Tonight I planned what might be the simplest spring garden in the history of spring gardens. All we’ll be attempting to grow is peas and cabbage. In years past, I’ve eagerly anticipated the growing season and purchased seeds and seedlings with abandon, which I then planted with visions of delicious vegetables dancing in my head. But my gardening, with the exception of my peas one year, has generally been a failure. I chalk it up to overwhelm, intimidation, and laziness.
This year, I’m changing tactics. Baby steps are the name of the game. My family loves peas, and I’ve had some reasonable success with them, so I’m filling most of the raised beds with peas. My experiment this year will be cabbage, at the request of my youngest daughter. I’ve already started a planting journal and begun researching planting, fertilizing, and tips for growing. By focusing all my attention and effort on two vegetables, I’m hoping to ensure more success than I’ve had in the past. Then maybe next year I will be able to expand my spring gardening horizons.
Much of my failure to achieve substantial goals in many areas of my life has been the result of trying to do too much too soon with too little knowledge. I rush through the process, trying to arrive at my destination without paying my dues. What I’ve finally learned is that I will fail every single time if I keep setting unreasonable goals. Successful goal-setting, for me, starts with being honest with myself. It’s difficult at times to admit I’m woefully lacking in the talent, self-discipline, knowledge, or resources I need to achieve a specific goal, but at least I know what I have to work with and I can set small goals from there.
In February, I found the courage to be honest with myself, to look inside and truly see who I am and what I’m currently capable of without judgment. I accepted what I found there, but I also chose to change my actions, a bit at a time, to become more aligned with the me I want to someday be.
If I could sum up one of the most important lessons I’ve learned this month in one sentence, it would be this: Lasting personal growth starts with unmitigated honesty.