By Norris Burkes, Jan 8 2023

If you’ve already busted your top three New Year’s Resolutions – which likely involved the overextension of your waistline, credit line or simply too much wine — I have a suggestion to bring your goals back on track.

To achieve those goals, you may need to forget about them.

OK, don’t entirely forget, but instead, consider refocusing your efforts on making a small step forward.

The strategy is what I call the power of “Little Bit More,” LBM for short. LBM is making small regular improvements to achieve big changes over an extended period of time.

It’s a principle I learned from Toby, or “T-Dog,” as I liked to call him. Our pup was 26 pounds of mixed Lhasa Apso and Jack Russell sporting a Benji-dog haircut when he came up with the idea. 

During his short life, he taught me the power of LBM.

Toby was always pushing me to do a little more. Starting with a sniffing exploration of our cul-de-sac, he pulled me farther into a nearby park and eventually onto the jogging trail.

As Toby grew, my 37-inch waist shrank. Four months later, I earned my first superior score on my Air Force fitness test.

At four miles, Toby was at his running limit. So I’d often circle back home, drop him off with a fresh bowl of water and press on for a few more miles.

Eventually, I stretched my routine into a weekly six-mile run, shaving yet another inch off my waist.

One day, I returned home to announce I’d be registering for a half-marathon.

Toby just stared up at me from beside his empty food dish and allowed my wife to speak for him.

“Are you crazy?”

“I don’t know.” But I quickly added, “I know only that last week I ran six miles and this week I’m doing a ‘little bit more.’”

As the days passed, six miles turned into seven miles and then … ten.

Months later, I crossed the finish line of the 13-mile race, resolving right then and there, to never do that again. I was totally spent.

Still, Toby had me wondering what might be possible if a person was willing to do just a little bit more than the previous day. And a little bit more after that. Maybe “impossible” was just an arbitrary concept.

For a fitness routine, could we walk just one more block, hike one more trail, or even eat one less donut?

Toward a resolution to be a better person, might we add one more minute to daily meditation? Or another day of volunteering? Or just another hour to write an encouraging note.

What would it be like if we learned the name of one more neighbor? Got acquainted with one more co-worker or one more churchgoer? Then after that, another.

Or what might happen if we added another five dollars to our monthly charitable contributions and then another five dollars each month after that?

You see where I’m going here? There’s power in Toby’s little-bit-more formula.

If ever I’ve seen the power of giving a little more, it’s been with Chispa Project. The charity was started by my daughter, Sara, to establish libraries in Honduran elementary schools. She began in 2016 by delivering books on a motorcycle. Now, seven years later, she’s done a little bit more to give Chispa six employees with 76 libraries established.

If you are among those who have given to Chispa these past years, I thank you from my heart. But with the impact of global inflation on Honduras’s shaky economy, I ask you to consider a little more. A 10% increase in monthly donations would help Chispa achieve a slight edge on inflation.

I also thank those of you who generously make occasional gifts. This might be the time to consider converting that “occasional” into a regular, modest monthly donation. These steady contributions allow better planning for the coming year.

By the way, I admit that I broke that last resolution to quit running. I kept it up until I finished two full marathons. I’m still running about ten miles a week. Some resolutions are worth breaking.


Chispa donations can be made at

or write check to “Chispa Project” and mail to: 10556 Combie Rd. Suite 6643 Auburn, CA 95602.  Read past columns at Send comments to or via voicemail (843) 608-9715.