The Next Right Thing

Like Oprah, I’m no longer big on New Year’s resolutions.  And, c’mon… who doesn’t want to be like Oprah?

You can only dedicate yourself to the same (or similar) goal so many years before it becomes rote and trite.  Sure, I would like to lose weight and get into shape.  YES, I’d love to become more present and minimize my screen time.  OF COURSE, I’d like to be a better mom/wife/daughter/whatever…

I have found that dedicating myself to one huge goal rarely works.  Like any life change, it feels overwhelming and, even if I DO THE BIG THING, it can be very hard to maintain.

Instead, I like to re-visit the wise words spoken to me by a reproductive endocrinologist a few years ago.


As many know, after 12 years of infertility, I became miraculously, spontaneously pregnant (meaning no drugs, no medical interventions) early in 2015.  It was a brief whirlwind of profound joy that was brought to a devastating end by a miscarriage.

About three months later I was pregnant again.  I was also numb and terrified.  YES!  I’d LOVE to have a miracle baby!  But what about my chances for miscarriage again?  My list of “high risk” concerns filled an entire page.  My age.  Previous infertility.  Polycystic Ovaries.  Endometriosis.  Previous miscarriage.

When we finally saw the baby’s heartbeat for the first time at around 9 weeks, I confided in the doctor that I was terrified.  What could I do that would guarantee this little one would make it?

He looked me in the eyes and said, “There’s no secret to this.  It’s out of your control.”  As a person who gets high on control, I was gutted to hear this.

However.  The doctor then passed along to me some advice he’d been given by someone else.  “All you can do is the next right thing.”

Do the next right thing.  The ‘next right things’ in the context of my “miracle” pregnancy were taking my vitamins every day, monitoring my sugar and caffeine in-take, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and following every piece of advice my doctors gave me, to the letter.

Those simple words did more than just guide me through my pregnancy.  They became something I fall back on in all areas of my life.

Now, as I start 2017 with a goal (like many others) to get in better shape, I don’t commit myself 100% to a drastic diet or exercise plan that will be impossible to adhere to in the long term.  Instead, I look at my day and ask myself what, in the context of my goal, is “the next right thing?”

If I can resolve myself to do this each day, those choices can pile up to a miracle… sorta like the perfect little boy we gave birth to in early 2016.

I’ll leave you with one more quote to guide you through the early days of 2017.  These little choices can result in something that looks a lot like luck.  But luck isn’t luck…

Luck is the residue of design.
Branch Rickey



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