November 20, 2022. Ask a question

Last week at work, I had a misunderstanding with a colleague. After a few days of stewing, I finally decided to ask why this particular issue was happening. It was so insightful. There was a deep history behind the decision that ultimately affected me.

A tiny question. A tiny clarification. In a few tiny moments, I understood. I felt better. I relaxed, accepted it, and moved on. So simple and so tiny.

So this week I encourage you to ask a question if you don’t understand something. It may be a really complex issue. It may have nothing to do with you. You may be the end result of a lot of other decisions. OR it MAY have something to do with you that you need to change. However, you cant feel better by avoiding it. Another colleague said (at lunch) nothing gets better with avoidance and she is right.

Thank you to my 96 followers! My new book is available on Amazon under Jessica Riley Beebe. The kindle version just launched a few days ago!

Get your copy of Tiny Actions Big Results today!

November 13, 2022. Be kind-it is a little thing that can make a big difference.

Kindness is a tiny action. Its baking a potpie for a neighbor who has been traveling. Its picking up some groceries for you wife while she is on her way home. Its complimenting someone on a new hairdo, car, outfit. Its writing an Amazon review for a book or product that you enjoyed. Its saying “thank you” or “I’m sorry” to someone.

Kindness is one of the original tiny actions. It is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of life-especially in the holiday season where everyone seems to be rushing around.

So as we approach the holidays, I challenge all of you (myself included) to find tiny ways to be kind to others. It doesn’t have to cost money. It doesn’t have to be planned out. It just needs to come from your heart. Making others smile should be one of our biggest goals every day.

To my 96 followers-THANK YOU! To everyone that is following me because of my new book-THANK YOU! The ebook should be on Amazon by tomorrow! Have a great week! Stay tiny.

October 30,2022 Maintenance is just as important as tiny steps

When working on achieving a goal, most of us want to make progress at it every day. We tend to become impatient and want things RIGHT NOW (Hello, Amazon!) However, maintaining progress is just as important so that we make keep charging ahead when we are able. We don’t want to wind up completely back at the start and lose all of our hard work!

I had a step goal of 10000 steps by November 6, 2022. I am holding steady at an average of 9000 steps per day. I could beat myself up and be discouraged. Instead, I am choosing to look at where I came from (7000 steps a day) and realize that I have held this number for a few weeks now. (I have even made it to 11000 on a couple days!) So, I am going to focus on maintaining it (I would try to increase it but right now, 9000 feels difficult for me so I want to wait until it feels a bit easier).

This maintenance is important. It is important to stay here and not slide back to 7000. or even 8000. It is important to not lose all of the hard work I have been putting in and the progress I have made.

A burst I have been working on is “no candy, sweets or desserts until Halloween.” Well, Halloween is tomorrow and I feel kind of “meh” about indulging in sweets tomorrow. I have felt pretty good the last 20 days and I am not sure that I want that to go away. There have been tempting moments but overall, it hasn’t been too bad. So, I may pick a day to indulge (Thursday night cheesecake factory) and then wait again until Thanksgiving.

Also, I may reduce how much bread I am eating. I am not ready to go full keto ( I love bread and missed it so much during my keto diet time). However, my husband suggested that maybe I could cut down how much I eat. So this week I will count all the pieces of bread I eat (chips and tortilla shells count) to evaluate where I should place my goal using tiny steps. For example, if I am eating 5 pieces a day, I will not reduce it down to zero but maybe reduce it to 3 instead? I will keep you posted on this.

To my 90 followers, THANK YOU! Have a great week!

October 23, 2022. You should have people over to your house every once in a while…

I am an introvert. The longer I am on this earth, the more I am convinced of this fact. It does not mean that I hate people. Instead it means that I need time away from people to get my energy back. My husband is the opposite. He LOVES being around people and that is what energizes him.

Being married involves compromise and my husband would love to have people at our house every night and every weekend, celebrating something. I would rather just have the quiet. So in true compromising fashion, he winds up going to the houses of other people sometimes and other times we have people to our house.

