It’s the first night of Chanukah. You’ve got a Chanukah menorah in front of you with eight little cups for oil or candles. But you only light one (plus the shamash–but that doesn’t count). Tomorrow you’ll light two. The next day, three. Until you get to eight.

I know it sounds simple and obvious. But think about it for a minute. If you have an opportunity to light eight lights and bring all that light to shine right now, what are you waiting for? What’s this step-by-step incremental process all about?

It’s all about making real change. You see, your goal isn’t just to make a big flash of light and then walk away all burnt out. Your goal is to make yourself a shining light and your world an enlightened place.

And the only way to do that is in incremental steps.

Say you want to start keeping kosher. First, start buying kosher meat and other products. Then start separating milk and meat. Get used to that and then you can make your kitchen kosher. It’s all step-by-step, just like the menorah.

The same with being a nicer person. Or becoming a more giving person. Or studying more Torah. Or attending synagogue services regularly. Real changes of habit only come through small, incremental steps.

Wherever you’re at in life, know you haven’t yet arrived. There’s a whole line of lamps waiting for you to light. But arriving is not what counts. What counts is that you’re on the right path, moving upward.