Making a fire

Have you ever made a fire? Starting any new good habit is a lot like starting a fire. I don’t mean starting a fire with a fire log and a lighter. I mean starting a fire from scratch.

You have to gather together all the wood, kindling, and your matches. If you are really roughing it, you’ll use a flint. You have to have all the ingredients ready and nearby. Then you have to spend a lot of time getting it started. You’ll have a lot of failures, and maybe a lot of blisters. With a lot of hard work, you’ll have a fire too.

Then you have to keep it going. You have to pay attention to it – feeding it just enough wood at the right time. You can’t put in too much – that will smother the flame. If you put in too little, it will go out.

Starting a new habit or project that is meaningful is exactly the same way. You have to prepare before you even start. You have to work on it every day to get it going. You’ll have a lot of failures along the way, and it may not seem like it will ever get going. If you try to do too much at once, you’ll stall your project just the same as if you put too much wood on the fire. If you get too excited about how you’ve started, you’ll forget that you need to keep feeding the fire to keep it going.