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You Can Give a Man the Recipe, but You Can’t Make Him Bake: 3 Steps to Motivating Yourself and Others

After my last post of the series, Life is Like a Batch of Cookies, an anonymous commenter said, “You are teasing us with all this philosophical insight --all the while we are dying for the recipe!”
For those so eager to try Lemon Meltaways that you simply can’t read this short message, skip to the recipe below and enjoy.

Doing What Doesn’t Come Naturally
How do you motivate someone to do something that doesn’t come naturally to them? Here are three steps:

1. Show them how it’s done.
One of the biggest obstacles to trying something new is not knowing how. Before you demand a new way of life, take the time to teach. If you’re the one reluctant to begin, teach yourself, or find someone to teach you. Remember that the best way to teach and learn something new is to do it. If that doesn’t work, do it again and again until it does.

2. Invite them to follow.
Rather than lecture people for doing it wrong, or scolding them for not doing it at all, encourage them to do it with you. Instead of telling your husband to use the treadmill, invite him to walk with you. Instead of chewing your children out for avoiding their homework, sit down and study with them. Rather than beat yourself up for underachieving, hang out with someone who excels and do what they do.

3. Inspire them to lead.
Recognize signs of improvement. When someone gets discouraged, remind them of the progress they’ve already made. Rather than warning them not to fail, encourage them to succeed. As a more rewarding pattern is established, provide them with opportunities to help others do the same.
Always make sure that the change you encourage is truly in the best interest of the person you’re encouraging. If your motives are pure, these simple steps can make life more meaningful. You may not make anyone change, but you'll significantly increase the likelihood that someone will. Who knows? You may even inspire your husband to do something wonderful, like bake a batch of cookies on his own.

Lemon Meltaways

1 1/3 cup of cornstarch
2 cups of flour
4 cups + 2/3 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
2 cups + 1/3 cup of butter
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 1/2 teaspoons of lemon zest (about 5 lemons)
1/3 cup of lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

In medium bowl, combine cornstarch, flour and 2/3 cup of powdered sugar; set aside. In large bowl, beat 2 cups of butter until softened and smooth. Add dry mix, lemon zest and vanilla. Beat until blended. Refrigerate dough for 50-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Shape dough into 1" balls. Place 1 1/2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Remove from oven; cool on wire racks. Then frost.

For icing: In medium bowl, beat 1/3 cup of butter until softened. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add lemon juice and beat well.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


John Brailsford studies the lives and teachings of happy people and shares what he learns with others. He's a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified family life educator, and transition coach with Homeward Bound.  He also holds a Ph.D. in Family and Child Sciences from Florida State University. John has been married to an amazing woman for over two decades, and they're the parents of four wonderful people. You can learn more about him and his approach to finding fulfillment at

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