Why do we save up start dates for special occasions like our birthday or New Years? I think in part our thoughts about beginnings are typically steeped in ritual and tradition. We might gobble cookies through December only to start our diet in January. Yet, if the goal for ourselves is becoming healthy, how does January 1 even matter? And, what is at risk in your life and your ability to meet your goals, if you have only certain days that you start? Quite possibly the secret is in learning how to make every day New Year’s Day.
If every day was the first day of the next year, how does that impact your goals and the dates you choose to START? What if NOW is the time?
Psych Me Up
One of the thoughts noodling around in my mind is, when goals are big and audacious, we feel the need to prepare. Needing to psych ourselves up to mentally be ready for the challenge.
The downside is, without the big goal of getting healthy, we may not have needed to eat all those cookies to prepare for the impending deprivation. Our expectations about what it will take to reach the goal, speaks volumes to the weight or gravity we give the goal. And, impacts how we prepare.
What if you need less preparation and more baby steps?
How Baby Steps Help
Baby steps are probably familiar to you. Those smaller bite-size chunks that support our movement towards our goals. If I want to get healthy, maybe my baby step is something like ‘move daily.’
What does it mean to you to move daily? For me, it is about doing something intentionally that is considered movement… dance, yoga, walking, riding a bike, you name it. If my bite-size goal is to move daily, each day becomes the first day of the next year. Today I choose to move, and each day I decide to make this choice again.
If I practice this baby step and develop the habit of movement, then over time, my more significant, more important goal of health will come into focus. If I try to do everything all at once to make the goal happen, the odds are that I will get overwhelmed and give up. By taking off the pressure to start my big juicy life goal on January 1, I open myself up to starting a new habit today. By starting with a baby step, I can bypass the mindset of being overwhelmed.
Small Steps Lead to Big Changes
If you take your larger audacious goal and break it down. What are the things you will be doing when you are healthy? Think about what you want to say to me in one year. What is different?
- My jam is moving daily, dancing, and walking.
- I am discovering the best recipes for eating more veggies.
- I’m eating less sugar and simple carbs.
- Not bringing junk food home.
Each one of these ideas is only 1 step, you get to choose what you will focus today. If you take away the pressure to do them all at once, you can pick the one to start with. Build that habit muscle, before you choose another step. Read more about making changes here.
This article, Small Tweaks Can Lead to BIG Changes might be a good follow-up read.
Celebrate Each Day
There is something beautiful that happens when we decide to make each day a New Year’s Day. There is a level of appreciation that shows up. Each day becomes extraordinary.
There is a space we create for gratitude when we see the gift of the day. Waking up alive, each day is filled with possibilities and potential. The potential for sustained changes is enhanced by a positive mindset and attitude. One of my baby steps to health is around appreciating the body that I have. Being grateful that I wake up and can dance around.
What are a few daily appreciations that you can include in each of your days?
Celebrate Your Micro Achievements
At the end of each day, capture what you want to acknowledge yourself for. Make a list of what you appreciate about how you showed up in the world. Maybe you completed a task you had been putting off. Or kept an important agreement that you had committed to. Perhaps you did something spontaneously, or challenging, and feel proud of yourself.
Whatever shows up in your day, notice, name, and claim what you need to celebrate. The road to big success is forged in the mini achievements along the way. Celebrate how you navigated the road bumps and plot twists.
Celebrate Those Around You
Be kind, for everyone you meet is walking a hard road. Each of us has challenges and difficulties that we must traverse. Celebrate others around you, for they too are navigating road bumps and plot twists.
We raise ourselves and those around us, by the level of compassion we can share. This doesn’t mean that we don’t create healthy boundaries for ourselves. Yet it does mean that we recognize that underlying most negative human behavior is some sort of suffering. Old wounds not yet healed.
By looking for what we appreciate in others, we create a window into kindness. By celebrating them when they show up and shine, we encourage more showing up and shining.
Day by Day
Over time I have become less interested in the idea of New Year’s resolutions. And rather more excited by daily change. Each day choosing the one or two essential actions that will lead towards my larger goals.
Each day I am at choice, I can choose to dance or watch a show, or both. I am not changing everything at once; instead, I am making conscious choices on how I want to spend my time. Demonstrating how I value my agreements with myself and celebrating each day for what it brought to me.
I wish you the celebration of your day, on your terms, for your goals, every day. You’ve got this!
I would LOVE to hear from YOU!
- What do you want to say about your big goal one year from today?
- What are 1 or 2 baby steps that would help to get you to your goal?
All Photo copyright retained by photo owners, everything else ©2014-2022 Lyssa deHart
article originally posted on Dec 2, 2019. Updated April 23, 2023.