The genesis

You know how it goes. It's your first Chinese food of the new year and you crack open the fortune cookie with perhaps a little more anticipation than usual. After all, if you were the sort of person to believe in such things, you might think that whatever's printed on this tiny slip of paper could possibly set the tone for the year ahead. Or, at least, the next few minutes. My fortune read: You will make a change for the better.

I'm not often moved -- or, really, affected at all -- by my fortune. I don't even eat the cookies and by some standards, that renders the powers of one's fortune slip completely moot. But this touched on something I'd been thinking about a lot as 2009 came to a close and January settled in, the idea that some changes were needed in my life. There, in black and white type on that tiny piece of paper, it suddenly seemed such a simple notion. So appropriate for the start of a new year.  So filled with optimism and promise. So ... fitting for someone other than me.

I pondered this fortune. I put it on my desk. I posted it to my Facebook status and then promptly tossed the piece of paper.


That seemed like plenty of change.

But it was the tell-tale heart of fortunes. Even after the trash was taken out, it thumped away inside my brain. For all of January, it nagged me. It didn't help that, as the calendar pages turned to 2010, I was made painfully aware that this is the year I'll turn 40 -- and my life doesn't look much like I hoped it would at this stage. Fine. Whatever. Change might work. Only, I wasn't entirely sure (and still am not) what the change -- or (gulp) changes -- should be.

I am known for quite a few things. I'd venture to guess that  my stick-to-it-ive-ness is not one of those things. I'm probably better known for getting overwhelmed by the mere thought of effort, then retiring to the couch to watch crime shows until my eyes. The very idea of change scares and exhausts me. It's so... big picture. And my all-or-nothing thinking regularly presents me with a lengthy list of past changes I had implemented and promptly abandoned. It was depressing. Downright discouraging.

What if I couldn't come up with a single change that I would implement and stick with forever and ever for the rest of my life?

Then I realized something: I'm the one making the rules here. What if, instead of thinking in terms of Giant and Overwhelming Permanent Change, I thought small. Really small. Really small and temporary. Surely even I could conceive of making a small change for one week. Just seven days in a row. If I did, would it have any impact on me, immediately or long-term? Would my life be completely and totally revolutionized by the most half-assed commitment to self-improvement I could conceive of?

Probably not.

But the experiment, I decided, could prove kind of interesting -- and maybe not just to me. Thus, this new blog. One change for seven days and one blog post summing up the experiment. Ready? Set? CHANGE.