When You Can Only Do a Little


“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

— Edmund Burke

Most Monday’s I do well. I wake up motivated and get right to work. I write. I plan. I work. I do all the things that look like I am on my way somewhere in life, and then, I fizzle out by Tuesday morning.

I never make it further than that because every week I go from feeling like I can do anything to feeling like my dream is too big, too impossible, too hard to ever achieve. And anyway, I’m not smart enough, or interesting enough, or good enough to get there. So, I give it up again and make no progress.

Sometimes I have to give up because my body is too tired. Fatigue kicks my ass. I overdo it one day, and I need two to recover.

Sometimes I give up because other obligations get in the way and leave me with nearly no time for my personal projects and dreams.

But mostly it’s my own mind getting in the way, telling me I am too small to do big things in this world, telling me it’s better to do nothing than to do a little.

My mind is lying.

I can’t count the number of times I have looked back and thought that if I had only done a little something every day, I would be so much further along by now. I wish I had done one small thing every time I sat staring at a screen feeling anxious and overwhelmed before opening Twitter or Facebook and giving up. Sometimes I get caught up in that though, in self-pity and disappointment, and I do nothing still, but I want to try to find a better way.

It’d be nice to have the time, the energy, and the confidence to do big things all day every day but I have to accept that just isn’t me. I have to accept that for me it will have to be a lot of tiny steps all adding up over time, for now. I have to look at my dream in a new light. I have to break it all up into little bits that don’t feel so overwhelming or impossible for little old, boring, and bumbling me. I have to work through it, one tiny step at a time, looking down at the path rather than up at the destination.

Today, I can take a few notes. I can think of one idea. I can write one post, one paragraph, one sentence. I can draw one little doodle. I can find some inspiration, or ask one question. I can reply to one comment. I can learn one new thing. I can research one step pf the process. I can read a few pages. I can do one lesson.

I can find one useful thing to do, in just five or 15 minutes to get me where I want to be.

This week, do one small thing every day that brings you closer to the life you want. Don’t think about the big goal. Don’t think about all the reasons you can’t do this. Don’t think about all the other people in the world who do it easily and better than you. Don’t think about the impossible. Just think about this one step, this five minutes. Do one small thing and celebrate it when you finish.

You can apply this to anything too. Want to help the environment? Produce a little less trash today. House is a wreck? Clean just one room, one corner, one shelf. Want to get healthier? Drink one glass of water. Take one walk around the block, around the building, to the water fountain and back. Want to feel happier? Write one good thing that happened today. Say one nice thing to another person. Don’t know where to begin? Ask one person for advice. Ask one person for help. Ask one person for support. It all starts with just one step.

Big things are scary, but small steps are easy. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. Tell yourself it’s okay that you aren’t there yet. You are trying, and you did something!

This week I am going to make a list of little things I can do when the big things feel too big. I’m going to take it all step by step, moment by moment, and when I look back a year from now I will be a little closer, or hopefully, a lot closer, but it really doesn’t matter, as long as progress is made.

P.S. A bit of caution before you go, sometimes procrastination and small things look too much alike. When you do small things, you have to do them with mindfulness. Ask yourself: How is this small thing helpful?


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Featured image via Unsplash


Currently // March 2016

Writing my Blogging A to Z Challenge posts. I have A thru F fleshed out and mostly ready to go as of this writing. I am so freaking nervous about this guys :/

Planning my summer goals. Yeah, I know I have a long way to go but after April i will need to really buckle down and do some real writing if I want to make any money off of these words.

Making an effort to draw more. I have been trying to do a few doodles from little drawing tutorials or photos I find on Pinterest. I’ve done three so far, and they kind of suck. You can see them on my Instagram if you’re interested.

Thinking about all the scary things I want to do in the future. Quitting my job? Starting my own business? Having kids??? Whaaaaaat?

Reading, or more like suffering through, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus. It is a big change from all the fiction I’d been reading these past few months and it is taking some getting used to.

Watching The Family on ABC. It’s about the return of a politician’s son who had gone missing over a decade earlier. The kid returns traumatized and the man wrongly accused of his murder is released from prison and drama ensues. Plus,this kid might not be who he says he is.

Feeling like I have no idea what I am doing. Like being out in the ocean and trying to swim to land. I have no idea if I am going in the right direction or how far I need to swim. Hell, I could just be swimming in circles for all I know.

