Promises, promises, promises. As the Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) approaches I always find myself making promises. "I promise I will not get angry ever again!" "I will never eat sugar again!" "From now on my home is always going to be spick and span!" "I will not raise my voice." "I'm going to call my mother-in-law everyday just to say hello." "Mommy is going to make fresh bread daily!" Promises, promises, promises.

How is it that I got back to where I started, if not worse?The first week I actually fulfill my promises. I manage to control my temper, the floors of my home are so clean you could eat off of them, and I'm the perfect mother, daughter, wife, sister, boss, employee, you name it. The second week into my New Year's resolutions' promises is not so successful. I feel overwhelmed, overtired, and even resentful of my promises. I certainly don't feel like the perfect anything let alone the perfect mother, daughter, wife, sister, boss, or employee. What went wrong? How is it that I got back to where I started, if not worse? Now I even feel like a failure and don't want to do anything.

The Sages of the Talmud (Chaggigah) tells us that when a person tries to grab a lot, they end up with nothing, but when they try to grab a little, they end up grabbing it.

He (Abraham) lifted his eyes and saw: And behold! There men were standing before him. He saw, and he ran toward them from the entrance of the tent, and bowed toward the ground. And he said, 'My lords, if it please you that I find favor in Your eyes, please pass not from before Your servant. Let some water be brought, please, and wash your feet, and recline beneath tree. I will fetch a morsel of bread of bread that you may nourish your heart.' (Genesis 18:2-5)

Abraham told his guests that he was going to bring them a glass of water and some bread to eat. He didn't make them any big promises that he would bring them a glass of wine and a gourmet meal. His words were small, but his actions were big. He ran into his home and asked his wife Sarah to help him. They made cakes brought cream, milk and a lavish five-star meal to their guests. Say little, do a lot was Abraham's motto.

Now let me try to apply this to myself as the New Year gets closer and closer and as my desire to grow and improve pours forth from me. Let me take one thing that I realistically think I can try to accomplish. This year I am only going to select one negative character trait that I want to work on and focus on turning it into a positive one.

When a person tries to grab a lot, they end up with nothing, but when they try to grab a little, they end up grabbing itI look around my home. There's so much to do and so much that needs to get done. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. "Elana, choose one thing." I feel calmer.

Instead of the need to make baked goods every day, how about just once a week for the Holy Shabbat? Let me start off my exercising twice a week instead of telling myself that it has to be every day and instead of cutting out chocolate completely, what if I only eat a square a day? There are a million things that I want to change or make better.

My list is long. I'm not perfect. But I know that if I started telling myself that I need to fix everything, I'm not going to do anything and if I take one thing at a time my list will shrink as I actually get things done. Say little, do a lot. If you grab a lot, you will end up with nothing, but when you grab a little, you actually end up with something in your hands.