Every year, I’m over-the-mistletoe excited to put up my Christmas tree. And every year, I’m exponentially more excited to take it down. My house is finally, officially de-Christmased, and I feel like I can breathe again without choking on curly ribbon and glitter.
I don’t usually do New Year’s resolutions. What’s the point? They never last, and as far as I’m concerned, they just give me one more reason to feel like a failure. Although failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as you learn something from it. Still, why set yourself up?
I think my issue with the big list of worthy goals is that I set my sites too high. I want to change my life with one grand gesture. I want to lose forty pounds and fit back into that dress I’ve hung onto since my college days. I want to save a third of my income for a glorious, glamorous continental vacation. I want to go from chaotic clutterbug to cape-wearing captain of control.
The grand gesture is kind of like a Christmas tree. At first it looks great. At first it fills your heart with joy and your nostrils with pine-scented wonder. But after a few weeks, it becomes an albatross in your living room—a burden instead of a blessing. The grand gesture is a nice thought, but it rarely gives us the lasting results we long for.
What we really need is a tiny fraction of change. If a ship changes course by a single degree, it will eventually arrive at a much different location. If an airplane alters its direction by even a miniscule amount, it will land at a different airport. And if we modify our practices by a single, small habit, we’ll see impressive consequences.
In the past, I’ve longed to accomplish my goals with one magnificent arm sweep. This year, I’m going to concentrate on the little things, like placing a bud in a vase next to my kitchen sink. That bud may not change the world, but it will change my world.
The Bible tells us that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. When hearing that, most of us concentrate on the mountain and miss the whole point of the picture—that seed. The mustard seed is one of the tiniest seeds, but when watered and nurtured, it grows into something a million times bigger than it started out. Like that seed, a tiny habit, when nurtured and developed, can create results much more impressive than we can imagine. A kind word may change someone’s day; a daily habit of kindness can change many lives.
So this year I’ll focus on one or two little things I can adjust, that will change the trajectory of my 2019. Who knows? By this time next year, I just may be ready to take that continental vacation. Or I may decide I’d rather stay in my kitchen and smell the roses.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.