I do a lot of thinking and philosophizing while driving and exercising. Given that today is New Year's Eve, I was thinking about New Year's Resolutions and the big deal made about starting new things and how momentous new beginnings are made to seem. As though beginnings are somehow special.
I'm not sure they are. At least not the ones that get all the fanfare, like New Year's Resolutions. The great beginnings tend to be the ones which didn't start out big or even really noticeable. The little starts and small changes that slowly grow and take shape and transform our worlds. The ones we didn't notice even starting.
We start things all the time. Every day is a new beginning. Every meeting. Every meal. Everything. And yet, we tend to wait until the start of the year, month, week to make voluntary changes to our lives. Any time is a good time to start something. Like the Nike ad campaign said, you just need to do it.
It's possible that the focus on beginnings is because most things never finish.
I will never be fit enough that I can stop working out and not lose physically. I will never be able to stop making healthy food choices without incurring negative health impacts. Learning and having new experiences will occur until I die. I can always improve. I can always change. There is always another goal. There might be milestones, but few true ends.
So perhaps what we should be celebrating instead is persistence. Being steadfast. Holding to the chosen path, while making course corrections as needed.
Persistence is how progress gets made and how progress and change are maintained. It's not enough to start or to change. You have to stick to the changes, even when it gets difficult or tiresome or lonely or ceases to be fun. You must keep going. You may never achieve your goal, but you'll be a heck of a lot closer to it than the person who either never started or who started then stopped. Just keep going.