How not to be a spasmodic Hercules

“Mom? Has it been 10 minutes yet?”

“No, son, it’s only been 3 minutes. Keep practicing…”

10 Minutes A Day…

He’s nine and he plays the cello. If he’s anything like his older sisters, he’ll soon fall in love with his stringed instrument and lose himself for an hour or more in the music. But, for now, the seconds pass like years and he loses himself in the music for all of 180 seconds.

My daughters started the same way. 10 minutes day, but it’s been years now.

How not to be a spasmodic herculesIt baffles my mind how those 10 minutes a day somehow transform my children into keepers of beautiful music. Just 10 minutes a day and now the notes that resonate in our home each evening soothe this savage mama beast.

There is something shockingly powerful about faithfulness. We often overlook it in our society of reality television shows filled with overnight transformations.

Spasmodic Hercules

But 19th century author Anthony Trollope said it best…“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”

If that isn’t the best phrase ever, I don’t know what is.

Spasmodic Hercules. I know exactly what that is.

It’s me with my New Years Resolutions. It’s me when I’ve had enough with the mess in my home and I clean from top to bottom in a day only to ignore it for a month. It’s me when my clothes don’t fit like I want them to and I decide I’ll run all the miles all the days…until I’ve had enough and hang up my running shoes for a year.

I am a spasmodic Hercules.

But I’ve been working on faithfulness because I’ve seen it’s power to transform. It’s not glamorous or sensational, but it always, always brings change.

How not to be a spasmodic Hercules

The Power of Persistence

“A river cuts through rock, not because of it’s power, but because of it’s persistence.” – Jim Rohn

I’ve seen how tiny drops of water, flowing together, forge a canyon.

I’ve seen how simple faithful practice transforms children into athletes and musicians. I’ve seen how the faithful love of a husband chips away at the stubborn heart of a wife.

I’ve seen how the faithful instruction of a teacher fans into flame a student’s passion for knowledge. I’ve seen how faithful investment into a friendship builds an unbreakable bond.

Small Beginnings

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zech 4:10

My friend, wherever you may find yourself today, whatever lack you may feel or whatever mountain you may be facing, do not despise these small beginnings.

  • Take that seemingly small step toward a healthier life.
  • Say that single prayer for your marriage every morning.
  • Clean that one room each day.
  • Read those 3 pages before bed.
  • Play that 1 song on the instrument you long ago laid down.
  • Write those few lines in your morning journal.
  • Take that one class toward your degree.
  • Go for that evening walk, even if it’s just to the mailbox.
  • Invite that new friend to coffee on Fridays.

Unbreakable Change

Your small faithful investment brings with it the power of compound interest, so don’t be distracted or discouraged by those overnight transformations – those spasmodic Hercules.

You just keep doing what you do every day and watch those daily tasks bring unshakeable and unbreakable change.






Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Deborah

    I needed this.

  2. Melanie

    That is a great phrase. Thanks for the encouragement not to be a Spasmodic Hercules which is so easy to do.

  3. Adrianne | The Shelton House

    This is another well-placed lesson in something God has been persistently teaching me. I have no patience. “It’ll happen right now, or probably never.”This has been my subconcious mindset. This post fed my would today.

  4. priest's wife @byzcathwife

    we have always had a hard time with consistency- this is inspirational!

  5. Beth

    Thank you for your encouraging words. I have had many times when I felt I had to make a big change and ended up doing nothing. It is good to be reminded that small steps can lead to big things.

  6. Carrie Willard

    I have always loved that Trollope quote! I have been working on harnessing the power of habits in my daily life for several years. A few examples:
    – I’ve managed to teach myself a little French by using the DuoLingo app on my phone a few minutes a day
    – I have a blog with over 2,000 posts, because I write a little every day
    – Keeping a daily food journal, I believe, has had much to do with my maintaining my ideal weight despite having had 7 kids

    Small actions repeated with great frequency are powerful.

  7. Tiffany

    I needed this! Just finished this & the small victories post & they are what my soul needed to hear. I’m very much an “all or nothing” girl, & have been in a place of -lets sell everything & move to the other side of the world cuz I need change. Not even doable in the least! So this has reminded me to be mindful & grateful {& to fix what I really need to work on first, before uprooting hehe}

  8. Adam

    Kat, how right you are about these running shoes as I also used to have them. And it took me quite a long period of time to discard this habit. And this is where I started to feel the life flow. I put an effort to build my personal planning system as well, using both paper and digital tools. By the way, yesterday I was tweeted by the They seem to have an interesting idea of moving towards personal productivity. I’m gonna try it!

  9. Kim

    Well said, done good. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Kelsi


  11. Torrie

    This was a big lesson I learned a few years ago, but which I keep learning over and over again with each new thing I apply it to. Lately, for this year, it’s been about my photography skills. Before, I would pull out my camera a couple times a week when something significant was going on, and I sloooowly started seeing improvement over several months. Since my daughter was born last year, I’ve been taking a picture of her every single day, and it is astounding to me how much it has shaped my eye and my abilities. I can’t wait to see where it takes me in a year or in three years!

  12. Charissa

    Love this!! Such a fan of doing things for 10 minutes a day! Shared this post on my blog today:)

  13. Annette Silveira

    I’m happy to read this since I’m needing to start my own small-stepping toward some goals I haven’t been meeting lately. Thank you for playing a role in getting me a little further down the road.

  14. Linda

    Thanks so much, this spoke to my heart. I needed that.

  15. Theresa Boedeker

    Thanks, this makes life much more manageable.

  16. Donz

    Aaaaaamen! You used one of my favourite quotes which summed it all up: “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”

    For those who are marking time- quick march! All things are possible 🙂

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