Put In The Big Rocks First!

In "First Things First," Stephen Covey tells a story that one of his associates heard at a seminar. The seminar presenter pulled out a wide-mouth gallon jar and placed it next to a pile of fist-sized rocks. After filling the jar to the top with rocks, he asked, "Is the jar full?"

The group replied, "Yes."

He then got some gravel from under the table and added it to the jar. The speaker jiggled the jar until the gravel filled the spaces between the rocks. Again, he asked, "Is the jar full?"

This time, the group replied, "Probably not."

The speaker then added some sand and asked, "Is the jar full?"

"No!" shouted the group.

Finally, the speaker filled the jar to the brim with water and asked the group the point of this illustration.

Someone replied that you could always fit more things into your life if "you really work at it."

"No," countered the speaker. The point is, if you don't put the big rocks in first, " . . . would you ever have gotten any of them in?"

As you start the new year, think of the "big rocks" in your life as the things you can do to make this a healthier and happier year for yourself and others.

Some big rocks might be:

  • exercising more often;
  • eating additional calcium foods;
  • trying some new vegetables;
  • getting more sleep;
  • starting to lift weights;
  • spending added time with family and friends;
  • doing volunteer work in your community;
  • reading inspirational literature.
Don't Just Think It, Ink It!
Write down some of the "big rocks" in your life.

As you make decisions during the moments, days and months of the year ahead, ask: "Is this a big rock?"


Quickie Quiz

Which activity looks like a big rock to you?

  1. Watching a rerun of a less-than-favorite TV show OR taking a walk with a friend or family member.
  2. Checking your e-mail every few minutes OR writing a letter of praise/thanks to a co-worker or friend.
  3. Giving your thumb a workout with the TV remote control OR lifting some heavier weights to benefit your total body.
  4. Spending your time "crawling the mall" OR enriching your cuisine by learning how to prepare a healthy vegetable.
  5. Doing that "one more thing" on a night you're extremely tired OR going to bed and getting a good night's sleep.
  6. Screaming at other drivers when you're stuck in heavy traffic OR putting a symphony on the tape player and thinking "life's too short to be uselessly angry."
  7. Trying to follow a "if it tastes good, spit it out" diet OR going on a treasure hunt for recipes for lower fat and calorie treats.
Don't Just Think It, Ink It!
List an activity(ies) for which you'll say "NO!"

As you make choices this year, say "yes" to your "big rocks" first. Don't feel you need to explain each "no" when the smaller gravel and sand try to fill your time. "No" can be a complete sentence!

Don't Just Think It, Ink It!
Write how and when you'll put these ideas into ACTION!


Credit : COOK IT QUICK!, University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County (www.lanco.unl.edu/food).