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Anna Maria De Guid learned that "little by little" is more than just a means to reach our lofty goals.

I couldn’t twist the cap off my favorite orange spread. I would tap the jar lid, put it under hot water, and painstakingly try to twist the lid off. After a few days, I heard a click, and the top came off.

I learned that if I open a stubborn marmalade bottle little by little, it will eventually give in, and I can finally enjoy my favorite spread.

That was a eureka moment! So whenever I had a problem, whether opening bottles or something else, I always remind myself of the motto: Little by little does the trick.

I followed the mantra to overcome my procrastination to starting challenging work. I tell myself I will do a little part and get back to it another time, little by little, until I finish the job. It could be tackling an entire room of unsorted and unwashed clothes. Or a sink full of soiled dishes. Or a pile of bills I have to pay.

It has helped me with diet and exercise. Instead of saying that I will have my extra dessert today and start a new day tomorrow, I began to tell myself, “There is tomorrow to have the extra serving of cheesecake.” Instead of starting with a goal to walk an hour a day, I start with 20 minutes.


Little by little does the trick: but it can also work against us. #catholicmom

This strategy also helped me find pockets of time to pray. When praying the entire Rosary seems daunting at times, I pray a decade whenever I take a break.

It worked wonders for me!

Until I realized that this motto is really a two-edged sword! It can work for or against me.

I can find myself slowly falling into giving excuses for skipping morning or evening prayers, for blessings before meals, or missing a couple of Sunday Masses. I can slowly slip into watching more YouTube, Netflix, HBO, or any other movies and shows that do not nourish my spirit. Or I can also have a little more each day of the cheesecake in the refrigerator. And many other more dangerous things that one can fall into little by little. Like drugs. Like gambling. Like drinking.

The "little by little" mantra is a wonderful means by which we can reach our lofty goals, especially those that can bring us closer to God. But we have to be wary of the darker side it can bring us to if we are not conscious of its powerful but subtle ways.

jars of orange marmalade with handcrafted lids and tags on tray with citrus slices

Copyright 2021 Anna Maria De Guid
Image: Pixabay (2016)