Well, it’s the last week of the first month of a new year. Has anyone else’s year started like mine? For all of December, I was excited, ecstatic even, about the coming year. I had that feeling that 2017 was gonna be sparkly and shiny and rain sprinkles down onto us as the clock struck midnight.
When January 1st arrived, I was ready. I expected to blast off like a rocketship and hit the ground running towards my goals for the year. But instead, the opposite happened. I felt like I was riding in an old pickup truck, bouncing and sputtering along the way. I started to wonder if maybe my goals were too ambitious. I felt like my progress wasn’t happening quickly enough. I started to have doubts. Only two weeks into the new year, I felt like giving up on a big goal I had set for the year. I was over it.
What is it about the promise of a new year that makes us feel like anything is possible? And why are we then willing to give up so quickly when the new year hits and we don’t immediately see the results we desire?
One thing we have to remember is that a new year does not come with a magic wand or a genie in a bottle (possibly voiced by Robin Williams). We cannot “poof” our wants into existence.
The same hard work that was required to reach our goals last year is the same work that will be required this year. The same consistency needed to make progress last year is the same consistency needed to get ahead this year. None of that changes. And sometimes, that is the thing that gets us down and makes us discard our goals, because we know that it will take effort. It will not be easy.
A new year, a new day, and a new goal (or the same old one) will require work. It will not be comfortable. It will not be shiny. It will not sparkle. And it will not rain down sprinkles on your head. At times, it will feel like you’re riding in a broke down truck. Sometimes it may even feel like you are pushing the truck. But I want to leave you with this quote:
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
The bottom line is this- you will not see the fruits of your labor right away. First, you must plant the seeds. But the most important part of the growth process is not the planting of seeds. It is in the nurturing of those seeds you planted. What does that mean? You cannot start and stop. You cannot plant a seed and walk away. You cannot set a goal and then sit back and expect it to happen. Every day, you have to care for it and give it the time and the nutrients it needs to be healthy. You have to water it and give it sunlight. You have to allow it to grow roots and build a stable base. As the roots continue spreading, your goal will finally emerge from the ground, showing the promise of life.
Now that the goals have strong roots, broken through the ground, and survived the growing pains, those goals can begin to grow rapidly and produce fruit. But none of this is possible without constant care and nurturing of those goals.
So in 2017, let’s stop neglecting seeds. And let’s stop basing each day off of the harvest, because the harvest will not come for a while. Grow your goals by planting them and tending to them daily. Neither a rocketship, magic wand, nor genie will be available to help. But you don’t need them. All you need is you, consistently showing up, ready to nuture the seeds you have planted.
What seeds are you planting today in order to reach your future goals? Every day, you should be closer to fulfilling your goals, but that is because every day should be spent either planting seeds or watering what’s already been planted. Stay diligent and consistent!