Today is one of the days we are having people over. It is an NFL Sunday and we live in Michigan. People are coming over for the Detroit Lions game. They are eating, drinking, and having fun. I have been cleaning for over an hour. So has he. Normally, our house is very tidy but little things can tend to get away from you sometimes. When you have people over, you see your house with fresh eyes. Here are some examples.

The coffee grounds around the coffee maker. (They don’t bother me, but it looks dirty)

The kitchen sink is uncluttered but could be wiped down.

The stove has come crusty bits on it from a pot that boiled over.

The mirror in the bathroom needs cleaned.

The kitchen rug could use a vacuum.

The crockpot (which is clean) needs to be put away.

Little things that don’t bother my husband and I but need to be attended to before we have company. Some of you might argue that if they are truly our friends, they won’t care. That is true. I don’t think they would care, but I care. And the house looks a lot cleaner all of the sudden with just these few items being taken care of.

So suck it up and have some people every now and then. Your house will thank you!

Thank you to my 90 followers! Hope you have a happy and healthy week!

Oct 16, 2022 The problem with tiny actions

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I praise the “tiny steps, habits, actions” way of accomplishing goals and tasks.

So what is the problem? When you think that something is so tiny, you sometimes stop doing it. I haven’t felt well this week (school crud that everyone has), so I haven’t attended to all the little steps that I talk about. And here is what happened.

My sink is full of dishes.

The laundry is washed and dried but just sitting on top of the dryer.

I found a chair to put clothes on that need to be hung up and now they have filled the chair.

The dining table is covered in stuff.

The coffee table is covered in stuff.

My bathroom has stuff all over the counter.

My suitcase from the weekend is still packed.

I have shoes in every room that need to be returned to the closet.

So I started working on the house this morning when I woke up and in 30 minutes, I am still no where near done with picking up all of these areas. The sink is full of even more dishes because I made beef stew. The laundry is now on our bed but there is more that is washing as I type. The clothes still need to be hung. The dining table is halfway cleared. The coffee table is cleared and the shoes are returned to the closet. The suitcase is unpacked.

It feels overwhelming. It makes me grumpy. THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I CAME UP WITH MY SYSTEM IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!! Instead of resting today, I feel as though I have a lot to do to get the house ready for the week. This week I will put the tiny little systems back into place and get things back on track.

To my 90 followers-THANK YOU! What tiny little actions do you focus on to keep your life together?

My book is still being edited (it is taking longer than I thought) but I will put the link here as soon as I have it!

February 13-2022 Yesterday was a “burst” day-cleaned out 4 bins of papers and miscellaneous items.

I have been talking about the tiny steps and am currently working on a book that will have them laid out by sections instead of randomly like this. The blog is more for how I am “doing” and to show the actual day to day process of change and how hard it is for people.

For example, I only worked out 3 times this week despite getting a brand new treadmill.

I ate pretty well at the start of the week and then had some major slip-ups toward the weekend.

Money wise I am on track and actually hit a big goal amount for the Olympics that we are attending in two years (yes, I will keep saving because who knows what the world will look like in 2 years)

Work wise I have been doing a good job of keeping up with email, grading, planning, meetings, teaching, etc…

I am studying French and am currently managing a 49 day streak on Duolingo right now.

So all in all, pretty good. So what is a “burst” day

Its a day where you feel like tackling more of a goal but all it is is a temporary burst in time/energy/motivation/etc… YOU CAN NOT think that this is your new normal. Here’s what I mean.

Since we moved into our new house, I have used one bedroom as the office and it is where we store important papers/documents/etc… I have just been throwing everything into a laundry basket in there and not sorting or filing it. I figured I would get to it one of these days and one of my small steps of house management was to make sure that the dinner table was clear each night and that we had a place for mail and other things to go. I succeeded. Yesterday, my husband ran an all day wrestling tournament and I stayed home to rest. I found myself sitting in front of the TV and realized it would be a good time to sort out the giant basket of mail(tax time is coming up). Not only did I sort through an entire laundry basket of papers, I managed to sort through 3 other sacks that had miscellaneous objects in them. It was awesome. So awesome that I thought…”Ill do more tomorrow.” Well tomorrow has arrived and I haven’t done a single thing. This is where I have to call yesterday for what it was-it was a burst and it was great but it is over until the next time. Today, I simply focused on having a cleared off dining table and I succeeded.

