Nicole Phillips, Published January 04 2013
Kindness is Contagious: Doing one thing at a time
Every year, I resolve not to make a resolution. I find the New Year is a good time to sit back and give myself credit for the things I’m doing right instead of trying to fix all of my “problem areas.”
It’s kind of like a little gift I give to myself, “Hey Nicole, you’re doing a pretty good job of being you. Keep it up!”
This year, my whole plan got derailed thanks to my pesky sister-in-law. This Christmas she decided to shake things up a little bit. Instead of getting me some totally adorable notecards or a sarcastic plaque for my home that reads “Remember, as far as everyone knows we are a nice, normal family,” my sister-in-law got me a book.
The nerve, right?
In my hectic world of being mom, wife and writer, she actually expects me to read?
The book is called “100 Ways to Simplify Your Life.” It’s written by a Christian author and speaker named Joyce Meyer.
I’ve read other books by Joyce Meyer, and I especially love listening to her podcasts because I can do that at the gym while I’m running on the track.
So here we are a few days into January, and I’ve decided to make not one resolution, not two resolutions, but 100 resolutions.
I am clearly an all-or-nothing sort of person.
I opened the book with the great intention of knocking out one resolution a day. That means in 100 days, by April 10, I would have them all done and could go back to telling myself how great I am.
The problem is that these resolutions are hard. At least the first one is. I’m still stuck on No. 1: Do one thing at a time.
It sounds easy enough, until you really stop to think about how many things you do at once. For instance, I mentioned that I like to get my spiritual guidance from listening to podcasts while running at the gym. Did I mention I also like to check my email and return text messages at the gym?
Just last week, I scheduled a baby shower while I was there, too.
Those are all important things in my life, but perhaps they would all get done less frantically and with more excellence if I did them one at a time.
Don’t even ask me how many times I’ve sent an email but forgot to attach the attachment.
But the biggest thing I’ve learned about trying to do one thing at a time is that it provides so many more opportunities for kindness.
Returning phone calls while running my kids from school to swimming lessons doesn’t leave much time to ask my daughter about her day or find out if my son got to use the tire swing at recess.
When I’m not checking out at the grocery store with a phone to my ear, I can actually hear the clerk when she says my kids are cute. I can sincerely smile at the woman who just held the door for me, and I can return those small favors to others.
I have found more joy and energy in my life by simply focusing on the task at hand. I still have to remind myself many times a day to do just one thing at a time, but it’s getting easier, and at the end of the day, I feel a sense of accomplishment instead of feeling drained and exhausted.
I’ll have to send my sister-in-law a thank-you note. But not until I’m finished writing this column.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, and currently the Executive Director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.