Step by Step

Three thousand, four hundred and fifty two.

That is the current number of steps illuminated on my Fitbit.

I appreciate the accomplishment of small things. I can’t make the world environmentally sound, but I can turn out the lights in my house and recycle some of my trash. I can’t bridge the divide between growing groups of political outliers, but I can be polite to people with whom I disagree and never engage in name-calling.

I can’t necessarily change your mind on any particular issue but I can still speak my own mind in a respectful manner. And when you speak I will, in turn, listen to you carefully.

These are small things.

I can broaden my sources of information, not only carefully reading opinions which demonstrate I am right in my thoughts and feelings, but also taking time to read thoughts and opinions that show I am wrong.

I have found this harder to do than I expected.

I now follow both the New York Times and Fox News.

I suspect these small actions only impact me. My Fitbit has taught me the importance of starting small and the necessity of incremental gains. I hope that if we each, in our own small incremental individual way, broaden our base of knowledge, behave respectfully, and talk politely we can become a more caring and inclusive society with each tiny step.

I can’t personally do anything about what seems to be a growing willingness to be entertained by violent images, mean speech and outrageous behavior, but this is one thing I am setting a small goal to personally change over the next month.

I will stop mentally rolling my eyes when having discussions with people with whom I disagree.

I will turn off the water while I am brushing my teeth instead of watching it run uselessly down the drain.

I will bring my cloth recycling bags to the supermarket each week.

I’m going to stop watching violence on television. In my quiet way I want to take my attention from being entertained by people hurting each other.

And I will stop eating ice cream.

Okay, so that last one was really personal, but still a small goal I can try to accomplish.

I think small steps are important.

I put my Fitbit on in the morning and it counts my steps. Often they are accrued moving around the house, putting in a load of laundry and talking on the phone.

Reaching the goal of 10,000 steps doesn’t always take one big effort.

Small efforts count too.

Rinsing the empty ketchup container and setting it aside to recycle. Giving a little bit here and there to charities. Being aware of the downside to making judgements about people based on a passing flimsy observance.

These are small actions. But I hope they can take me to larger goals.

Step by step.


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