Words…To Live By


If you let up your effort for a day, you will pay. There are just things you have to do every day for yourself, so that you are always doing the work you need to do to move forward. It is so easy to slip back into bad habits–after all they are habits.

It began on Monday, when we ate a wonderful meal, planned days in advance. We entertained guests for dinner and we all watched a movie until past bedtime. After our company left the sky opened up and our weather featured trees breaking, fourth of july lightning and thunder, torrential rain and the tornado sirens going off for about a half hour. Pretty exciting sendoff to bed, and it totally got us off our game. By that I mean that we never considered what we should be planning for Tuesday’s main meal of the day.

Tuesday morning came and there is all of the excitement of the weather the night before on the news, breakfast to make, get ready for work and start the day. You see, Tuesday was a day that neither one of us would be home and able to do anything about getting ready for mealtime. Tuesday we both got home AT mealtime. Now we are at the mercy of the local eateries.

We picked Cheddar’s, a restaurant chain out of Texas that we first visited last week (in similar circumstances). Ordering at a new place is always a bit of a crap shoot, since you don’t really know what you will be getting until it shows up at the table. Last week I got catfish, and I was really happy with it and yesterday I decided on baby back ribs. I felt like I had to get the ribs, because I was thinking about having leftovers available to me for lunch today. You see how far not thinking on Monday is taking me now? I am affecting meals for the next several days. The ribs were fall off the bone done, but they were also covered in a thick red syrup of sauce. I ate two bones last night and it was as sweet as ice cream.

Now it is Wednesday and I have enough ribs here to last me today and tomorrow for lunch, but they have enough sugar in them to last me through the holiday weekend! This would never have happened to me if I had thought about Tuesday’s meal on Monday like I am trying to do from now on.

Last night we thought about dinner tonight. We now have a plan that involves real food cooked by us. We did the work necessary to keep us out of the weeds for another day. We will once again get back into the track that we are trying to make a good new habit to replace the bad old habit of thinking about dinner at dinner time.

This is what Admiral McRaven said in his famous commencement speech that I linked to above:

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

Like I have been saying these past several weeks, if you want to change your life, you have to make one small change at a time. The little things really do matter, they have all the influence of a vital moment in your future. If I want good habits, I have to think about it all the time until they ARE habits.

About dcarmack

I am an instrument technician at the electric utility servicing the Kansas City Missouri metropolitan area. I am in the IBEW, Local 412. I was trained to be a nuclear power plant operator in the USN and served on submarines. I am a Democrat, even more so than those serving in Congress or the White House.
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2 Responses to Words…To Live By

  1. What an inspiring speech on that video. Thank you for sharing. I love Americans, they are always so positive and ready to go! 🙂


    • dcarmack says:

      I was looking for any reason to link to it. I first read the transcript and lived that. I was overjoyed to find the video. I found it to be so applicable to trying to change one’s life for the better.


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