And yet the laundry is almost done, the dishes are done, dinner is in the crockpot so the tiny steps are still at work for those things as well.

So what can you learn from this-some days are bursts and some days are tiny steps. You CAN NOT confuse the two or get mad. As soon as you learn this, you will feel better and be more productive.

THANK YOU SO MUCH to my 71 followers! AMAZEBALLS! You keep me on my tiny journey and I am so thankful.

Jan 30, 2022-some days (or weeks) will just be bad ones

This week, I fell. We got almost a foot of snow on Monday while I was at school and as I was walking to my car, I fell. I am fine, but that one small thing basically threw off the rest of the week. How you may ask?

Well, for starters, I was sore. I fell onto my left side and it kind of jostled everything in my body. Each day when I woke up, I could feel a different part of my body reacting to the fall. Everything was just jostled. So I thought I should not do the elliptical until my body felt better. Today is finally that day (6 days later)

Then, Tuesday-Friday nights were busy with appointments, classes, basketball games after school. Every single day after school. My husband and I like to call this the “night shift” of our jobs. No disrespect to actual night shift workers but when you are at school from 6:45am until 3:45 pm and then you start another part of your job that goes from 4-10…it feels like 2nd shift.

On top of all that, my husband ran a 12 hour wrestling tournament yesterday and I spent the day studying for a French exam that I am taking 6 days from now. So we didn’t really have a Saturday either. And because of these things, even “tiny tips” weren’t helping-laundry and dishes weren’t done. Working out wasn’t done. Eating out happened instead of cooking at home.

It has been kind of a “just survive week” and you know what-its ok. At first I was super frustrated that we had dishes in the sink , bills to pay on the table, laundry in the hamper. I kept thinking to myself-just do a little and even that seemed overwhelming, so I just left everything. But then, something magical happened…I washed the coffee cups while my coffee was brewing. I threw in a load of laundry while I took a study break. I paid a bill while I was waiting for my husband to bring home takeout. And slowly but surely, things started to get done.

So embrace the bad days (or weeks). Call them what they are (survival) and start again. Start small. Henry David Thoreau says “One is enough” and I always thought he meant that owning one of something was enough. Now I am thinking that he also meant that doing one thing is enough. Just do one. Wash one cup. Pay one bill. Do one load of laundry. Wipe down one sink. Just one. Until you can do ANOTHER “one.”

Here’s to a great week for me and a great week for my 69 subscribers! KEEP GOING ONE TINY STEP AT A TIME!!!!!!!!!

January 22, 2022 -two tiny tips to help you this week

Here are two little tips I used this week.

Just do one minute

(This was a journal entry from one of my days this week)

Jan 18

So how did I start my morning? well I have been up since about 415 and tried to go back to sleep until 5 AM. Then I decided to get up and have a cup of coffee in my coffee maker It used water it already had in it and overflowed my coffee cup. Also that made my coffee very weak. I did not want to work out at all because my head hurts and I just didn’t want to do it. However I did tell myself that if I could just do one minute I would do the other 19 minutes when I get home from school today I just had to do one minute. So then I got on my elliptical and kept going and was looking for a book to read and before I knew it I had done seven minutes and I couldn’t believe it. So I kept going because might as well and when I got to 20 minutes I actually added a minute and a half because I felt pretty good I can’t believe it I’m still in awe.

I’m thinking that one of the most valuable rules is going to be the just give it one minute.

one minute of studying

one minute of cleaning

one minute of working out

one minute of doing your taxes (this might be a little harder)

Whatever it is, do it for one minute and then promise yourself to obey yourself so after that one minute you can stop and you have succeeded. Now eventually you will need to do more than one minute to get things done but let’s not talk about that right now. The goal is to just get us to the place. For example the tiny step is just to get us to the elliptical machine. You might surprise yourself.

