When we change the calendar at the end of this month, we’ll not only be changing over to a new year—we’ll be entering a new decade.

I, for one, am pretty psyched about this new decade. For one thing, I’m looking forward to being able to call it “the 20s.” I have a son who was born in the year 2000. And while it’s kind of cool that he’ll never forget how old he is, because the year always equals his age—in 2021, he’ll be 21; in 2099, he’ll be 99—he can’t look back on the first two decades of his life and encapsulate either one of them in a word. I mean, I can say “I love 80s music,” but what is the equivalent phrase for music from 2010-2019? I went to elementary school in the 70s; what’s he supposed to say? “I was in middle school in the early two-tens.” Yuck.

Moving into a new decade offers us more than brevity of phrasing… It is a good excuse to take some time out to reflect on the past 10 years—the good and the bad; the things we’ve accomplished, and the dreams that remain unfulfilled… And while most people do make at least one new year’s resolution every year, what if we were to make a new DECADE’s resolution on January 1?

I’m not sure yet exactly what that would look like for me, but I guess it starts with that age-old interview question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? If it’s somewhere completely different than where you are now, the next question should be: What has to change in order for you to get there?

As I was contemplating this, I came up with a deep, “life coachy” kind of conclusion: If you set a big goal for the next decade, you can intentionally make small new year’s resolutions each year that move you closer to that goal.

So, if I’m thinking that 10 years from now I want to be working in a new career, I could resolve this year to take a course or two to start learning about a new field. If my goal is to be healthy and active in 10 years, I could resolve to start running or take up yoga this year. If my goal is to downsize to an empty-nester condo by 2020, perhaps my new year’s resolution this year would be to start purging, one room at a time.

The point is, if we want to achieve a big change, we have to move toward it with intention, one small step at a time.

Okay, I get that this is not an original idea; every motivational speaker or self-help author says some version of this at some point. So I don’t know why it took me almost 5 decades to really figure this out. But until this point, I’ve chosen my new year’s resolutions pretty haphazardly, and I’ve rarely been able to stick to them. Resolutions are hard because they involve change—and I have never been very good about embracing change. It takes me a long time to warm up to new ways of doing things.

But I think as I’m getting older, I’m getting both wiser and bolder. Looking back over the past decade, I can see clearly that I have made a lot of positive changes in my life, and most of them happened one baby step at a time. I’ve learned to recognize when something needs to change, and I’ve learned to take action rather than waiting on change to happen on its own. Now that I understand this, I’m excited to see where the 20s take me as I move toward 2030 with real intention!

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