2016 was a fantastic year.
Bought a new vehicle.
Drove across the country in said vehicle.
Hiked down Pike’s Peak (13 miles – all downhill).
Camped for almost a week in the Rocky Mountains.
Went to four MLB games across the country.
Hauled vinyl records from Georgia to Ohio in a moving truck (for a second time).
Bought a second house in a span of four years.
Paid off our student loan debt.
Read the entire Bible in one year.
Spent an entire summer week with middle schoolers (definitely a life-changer).
Stopped working at two colleges.
Took two weeks off from social media.
Read 48 books.
If you were to tell me on December 31, 2015 that I would be doing all these things, I probably would not have believed you. Sure I planned for some of these well in advance, but many of these happened rather quickly in a matter of a few weeks. A problem in our society and throughout history is that we don’t like change, and we don’t like events that rattle our routine. As a guy that has multiple part-time streams of income, I never would have dreamed that my wife and I would have paid off our student loans in less than four years from schooling (a good change). A year ago, I do not think I could have mustered up the will-power to delete every social media app from my phone and be without likes and follows for two whole weeks (a hard change). This even led me to completely delete one of those apps.
While we don’t like change, for some reason we try it out once a year. Leading up to each new year, we somehow think that starting on January 1st will be bring massive change to our lives that will make us a transformed person. We buy that $1300 treadmill and put it in the basement of our two-story house thinking that we will wake up at 6:00 every morning and “walk” for 45 minutes before we start our day. By January 10th, we have been on it once, and then we fold it up to put in the corner so it stays out of the way. Insert whatever your similar plan is to the scenario above, and this is going to happen all over the world.
The unfortunate thing is this New Year of 2017, begins on a Sunday – one of the laziest days of the week. Yea, good luck getting up to stroll on that overpriced walker maker.
So here is the basic thought I am offering to you instead.
365 New Days = 1 New Year
There is a reason I committed to writing more on December 16th rather than January 1st. Because on that day I decided I wanted to start new. I wanted to bring change to life that very day and not wait any longer. Why? This sets me up to already be on the ground running when the New Year comes. I have already created a daily habit during the busiest time of the year so when boring January comes, I can handle less difficult changes that may come up.
Maybe for you it’s starting on January 2nd. Maybe you should start on your birthday. It doesn’t matter when you start, just as long as you start. Recently, I saw this quote posted by a middle schooler on Instagram and it has stuck with me for a while now – “You don’t have to be great to start. But you have to start to be great.” (8th graders are smarter than you think.)
Whatever day you start, just do it. And if you miss a day, you have 364 more opportunities to bring change to your life. Just can start and keep picking back up one-by-one. In the past two weeks, I have done more writing than I have in any other month. That is the accomplishment. Not the fact that I have written for 5 straight days, but the fact that out of 14 days, I have written 11 times. It is the journey that makes this important.
Tomorrow is not only a new year but also a new day.
I don’t know what is going to happen in 2017. I have many hopes and plans but greater things will probably happen. The one thing I can tell myself is to live in the present moment and be excited because tomorrow is a new day just as much as January 4th will be a new day.