Here we are again nearing the end of another calendar year.
For many people, the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one brings out the need to set one or more resolutions to enhance or improve the quality of their life in some way.
Often, this arises out of some dissatisfaction with some aspect of one’s life; or, the simple recognition that one’s potential has yet to be realized. An inner voice is saying that change is needed.
Some lifestyle adjustment is then chosen to satisfy this urge for change. I resolve to do ‘this thing’ to improve my physical or emotional or mental or spiritual or material well-being. I am going to take on a new habit. Starting in the New Year, I will build a new me.
The intention is there. The willingness is there. Maybe even a definite plan of action is also in place. Perhaps even the resolve is present.
So, why does it often turn out that even for the most resolute person, a few weeks into the new year, the resolution is abandoned and the old habitual, unfulfilling way of being is resumed?
The habitual way of living that produced the sense of unease that spurred that inner voice to plea for change has been resumed and the result is not some positive change but instead another affirmation of not measuring up to one’s own ideals is the result. Guilt. And yet another blow to one’s self esteem.
If you really want to stop the cycle of self-inflicted blows to your self esteem caused by failed New Year’s resolutions, simply stop making those once a year promises to yourself. Instead, treat every day as an opportunity to become more. One small step every day will take you farther than one giant leap on January 1st.
“Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Elizabeth — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go.” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
Bucky Fuller’s trim tab metaphor not only applies, as he used it in that interview in Playboy magazine, to how one individual can affect societal change, but also applies to how every person can make radical change in their own life by just doing one small thing at a time.
Planning on getting healthier in the new year? Maybe lose a little weight? Joining a gym?
Choose today to not eat a fast food meal today. Choose tomorrow to satisfy your munchies with an apple instead of a donut. Choose the next day to go for a morning walk. Small incremental changes lead to radical transformation a lot easier than attempting to make a giant change all at once.
It is true that, if a person is desperate enough, radical change can come about immediately. People who have heart attacks often make substantive lifestyle changes overnight. But that niggling voice on New Year’s Eve urging you to get healthy usually does not impart that sense of urgency or it would have been screaming at you long before the end of the year.
Don’t wait for some calendar event to be the impetus for the opportunity to become a bigger, better version of you, to more fully live up to your potential, to enhance the quality of your life, to get out there and do something meaningful with your life.
Begin now. Take one step; then the next. Keep going. If you miss one step one day, you have not failed, only paused in your journey. You can easily resume the next day. A pause to take a breath is not failure. Each new moment is a new choice point to continue on the pathway to personal empowerment.
Begin now. This moment is your moment of choice. This is the time to make the decision to enhance the quality of your life, to become capable of being the greater contribution, to enjoying more success and fulfillment. This moment is when you have the power. Not tomorrow. Not January 1st. Now.
What do you desire? What can you do right now to move, even one little tiny step, in the direction to help effectuate that? If you need help or encouragement, get a coach.