These red long-johns have little use here beyond the holidays and the month of January. We snuggle in by the fire even when it’s 60 degrees outside — just because it’s winter, just because it’s festive.

It is officially winter, but festive is over!

Christmas is packed away and 2016 almost a week old. No doubt many resolutions have already been broken, forgotten, or simply ignored. A few years ago I wiped the slate clean and decided I no longer needed resolutions, that I had broken enough. Why keep creating more?

Stop and think about it for a moment. When was the last time you truly changed or altered a behavior? Or a long-held belief? (That’s a little stickier subject, isn’t it?)

Did you just wake up one day and simply decide you’d finally had enough of x, y, or z? Or was the change gradual, something that nagged at you for awhile? Then due to hard work, continued focus, and a deep desire, your reality finally shifted, right?

If so, please help me understand how you did this.

From what I’ve experienced, long-lasting transformation and change is never easy. Most change is a product of cause and effect; and even then, repetition must occur in order to create a new behavior pattern, a new belief system, a new comfort zone. It doesn’t just happen on its own.

Often a dramatic event — the sudden or unexpected loss of a loved one, surrender to an addiction, a health crisis, or some fluke accident — occurs first. Then change most certainly follows, or (I should say) the opportunity for change follows.

It has to, right?

But what I want to know is how to instill positive change without creating upheaval in someone’s life. I bring up this topic because I believe we all face similar challenges. We see the need for change but don’t have the tools to set it in motion.

Let’s take the basic nature of human beings combined with what we know about the process of change. This is all we have to work with, isn’t it?

Just “be the change you want to see in the world,” Ghandi advises. Just be the change.

But how difficult is that? How difficult is it to create a true and positive shift in our complicated lives, much less the modern world?

Help me out, here. I’m waiting.

But I’ll warn you, hibernation never lasts long in Central Texas and these pjs are scratchy.

Soon I’ll stand at the mouth of the cave, a hungry momma bear waking up from a long (make that a short) winter’s nap. Yawning. Stretching. And wondering what adventures the new year brings.

Photo by: Ryan McGuire,