By Phoebe Lim

Ah, the allure of a new year, a new decade.

It is a time of setting objectives that might seem realistic and completely attainable now, but will eventually be chalked up to another half-hearted New Years’ resolution or joked about as another “we tried but failed,” goal amongst friends. It is the time where we promise that this time, we’re going to write that novel, scale that wall, start that painting, scheme that bank heist, read that book, learn that new language—all in one go. 

And then life gets in the way. Students know this all too well. There’s a test on Tuesday, a chemistry report due on Wednesday, Calculus homework that has to be finished by tonight, a research paper on Thursday, it is endless and hopelessly easy to get bogged down by the bustling activity of each day. By the end of the year, the blank page stares mockingly at us, the wall is pushed aside as an endeavour for another day, the painting sits in the dust, (for better or worse) the heist goes unplanned, the pages go unturned, and we can only conjugate a meagre few verbs. 

No one escapes this, and I hate to break it to you, no amount of a caffeine-induced frenzy will help you either. 

It is because we get caught up in the dazzling idea of “the big things and the grand gestures” in life. We glorify the monumental accomplishments, the entire book written in a month, the mural painted overnight, the language acquired in just a year, that we abandon the tiny steps that got us to that point. We forget that the culmination of a thousand words written each day adds up to a novel and the. 

We push aside the little wins. 

But I employ you, dear wonderful reader, to start off the year doing the little things, so you might be able to conquer the big things. Trade grandiose, sweeping gestures for smaller, digestible tasks. Write the first few sentences each day so you can string together a book. Paint the first few strokes so you might adorn entire walls. Set aside 15-20-25 minutes to plan the perfect heist. 

It’s up to you whether you want to plan the next revolution and take over the government or writing a delicious new entry for your food blog—it doesn’t matter, but get the little parts done every day. If what matters most is the finished product then the best way to achieve that is to start small, start manageable. 

Start with the little things first.

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