Needing everyone to stop making plans to leave! My sister and her husband are looking to head south to Texas with my niece and nephew, and my mom is planning on heading to Missouri with the rest of the family. Pretty soon I will be the only one left in Colorado and, well, that really sucks.

Loving my new clipfolio I picked up from Target to keep all my little writing notes in and these bank pouches I ordered from Amazon to hold all my sharpies, pens, and pencils.

Hating all this snow we have been having lately. I need warm temps, sunshine, and blue skies already!

Hoping everyone shows up for the birthday brunch in a couple of weeks. I want to get all the important women in my life together for bloody Mary’s, mimosas, and some damn good food, but I’ll be super disappointed if any of them can’t make it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.


The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured image via Pexels

Let Us Be Dissatisfied!

What would Martin Luther King think of the world we live in today? Many people ask this question and many more after tragic events such as the killing of Mike Brown and the resulting protests in Ferguson, MO and across the country. I really began to take the question seriously after the murder of 12 year old Tamir Rice by police over a fake gun. When a child is killed and it is beginning to like like it was only because he was black and someone had thought he might be a threat, that is when you know the system is broken. That’s when I began to feel deeply, deeply, dissatisfied.

“Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the fires of justice. Let us be dissatisfied until they who live on the outskirts of Hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heap of history and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home. Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into the bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

I believe that Dr. King would also find himself deeply dissatisfied at the progress we have made in this country, or lack thereof. I do not think this is the future America he dreamed of. We have the illusion of progress but not real progress. Or maybe we have taken a few steps forward in some ways and slid back in others. Or maybe it’s that there is just so much hate left in the world that real progress cannot be made. I’m not sure what our excuse is but I am sure we are still far behind where we could or should be. I know that we have gotten far off course and that we must begin to make things right.

In case you aren’t already, here are a few statistics that should make you feel dissatisfied too:

  • Black students accounted for 18 percent of the country’s pre-K enrollment, but made up 48 percent of preschoolers with multiple out-of-school suspensions. Preschoolers! [source]
  • Black students were expelled at three times the rate of white students. [source]
  • Black girls were suspended at higher rates than all other girls and most boys. [source]
  • Nearly half of the nation’s Black students attend high schools in low-income areas with dropout rates that hover in the 40-50% range. [source]
  • 24.7% of all African-American live in poverty in comparison to 8.6% of all non-Hispanic White, 11.8% of all Asian-American and 23.2% of all Hispanic. [source]
  • The racial composition of the US prison and jail population as of 2008 was 60.21% (African American (non-Hispanic), 20.29% Hispanic, 13.44% White American (non-Hispanic) , and 6.06% Other (American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander American, and Multiracial American). [source]
  • Blacks, age 15 to 19, are killed by police at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police. [source]

Reading all that how can we all not feel dissatisfied? I don’t think any of us want to live in a world where the above statistics are true. The above statistics aren’t even some of the worst of it. The statistics regarding black women specifically are even more grim. We all should be ashamed of ourselves, and we should all understand why there is so much frustration coming from minorities and people of color. No one ever said life was fair, but there are some people for whom society is unfairly unfair.

I don’t pretend to know how to fix any of this. The issues seem more complicated than I alone could find a solution to. I do know that the way to begin is simple enough. We must all do two things, for one we must learn to feel more empathy for our fellow human beings. We are all so alike and yet we imagine everyone else is an “other”. We refuse to listen to each other and call the “other” lazy, stupid, not a real part of the America we imagine. When we do this we are wrong. There is no “other”, there is only all of us and we are in this alone, and together, and we have to begin to give a shit about each other!

Secondly, we all have to speak up! Whether an issue concerns you or not doesn’t matter, you know injustice when you see it. Don’t pretend, don’t hide, don’t say it’s not your responsibility or place, speak up! Stop hearing the news and then going about your day as if people all over aren’t beig killed or jailed unjustly. Stop acting like you don’t know there are children homeless and starving and going to shitty schools that will just about guarantee they continue to be homeless and starving their whole lives. Or until they are jailed or killed unjustly.

That’s all it takes to start. That’s all we all have to do. Be nice to each other, think of one another, and speak up when something is wrong. We could all make a lot of change with just those two actions. I think then I, and the Martin Luther King that lives in us all, might find ourselves a little more satisfied with this world.