Thursday, August 8, 2013

Consider Your Trajectory

I mentioned in a previous blog that patience has been a virtue that I have had to work on a lot. One of the areas of my life in which this truth has manifested itself has been in my attempts at self-improvement. Through the years, I have been able to identify a number of areas in which I wanted to fix issues or grow stronger, and through the years, I have made multiple attempts to follow through on these changes. Sometimes I was successful, but one problem with my methods showed up time after time.

I wanted to be at the end of the journey before I had even really gotten started.

You know, it’s great to have goals, and it’s great to have your eyes firmly set on those goals. But it’s not so great when your eyes are so firmly set on the goal that all you can see is how far away it is. So many of those times that I failed, I failed because I got so frustrated with myself and my slow progress that I gave up trying at all. It should not be this way!

So what is there to do about it? Consider my trajectory.

Considering your trajectory is all about considering the path from starting point to reaching the goal. This path includes: recognizing a change that needs to be made, deciding to do something about it, setting the goal, and then all the little individual steps in between those first few stages and the last one. Considering your trajectory is all about taking a step back and checking that you are still on the path, moving in the proper direction with the proper momentum. It’s about understanding that getting to your goals takes a lot of hard work, which means it will also take time.

When you consider your trajectory, you can have patience with yourself. You can appreciate the small steps you are taking in the right direction, and you can celebrate the little victories you gain along the way.

Recently, I gave some advice to a friend whose young daughter was struggling with her progress in learning to read. She wanted so badly to be able to pick up the chapter books her sisters are reading and enjoy them herself, but her frustration with herself was basically making her shut down when reading lessons started. My advice was for my friend to help the little girl focus on her progress by showing her every day how many words she could read as compared to the day before. Now, her eyes were set not on how far away that goal of reading those chapter books was but on how much closer she was getting to it every single day.

And then I started thinking… Isn’t that what I need to do myself???

So I am committing to this new perspective. When I find those familiar frustrations rising up within me – when I find myself thinking, 'Why am I not there yet?’ – I will take a step back and consider my trajectory.

  • Am I still on the right path, moving in the right direction to reach my goal?
  • Am I moving at a good pace in order to achieve what I’m working toward in a reasonable time frame?
  • Am I taking the time to recognize and celebrate the little victories I am achieving along the way, appreciating the time and effort that went into each one?
  • And am I putting my faith in my Lord to enable me to accomplish all that is within His will for me?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

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