There are so many things to achieve, and standing on the brink of a new year makes it feel like they’re all possible. It’s as though a physical door is opening, and all we have to do is step through to claim the good things we know are waiting in the bright and shiny landscape we call tomorrow.
Too often, though, the new year gets old fast.
- By the end of January diets are forgotten
- By the beginning of February, a new routine feels like too much work
- Come mid-march the comfort zone’s established again and all that’s changed is the last digit on the year’s number. Things look pretty much the same as they did this time last year
What happens to New Year Dreams?
Regardless of the hopes and dreams we hold dear as we watch fireworks bang in the new year, we can’t escape our own minds. Whether we like it or not, self-limiting beliefs are still there on January 1st.
I’ve gone through enough New Year highs to know that just wanting more from the coming year isn’t enough. I also know that laying down plans isn’t enough. Making a start isn’t enough either, although that’s one of the toughest obstacles to overcome.
Why Many Resolutions Fail
Where most of us go wrong, and I count myself amongst that number, is in dreaming too big.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, in fact it’s necessary. The problem is that in holding those big dreams it’s easy to lose sight of the small parts that add up to greatness.
Here’s an example:
You (or I) plan to write a novel. Great. That’s a suitably big ambition for the year. A year from now you’ll stand on the cusp of 2016, waving a bestseller triumphantly in the air.
- Do you also see yourself sitting down each and every day, slogging away at the computer to get those words written?
- Do you see yourself giving up a favourite TV programme because the daily word count is waiting? And supposing you do, and have that part all mapped out and feel ready to make the sacrifice — have you also considered your intended readers, who they are, where you’ll find them, how they’ll find you – in other words how you’ll market the would-be bestseller to make it so?
The small parts, the daily writing, the regular marketing and interaction with the readers who’ll eventually make your novel into a bestseller are often forgotten in the excitement of the project. Writers are, by nature, solitary beasts. Working alone, spending long hours in the company of imaginary friends in imaginary worlds. But forgetting about the real world and figuring out ways to connect it with the imaginary one creates a chasm between journey and destination.
One of two things happens if that chasm deepens. Either another New Year’s eve arrives along with a finished novel but no readers, or the dream died long ago and there’s no novel either.
Holding fast to dreams and plans throughout an entire year depends on paying attention to the small parts. The little daily actions that build over time.
No matter how big dreams or plans are, they’re all made up of small parts that need individual attention. There’s no other way to make them come true.
2015 is hereby designated ‘year of the small things’. And here’s to realising all those big ambitions 🙂