Start, Stop, Continue

by Jermaine

Green Traffic Light

Photo by Brano Hudak

I started this year like I start a lot of years: excited, hopeful, slightly nervous, and inquisitive. I didn’t create a long list of things that I wanted to accomplish because history has proven that I’m lucky if I can stick with two or three new things at a time. Yet, I still was committed to making a plan. I knew this year would be a banner year for me. I was going to turn… gulp…. thirty. Yes, the big 3-0.

At twenty-one I laughed at thirty. I talked with arrogance about how much I would have accomplished at thirty. Nothing would be able to stand in my way.  Surely at thirty I should have a clear picture of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I should have started that dreaded retirement fund. I should have completed my first book. I should have those credit cards all paid off. I should have knocked out that master’s degree. I should have climbed to the second tier of the corporate ladder. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

I’ve learned that in some instances it is fruitless to try and plan life down to the day and hour. Instead start to work on the same model I’ve used in corporate praxis meetings: START, STOP, CONTINUE.


The list Frank gave yesterday was excellent. My list went something like this: Exercise more, eat better, continuing my education, take some additional training, become a better parent, become a better spouse, etc.


A straight-forward list which included: Stop eating fast food more than three times a week for lunch. Stop biting my fingernails when I’m nervous. Stop complaining about “little things.” Stop looking at the glass as half-empty.


Here is my nugget for the day. As one goes through life it is easy to think of all the things I should stop doing and even all the things I should start doing. The key in the midst of all of that goal-setting is to recognize what is working. Refocusing sometimes can cause a retraction of prior committments. I decided to keep telling my daughter bedtime stories. Don’t let that fall through the cracks. Keep serving diligently with the youth department at my church. Keep giving my job an honest days worth of work.

What are the things that you do that make you, you? What good things have others grown to depend on you for? If you love these things and know you’re meant to do these things then don’t stop doing them no matter what new challenges, opportunities, or situations arise.