Although we celebrated Christmas last week, Scrooge’s holiday greeting of “Humbug,” holds more truth in reference to New Years. At New Years’ we feel almost obligated to write down a list of resolutions that will improve our health, appearance or success, but unfortunately, most of the resolutions just don’t stick.
This year I did not write a list of resolutions as I have in the past, and based on my email inbox, a lot of others are feeling the same way. What usually happens is we see the New Year with all of its potential for a clean slate and a fresh beginning. We relish the thought of putting past failures behind and moving forward. It sounds good in theory, but by January 5th most of our grandiose ideas of becoming thinner, fitter and more productive have already been replaced with our former habits. And the list? It’s usually buried in a pile somewhere and never seen again. No matter how strong the initial motivation, it doesn’t last long enough to incorporate the work required to make a permanent change.
Developing a new habit or life practice requires an internal change. Some might call it an attitude adjustment or change of heart, but the power to make a lasting change comes from God. So that’s the first step. We start by submitting our desires to Him because He delights in seeing us succeed.
But here’s another thought. The Chinese claim that 2013 is the Year of the Snake, some of the South American countries have dubbed it the International Year of Quinoa, and the UN has declared it the International Year of Water Cooperation. I’m proposing that we call 2013 the year of the Baby Step. Instead of taking a huge leap forward, we just start moving in the direction we know we should go. Each of us can take a baby step forward to make the changes we need. We can repeat it later today and again tomorrow and the day after that. We can write it down. We can post it on the fridge or mirror, and we can review and practice it until it becomes part of our lives. The key is to make it intentional.
Once we see results, we can add a different baby step to the mix, but keep a record of the first measure of success in a prominent place. It will spur you on as the steps get harder. Hmmm – maybe the steps won’t be as hard if we’re doing them in increments. And if we fall down, we’ll get up again. That’s what baby’s do when they’re learning to walk. We have no shame in falling unless we don’t get up.
Most of all, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013.