“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
– Edith Lovejoy Pierce
For the first time ever, I let my kids stay up to midnight on New Year’s Eve this year.
They were excited and anticipatory to witness this novel event in their young lives: the turn of the year.
But at 12:02 am, January 1st, one of them said: “I actually don’t feel that different.”
(I know, right? Ahh, the wisdom of youth.)
It’s true, isn’t it?
We want to feel different, act different, perhaps be different in this new year – a year that’s as blank and unsullied as fresh clean piece of paper, waiting to be written on in our best flourished calligraphy.
We yearn for possibility, a magical do-over: we crave even a brief illusion of newness.
But then, after the proverbial champagne bubbles pop, we often plunk down hard in the reality of our habits, preferences, schedules, responsibilities and the “same old thing” – somewhere between 12:02 am on January 1 and the middle of February.
But here’s what I want you to know: the renewal that we desperately crave and imagine appears instantly at midnight of December 31st is possible. Tweet that!
It’s always available to us, at any moment.
Because opportunity and possibility comes from choosing to see what is new and different in ourselves or our situation – just as it is, right now – and then following up with small sustainable actions. Tweet it!
Note that I said small.
Because when we resolve to do something (aka New Year’s Resolutions), we tend to make grand sweeping statements that ultimately are often unsustainable.
I hate to break this to you, but we aren’t going to magically – poof, ta-da, voila! – be different. (I can say this because I have tried this method myself. So far, while I’ve held out great hope, it hasn’t worked, at least for me.)
It’s not terribly sexy, but change we want – whether personal or professional – is sustained best by small, repeated choices and actions, done over and over and over.
So, rather “resolving” to do something differently this year (a phrase that has never made sense to me – how can we possibly “re” + “solve” what hasn’t yet happened?), just begin again, in this moment.
And this one, and this one, and this one.
In the Comments below, I want to hear from you!
How have small repeated steps helped you make long-term sustainable change – either in your life, work or team?