You can keep going.

(This is part of a series on making choices about learning. It was first published February 20, 2013)

Many of my friends are making changes in their lives right now. That might include you. The change may have started because of Lent or wanting to learn a new routine, or may be the remnants of a New Year’s resolution. You may be in your last semester of college or finishing your first year on a new job. You may have made a major change in your family or in the spiritual part of your life.

And now, a week or a year or a decade in, you are wondering whether it’s working. And you are feeling, some of you anyway, like you are failing.

I know that feeling. To be a bit vulnerable, I know that feeling many days. Having made a commitment, taken a step, said “But this one thing I do“, I find my steps wandering, my plans for good being forgotten.

So here are four things I remind others of, and sometimes remember myself.

Review: Go back to the commitment. Remember why it mattered then. And still does.

Rejoice: Honestly identify the good steps that have happened. Five pounds isn’t ten, but it is five. Three days out of the last seven isn’t seven, but it’s three more than the previous week. Having a plan and starting to learn how to work it is ahead of no plan.

Repent: Acknowledge what hasn’t worked, and own the responsibility. But not as a failure, as a learner. Although I regularly describe myself as an idiot, I know I am not. I am, however, learning how to be less foolish, more obedient.

Renew: Make the commitment again, this time with the knowledge of what didn’t work the last time and what did work to give you the five pounds and three days and first draft of the plan.

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