The new year is an excellent time to start fresh.

We have the sense that everything is new and many things are possible. That's true. (That is also true every day--not just January 1.) However, there's something compelling about starting a new year at the same time as a new program or lifestyle change.

Wanting to make a change for the better is good. That is true especially if you've been given direct advice from your physician or your health is a concern. Usually, anything that serves as a catalyst to open our minds and inspire us to make the choices that lead us closer to the person we want to be and toward the life we'd like to have is good.

Annnd since we tend toward the mindset that if some are good, then clearly more must be better, we tend to go full-force toward whatever our new goal might be. Sounds great, right? That is often what happens when we make all-encompassing new year's resolutions.

But when it comes to making those grand New Year's resolutions, here's the thing:

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Caleb George, Unsplash
Caleb George, Unsplash
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While in some cases, we may absolutely be able to completely overhaul our lives and throw out the junk food, or workout for two hours every day, or say "sayonara" to toxic relationships in our lives and move across the country.

But for most of us, making such a dramatic shift isn't always a feasible option. Not only if we have children or partners or family members for whom this might upset the apple cart in unmanageable ways, but also in regard to dealing with our own human nature.

There's a good chance that, like me, you've heard a friend or yourself say "THIS IS IT. I'm never (fill in the blank) ever again." Or, "From this moment on I will do (fill in the blank) every single day for the rest of my life."

How many times has this worked?

To be fair, it can. I've seen people go into total boot camp, spartan, all or nothing mode and have changed their lives forever. That's great. Whatever works.

At the same, you may have discovered that whenever you try and do this, inevitably after a week, a month, or even several months, you find yourself back where you were before. Then what happens? OH, the shame.

The negative self-talk rears its ugly head and you either double-down or consider giving up altogether.

Stop and take a breath, my friend.

Tim Goedhart, Unsplash
Tim Goedhart, Unsplash
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Listen, it takes time to make a significant change in your life. However, I know that our lives present challenges that can make it difficult to completely turn everything upside-down. I also know, when you're truly inspired to make that change, you want to give it all you have while the fires burn bright and before more time goes by. I get it.

But let me encourage you.

Even the smallest changes you make toward whatever goal you're seeking to accomplish--if you maintain those consistently--you'll be amazed. You'll be amazed at how quickly time goes by anyway and how even your minor alterations have changed your life. THAT is very encouraging. And THAT is real, sustainable change.

I've also found that the changes you make in your life seem to grow exponentially. So, when you make a little change and follow through on it consistently, you may find make subsequent, larger changes, come easier to you. Having accomplished a small goal and building your confidence makes for a powerful fuel for your future endeavors.

So again, I'm not dismissing the idea of large, paradigm-shifting changes.

BUT. At the same time, if you can't--start with little ones. Don't beat yourself up. Any steps you take down a new, and better, life path can change your life completely.

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