What a Sweet Potato Taught Me about Overcoming Obstacles

Sweet Potato


I’ve made decisions that I thought were good for me but actually had the opposite effect of what I wanted. And the sweet potato taught me how to reverse that, how to overcome the obstacles I put in my own way.

You probably do the same thing without even noticing.

We have good intentions, of course.

See, I really like sweet potatoes, and I also like making small changes to improve my health. So when I was informed that the skin of a sweet potato houses much of its nutrients, I decided to eat the peeling anytime I had a baked sweet potato.

What a Sweet Potato Taught Me about Overcoming Obstacles

Would this be considered a Jesus Juke?

This was a small change I could implement for the rest of my life. One that would improve my health. It was a great decision.

Or so I thought.

I’m not sure how many years ago I made that vow to myself, but I didn’t break it until this year. I’m so glad I did. It needed to be broken, but I didn’t realize it until I was babysitting a child who eats sweet potatoes.

I was instructed to peel the baked sweet potato before feeding it to him. When I did, the sweet potato smelled and looked so good. It’s like a healthy dessert. I don’t even have to add sugar.

I wondered why I hadn’t eaten one in so long.

Then I remembered that I had decided to always eat the skin with it. That didn’t seem like a big deal. I didn’t hate it that way, but I also no longer loved it. It was just a slight change of taste and texture, but it was no longer a delicious comfort food.

That small decision to eat the skin of the sweet potato was a self-made obstacle. It kept me from enjoying the nutrients contained in the rest of the potato. Although my intentions were good, my main goal was to be healthier while the outcome of my decision was that I ate foods that were less healthy. (Except my sister showed me an article this weekend that said the skin of sweet potatoes is unhealthy. Go figure.)

I do this with other things, too.

I’ve been trying to get rid of clutter, but I wanted to get money back for some of the items. I kept them until I had time to sign up for an account on Ebay. That time never came. I really just didn’t want to do the work of posting stuff to Ebay and mailing my items.

I finally realized it was worth giving the items away. I would no longer have that stuff taking up my space, nor would I have it cluttering my mind with thoughts that I should put it up for sale.

Someone else could sell it. I would be helping them out, and they would be helping me by getting it out of my way.

I’ve still sold some items at used bookstores because it’s convenient. I’m going there anyway, and it’s a one-time thing. (Plus, I’ve gotten $87 in store credit so far.) But other items get donated, and this has made decluttering so much faster and less complicated.

My main goal was to get rid of stuff not to make money, but I lost focus of that. It really slowed me down.

What side goal has you distracted? What has slowed your progress toward your main goal? Once we identify this in different areas in our lives, we can simply remove the obstacles and start reaching our goals.

And next time you see a sweet potato, don’t forget to thank it for being a great teacher.


To learn more about how I’m getting so much decluttering done, sign up for my newsletter before March 23rd. That’s when I’ll finally reveal the 7 Baby Steps to a Clutter-Free Life which I’ve developed and been implementing in my own life since January of this year. Fair warning: it may be a while before I share these steps again. And when I do, it may not be for free next time.