I was reading tonight in Fast Company magazine about people who struggle with cleaning. It's not that they don't want to clean, but that they don't get around to it. And so the piles stay piles and the dirt gets darker and dustier.

The article went on to share about a technique many are being encouraged to try. The person sets an egg timer for five minutes, and during those five minutes they are challenged to give their best burst into the activity until the timer goes off. In this way there is a sense of success, and a natural, guilt-free momentum to continue if you so desire. In many cases, the room/area gets cleaned because the real hurdle wasn't the dirt...

it was the person's own lack of inertia.

This technique has been tried in other ways, too. One woman hated exercising but ended up losing 30 pounds because her doctor told her to march for one minute in front of the TV whenever she turned it on. She thought it was easy and kept it up, all the way to 30 pounds. There are stories of athletes who have achieved such stretchy goals because they played these little mental games to motivate themselves to the next level.

I struggle with this kind of stuff, too. I am by no means a mechanical, structured guy but I do see the need for it in my life. Most notably, I have found some little tricks to help me grow as a Christian and a leader in the area of prayer:
  • Once a day, I cycle through my cell phone and pray, "God, who do you want me to call today?" Some of those conversations rock my world - as if they were God-ordained (because in many ways they were).

  • When I'm on Facebook, whenever I see a status update on someone I pray for them... sometimes short, sometimes long, usually medium.

  • If I'm in the gym, I will pause for several minutes and pray for the people around me. I first did this last month and it was amazing how quickly something natural became supernatural.

In addition, I do pray before my meals and night time with my wife. But all in all I really do enjoy these everyday ways to engage the Kingdom of God. I find that it helps me when that tough conversation with someone needs to happen, for in some small way I've prepared for it.

We all need these bite-sized steps to grow into whatever God has put together for our lives. In fact, in doing them we just may better understand what our lives are designed for to begin with.

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