“New year, new me!”
I say that every year. Most of us do. The fact is, that this is true. It isn’t quickly or drastically that we change, but very slowly, over the course of time, day by day and moment by moment. The actions we take every day shape who we are and how our lives turn out.
One of my favorite books is The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. One of the core concepts in it is that you can do something every single day to improve your life. Now, this is very similar to the concept of compounding interest, that small and consistent gains add up to great sums over time, and the concept is rife with parallels in many well known quotes. Try this on for size;
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu
Or more contemporary;
“You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.’ You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall.”
– Will Smith
In both of these quotes, larger things are the result of smaller, seemingly insignificant actions that add up over time. Such is life.
I’m going to pivot hard, then come back to this concept of consistent production that adds up to monumental production over long periods of time.
Now, a writer writes, and I try to do so every day; I don’t post every day, and in this maybe I’ve been remiss, but I like to write, and what I publish is generally (generally!) what I’ve written well. Lately though, I haven’t had much spare time, and what I’ve written has been rather private.
I’ve been blessed with some good news, as recently as mid-2018; I’m going to be a father. To identical twin girls, no less. Recent conversations are filled with the cliché that becoming a parent changes you, and I’ll reassure you it does but I have to disagree that it happens overnight.
This, inconveniently, is not the truth. Sure, in six months, I’ve probably changed a lot – people actually tell me that, but they haven’t seen me for sometimes more than six months. It’s a series of changes, small and large and daily and over a long period of time, that really happen seemingly overnight. Here’s how I found out we were pregnant.
Laura showed me a positive pregnancy test midsummer on a Friday, and I promptly freaked out.
I mean I really freaked out.
First of all, what the fuck? Am I ready to be a parent? What do they need? How do i…do anything? My brain short-circuited for a moment before I reassured her that this was great.
Granted, kids were in the plan. My five year plan, at the end of the five years. Not my today plan. All I had was dinner and a movie. Aw, fuck.
I don’t know how to raise a kid. I’ve never even changed a diaper.
So I freaked out. Quietly, then not so quietly. Then I ran the numbers. I don’t recall if we did go to dinner and a movie. What I do recall is that the numbers checked out.
“Oh yeah, we can do this. It won’t be that easy and we will have to change some things, but we can do this. No more crazy nights out and spontaneous trips, but we can do this and we can do it well.”
By Saturday, I was okay with it. Things had settled. By Sunday, I was good with it.
I thought I had it handled.
My wife works at a hospital, ten hour shifts – I kissed her goodbye in the morning on Monday, and went about my day. We sent each other a couple of mushy texts, nothing out of the ordinary really.
When she got home, she was crying. At work, they’d done an ultrasound in their downtime, and she had a printout in her hand. I was worried. I shouldn’t have been.
Yeah, that changed my life.
We were having twins. Two babies. T-W-O.
Yeah, I freaked out.
Twins. Identical twin girls. The identical and the twins part we found out later. Even before that, it’s an understatement to say that my mind was blown.
That changed my life, really and in it’s entirety, but it hasn’t happened overnight. It happens daily, small changes, realizing what I can today to make tomorrow better, how I can childproof my house, how I can be prepared for the future.
How I can be less of a dickhead. lolololol.
Sure, I take things more seriously. I’m responsible, much more, for two more lives that haven’t even been born yet. I also try to act more responsibly because of this.
I’ve always believed that daily choices matter, and now I take that to heart even more so, if that’s possible. There are little things I can do today that will affect my future, even more than five years ahead, and I try to do them.
It’s waking up in the morning and making my bed perfectly, actually tucking in the corners, instead of just making my bed, throwing the sheets and blankets approximately where they should be, because I don’t want to be one of those parents that tells their kids to do something but doesn’t themselves.
It’s actually eating right every single day, because while yes, I’m here for a good time, I also aim to be here for a long time.
It’s treating their mother well so that when they’re old enough to see it and understand they don’t expect or allow anything less.
Ain’t nobody got time for that!
A lot of it, to be perfectly honest, is realizing my life is not that much about me anymore; when I was younger and single, it wasn’t either, but I could get away with it.
My wife is probably shaking her head right now.
Now, back to the NEW YEAR, NEW ME, YEAH BOIII nonsense.
You can make a new you. You really can. It’s a new year, but you don’t have just a year, you have your entire life. A life is composed of years, years of months, months of weeks, weeks of days, and so on. It doesn’t have to start today, but it can.
That’s a lot of time, really to make changes, to do things differently. To form small, new habits that contribute to a better life for yourself.
It’s a cliché to think that this can or will happen overnight. What I’m saying is that it will happen every day, every minute, and over a long period of time, with small but continued and consistent efforts.
Just this minute, maybe you made a change, by reading this. This hour, you can find a gym near work to workout out. Today, you can put in a quality effort at work, then a quality effort at the gym.
Do this for a week, you’ll feel tired. Do this for a month, your supervisor will notice at work, and people will notice at the gym.
Do this for half a year, you’ll have changed your life.
It’s as simple as this:
Change your habits, change your life.
It isn’t easy, to be a new you, but it is worth it; and it happens one day at a time.
P.S., The Slight Edge is an international bestseller and available on Amazon through the supplied link. It has a whopping 4.8/5 stars, so you know it’s good.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to see more, please comment below or follow my blog.