Make Changes That Last

time-1817726_640As the year winds down, it’s natural to think about making next year better than this year. With that comes the idea of big changes to make in the upcoming year. I remember New Year’s Eve where my Mom would ask us what our New Year’s Resolutions were and then writing them down in a spiral notebook. Of course, I don’t ever remember seeing the notebook at any other time during the year!

In recent years the trend in the productivity world has been to eschew the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. My social media feeds are full of posts about “How I quit making New Year’s Resolutions”, often bracketed by posts like “The 10 Best Resolutions for the New Year”.

The anti-resolution crowd has a great point…trying to make these big changes, when a lot of other things are going on is a difficult, if not fruitless, approach. I’m sure most of the media outlets have a standing item on their editorial calendars for the middle of January to cover “look how many people have stopped executing on their New Year’s Resolutions”. Frankly, it’s low-hanging fruit.

Most everybody has had the experience of setting a big hairy goal and then not following through. Sure, at first when the goal is shiny and new it’s easy to be motivated. But when the going gets tough we fall back into our usual patterns. No matter how hard we try not to.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

success-620300_640There is a way to succeed at making changes in your life. You’ve proven that hundreds of times to yourself. You’re not the same person you were at 10, 18, or 25. You’ve made scary changes that have caused you to reach way outside your comfort zone. You’re able to do things today that you could barely dream of years ago.

But those changes didn’t happen overnight. They were made through tiny incremental changes. Nothing glorious about it. No bolt-of-lightning from the clouds and hosts of angels singing your praises. Just a daily commitment to sweating the small stuff, gritting your teeth, and doing the work to make the change.

Honestly, doesn’t it seem somewhat silly that you have to be reminded of that? We all know what we need to do. We just don’t want to do it. It’s hard work. Really effing hard work. The stuff that no legends are made of…rather the stuff that countless hours of self-doubt are comprised of!

Yet this stuff is important.

Everybody wants to do better, be better, and generally grow as a person.

So for the next few weeks I’m going to try and help you set yourself up for success. I’m going to point out some really mundane, boring things that you can do to help prepare you for the new year and beyond. Some reminders and tips that will give you a framework to stick with your desired changes over the long haul.

Trust me, there isn’t a magic formula. This is very personal stuff that requires you to be painfully honest with yourself. It’s not the kind of thing that any of us want to post on social media or share around the dinner table. But the kinds of improvements that you likely want to make are going to change your life.

So grab a cup of coffee, a pen, and a pad of paper. There’s lots to do in the coming weeks…but it’s going to be worth it!