I must admit, I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions.
I appreciate setting positive intentions, continual improvement, and self-reflective efforts to be a better human. However, I find the idea of rigid timelines and lofty goals counterproductive and in some cases self-defeating. Too often, they are an outgrowth of a misplaced focus on outcome over process, intensity over consistency, and towering achievement over slow and steady daily practice.
We celebrate astounding weight loss, forgetting that it is the product of thousands of small healthy decisions made repeatedly over time.
We celebrate awe-inspiring athletic milestones, but not the daily training regimen that makes them possible.
We marvel at scientific breakthroughs, but ignore the fact that these advances require determination through many failed attempts before ultimate success.
I believe it was Aristotle who said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
The key here is the reference to repetition; even though we may see the new year as a demarcation of change, or sign up for a 21-day challenge, or pledge to walk 1,000 miles in 1,000 days, the truth is that building a daily practice – building a habit – is not a time-limited proposition.
The answer to the question “How long does it take to build a daily practice?” is simple. It takes a lifetime.
Rather than resolution, I believe in evolution.
That’s why our work at The Pollination Project matters to me. It’s a collection of seemingly small grassroots actions that are helping evolve not just the individuals behind them, but our entire planet, into a daily practice of compassion and kindness. It is a community of people who care about outcomes and achievement, sure; but who are also in love with the process of becoming.
There is nothing special about January 1st except that, like every other day, it is a precious gift shimmering with potential; a new opportunity to build a practice of loving kindness, one small yet beautiful step at a time.