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Do Something Small

Writer Austin Kleon says that his recommendation about making New Year’s resolutions is to take very tiny bites. He recommends choosing one small thing that you want to develop a habit around; Drawing, writing, meditating, walking or whatever it is that you desire to have more of in your life. Then make a very small commitment that will be easy to follow through on EVERY DAY. For instance, you might choose to write one haiku every day, or draw one doodle or one coffee cup-sized mandala in your notebook, or write one page or one paragraph in your journal, or meditate for 5 minutes, or read one poem, copy one quote. The trick he says is to buy a little calendar and to give yourself a big X each day when you complete your goal. Your ongoing task is not to break the chain of Xs. Meaning that you complete the tiny step EVERY SINGLE DAY. That’s why it’s important for the goal to be tiny and doable. At the end of the year you will have 365 pages in your journal or doodles in your art-book or walks that you took or new poems you discovered or quotes you've copied, or haikus you wrote or photographs you took or 1825 minutes of meditating .

Of course, you can always do more than your goal – you can write three pages or write an entire poem, or make a whole drawing or meditate for 20 minutes. But, if you promise yourself that you will do the one tiny goal, you’re more likely to create the habit. I am debating about which tiny task to choose for myself beginning Jan. 1. I’ve already got a small calendar that I anticipate putting the Xs in!

Or, maybe like the poet May Sarton, you will choose to find 5 minutes of silence each day.

New Year’s Resolve

The time has come

To stop allowing the clutter

to clutter my mind

like dirty snow,

shove it off and find

clear time, clear water.

Time for a change,

Let silence in like a cat

Who has sat at my door

Neither wild nor strange

Hoping for food from my store

And shivering on the mat.

Let silence in.

She will rarely mew,

She will sleep on my bed

And all I have ever been

Either false or true

Will live again in my head.

For it is now or not

As old age silts the stream,

To shove away the clutter,

To untie every knot,

To take the time to dream,

to come back to still water.

by May Sarton

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