Never leave a room empty handed

I saw this tip on a website somewhere about how to keep your house clean and picked up. Every time you get up from your chair, bed, dinner table, etc…take something with you that belongs in another room and put it in that room.

For example, when I get up to use the restroom and I pass by the kitchen, I take my water glass to the sink on the way. When I get out of my car each day, I take something with me that belongs in the house (sweatshirt, travel mug, papers, mail, change from my cup holder, etc…)

When I head downstairs to feed the cats, I take down a box that needs to be stored. When I come back upstairs, I bring a laundry basket full of clothes.

It seems to keep the clutter at bay.

Heres to a good week-make every day better than the last! And to my 69 followers THANK YOU!!!!!!!

August 3-tiny steps of exercise

I am a high school English teacher. Teaching, despite what people think, is sometimes a very physically demanding job (on your feet all day). A lot of teachers get out of shape during the summer. I don’t think I am out of shape, but I am definitely not in “ready form” to begin school. School meetings start in 20 days. Starting today, I am doing the elliptical for one MORE minute each day so that 20 days from now, I am exercising for 20 minutes.

I am typing this after completing my one minute today. Tomorrow, I will do two minutes. The next day, three minutes and so on. This may seem silly to you and I won’t lie, it felt silly right now to complete the minute and then getting off the elliptical because I was “done for the day.” However, that is the secret sauce of tiny steps.

Today felt easy. I am motivated, not discouraged, to exercise again tomorrow. Could I have done more? Absolutely. But I have done that before (especially around Jan 1, wink wink) You have too, I know it. You get excited and motivated. You join a gym. You buy new sneakers or a fitness monitor. You workout and feel good and then the next day (or day after) you are sore so you push your workout to Wednesday. And then your kid gets sick so you don’t exercise the next day. Now, its Friday-because we ALWAYS start on a Monday! And its Friday, so you sleep a little later and have a donut at work and someone brought you a coffee and you are going out after work for drinks with your colleagues. Then its Saturday and Sunday and you are right back where you started. You had the best of intentions but life got in the way.

Here is where the tiny steps come in-I am not going to let life get in the way. I can do one minute. And tomorrow I can do two. No matter what. And I keep going until I feel like I can’t do anymore. Maybe its 20? Maybe its 30? Maybe 45? I don’t know. What I do know is that I will keep increasing the minutes until I feel like I “can’t.” And if that is only 15 minutes a day? Then it is 15 minutes more than I have previously been doing so that is good! I will be more ready for school this year than if I had done nothing, and that is the point. I will keep you posted on my progress!

Thank you to my 54 followers! Each morning on the elliptical, I will think of you. Keep it tiny!

August 2-tiny changes can make a BIG difference

I am sure you have heard the above phrase and have maybe even considered it. However, like most people you think that it is crazy and you blow it off. Well, I am here to tell you that you can’t blow off this statement.

Last night, I cleaned the fascia of our house. I am not sure if that is exactly the right word for it, but we are having gutters installed in the next week or so and I thought I would clean the little trim piece of the house that is right above the gutters and below the roof.

WOW. I mean wow. It looks SO much better. To the unsuspecting eye, I am sure it looks like nothing. To me, it looks like accomplishment, hard work, cleanliness and pride in home ownership. It may seem silly that cleaning that little piece of my house could do so much, but it really did. It was a tiny little change that makes me super proud. We got a W today.

In sports, getting a W means that you got a win. This clean part of trim is a win. We also (my husband mostly) built a fire pit yesterday. How can a simple metal ring with some pavers around it make you feel? AMAZING. Another win! These are not huge changes to the house. Yes, they required some sweat and hard work and a little bit of money. But they have both made a huge improvement to the house.

We bought a bit of a fixer upper house, something very new for us, and so we have been making small changes for the last 5 weeks. Similar to a person, a house needs love and this house had not gotten any love for quite some time. (Older owner, then mother with 5 kids), so we are putting the love back into it and just like a neglected child, there are good days and not so good days.

Today is a good day. Today is a W.

To my 52 followers, I hope you have a W today!