It’s the first week of the New Year and many people are making bold, sweeping resolutions. The parking lots at the local health clubs are full; the organic food aisles are crowded and workplaces are busy with the fine-tuning of new goals. Friends and families are pledging to get together more often.

I love the uplift of a big dream, the seduction of an imagined breakthrough in my life. Hey, it’s all good. But, by itself, not terribly effective in the long run.

What we can overlook is the power of the small choices we make minute by minute. Life gives us 1440 minutes each day. That’s 10,080 minutes in a week and 524,160 in a year.

Our life is determined by the small actions we take.

Life gives us many chances – hundreds each day – to do it right. To make the choices that shape our life experience – day by day. And of the lives of everyone we meet along the way. If we make a mistake or miss an opportunity, we get another shot. As long as we are breathing, we are only one choice away from getting back on the right path.

Small decisions mean a lot. A jelly donut or a nutritious shake? Take the elevator or the stairs? Smile or scowl? Stay up watching TV or get an extra hour of sleep? Let the other driver into your lane or block him out? Call a friend or let the moment pass? Do the work or put it off? Volunteer or hope someone else does?

Our small actions give us our life. Not so much the state of the economy, or politics of the day, the latest disaster or the opinions of others.

The good news? We’re in charge of our small actions.

Small actions work like compound interest. A little put in the bank every week pays off big over time. And, as a bonus, our small actions pay off right away as well. We gain more confidence when we exercise power over decisions we can control. By letting go of things that don’t really matter. By forgiving people who cross us. Or forgiving ourselves when we make a mistake. By keeping ourselves in the driver’s seat of our lives.

So dream big, you bet. Imagine great things, absolutely.

And then go out and take the small actions that bring you alive every day.