that was trivial. I think it is important for retired folks to continue to pursue goals and accomplish things. My focus is on reading, writing, daily learning, and exercise. Instead of pursuing specific goals in this regard, I simply follow daily rituals that are composed of small steps to get to the end state I am pursuing.
Health is built on a foundation of exercise, proper sleep, proper nutrition and supplementation, hygiene, and getting my eyes, teeth, and body checked at regular intervals. Subsequently, I have rituals built around my eating schedule, my water intake, my sleep schedule, and all the rest. Mental health is also included in the health category. To stay mentally healthy I pursue spiritual reading, daily journaling, and meditation. I also want to continue learning and take as many free online courses as I can find. You can find these courses at Hillsdale college (www.hillsdale.edu) or Coursera (www.coursera.com). There are also resources like YouTube, and many others to pursue topics of personal interest. If you are willing to spend a little money you can find great courses on www.udemy.com or The Great Courses, which can be pursued online or on a DVD set you can purchase from these folks. Udemy offers courses that range from 9.99 to 11.99 and are yours for life after purchase.
Writing is also a passion of mine. I try to post to this blog daily, because it gives me the ability to develop a good writing habit and gives me the chance to practice my craft. I am looking to write many books in the future but want to learn some basic processes before commencing on this type of work. I am taking a non-fiction book writing course currently on Udemy.
Reading is another passion of mine. I enjoy reading books and participate in the yearly reading challenge on Good Reads. Good Reads allows you to track the books you are reading, the books you’ve read, and the books you would like to read. This year the goal is 36 books. If I achieve this goal, which I should, next year we will elevate to 48. I read fiction, non-fiction, and religious books. I consider my self a polygamous reader as I tend to read more than one book at a time. I always include one religious book, one non-fiction book that will teach me something, and a fiction book.
There are also other rituals I follow each day. I follow a ritualized eating schedule, I follow a ritualized pattern of checking emails and normal mail, and I also follow a ritualized pattern of checking in on social media and even my bank account balance. I ensure hitting these daily rituals by checking them off on a to-do application called Toodledo (www.toodledo.com).
When you realize how easy it is to read a few pages a day, write a 500-word blog posting, and accomplish two daily workouts and meditation sessions twice per day, it is easy to see how these things build over time. You can do these things too. Simply determine what you want to do with your day and begin selecting daily activities you can do to begin.
If you want to become an avid reader and learn something new, begin with reading a few pages a day. If you want to get a writing project done, pick out a word count you want to achieve each day and set a time to do that work. If you want to get some mental clarity, pick a time each day to meditate for 10 minutes. All these activities are easy to schedule, take a minimal amount of time, and put you into a position where you can achieve a great deal over time.
To achieve great things, like moving a mountain, start moving some rocks. You will achieve a great deal with minimal effort.
Until next time…