Have you ever made the conscious decision to change something about your life or health, and then said to yourself: “I’ll do that AFTER I get through this stressful time in my life.”

Only to find that stress never really passes – or if it does, you no longer feel the same urgency or commitment to make the change?

Until, as poet John Ashbery writes in the poem “Varient”

“the whole thing overflows like a silver
Wedding cake or Christmas tree, in a cascade of tears.”

Here are three good reasons to cascade the change you want to make in your life not into tears, but into a path that has already begun to form, one day at a time.

1. New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work…

…unless, of course, you have a steel resolve and the unflinching willpower to maintain your initial burst of enthusiasm. What does work is to set realistic goals and take small steps on a daily basis towards those making those goals a reality. So if you start now, by the time the new year rolls around you’ll be on the right track.

Laying down the seeds to get yourself started might not be as hard as you think.

For example, if weight loss is your goal, what if you made the commitment now to eat 1/2 your usual plate of Thanksgiving dinner (and every meal thereafter) savoring every bite? If you’re trying to stop smoking, how about spending the month of December smoking 1/3 fewer cigarettes, becoming more aware of your cravings and drinking a glass of water instead of smoking?

Whatever your goal may be, chunk it down to what is possible and commit to that. It will be easier to achieve.

2. 12/21/2012

Its no longer prophesied to be the end of the world (whatever that even means considering the millions of lives have been uprooted or destroyed by wars and environmental disasters).

But this day is symbolic of the shift from a culture of rampant individualism to a culture of collective, multi-dimensional thinking. This is a shift of creativity in which large groups of people get together and turn their efforts outward towards “we, in common” as opposed to “I, alone.”

We’re all riding the wave of this shift – so whatever commitment you can make to improve your life will resonate with others who are feeling a similar urgency. Go for it. You’re not alone.

3. Holidays may compound stress, but procrastination makes it even worse.

A new year is a reminder of how time flies – Tempus fugit. Whatever it is that you’ve been meaning to can drag your energy down, making it a lot harder to commit to larger changes. So find six hours between now and the end of December and do what you need to do to get that “to do” list in motion.

If it’s something big – like writing a dissertation or starting a new business – then separate the forest into trees, and the trees into branches. Make the job smaller, and once you’ve got it started keep taking small steps until you’re on a roll.

Happy new year – every day, starting now.

P.S. If you’re worried about self-sabatoge, check out IQ Matrix’s cool mind map and tips for overcoming your worst inclinations.

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