Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's is written by Betina Hughes from the Newcastle Herald.
New Year's Eve is our favourite time to reflect on what was and recommit to new or recurring goals.
Now that New Year's Day has arrived, we're faced with a fresh decade and the challenge to keep our promises to ourselves.
"Where did the time year go?," we ask family and friends at this time of year.
Day ran into day, month into month, and now we find ourselves back at the roaring '20s.
I could spend the first day of this year reflecting on some monumental events of the past decade and how they altered our world, but you could likely bring them to mind yourself.
Perhaps there were smaller moments throughout the past 10 years that really changed the direction of your life, or our country, for the better.
When you think about it, big things are often made of many smaller things.
Songs are strings of notes, meals are combined ingredients, words add up to make this sentence.
Like the salt in your meal or the smile from a friend on a terrible day, the tiniest things can have substantial impact.
Maybe when we've finished looking at our big moments from the 2019 that was, and our hopes for 2020, we can look for those small but significant milestones in our lives and how we can improve little by little.
In the next month, year and decade, we all have the power to make a difference with the small, consistent things we do. We might not always see the value immediately, but it all matters.
Every effort counts.
We can't blame governments, leaders, or the person next door. It's up to all of us to be the change.
There is value in small things and they can make a huge difference.
Want to help the environment this year? Imagine what all our collective individual attempts could do.
Want the world to be a more caring place? A smile for a stranger can mean more than you'll know.
Time will continue to tick on second by second, minute by minute.
So, what's the question I'm asking myself at the beginning of this decade?
How can I make the most of every moment and action, no matter how small, to help create positive change?
Together we can make our world a healthier and kinder place.
Happy New Year, everyone.
Betina Hughes, journalist, Newcastle Herald