Happy? New Year

A family member in the hospital.

A lack of knowledge as to whether I shall be able to complete my student teaching while getting paid, or whether I’ll be able to complete it at all or put off the hope of a livable wage for another six months.

The apartment without heat for the past two days, leaving it frigid.

The first time I attempt to exercise this new year, I pull a groin muscle.

My writing grows stale. Forgotten. Left behind in the wake.

I struggle to work on a novel I was supposed to have finished in November.

This feels like an incredibly whiny post, to which I apologize.

Resolutions? I always thought those were silly. If you were to start a habit simply because you change the calendar, how strong could your willpower be to actually keep that habit?

Yet I find myself here, I find myself doing the same thing. Thinking I’ll change this or that, start this new thing, keep a schedule, update regularly, etc.

Why is the new year so appealing? So fresh. So New. So full of hope, opportunities, possibilities. The promise of a blank slate or a white canvas or the vast ocean. Promise of adventure. Excitement. The appeal to start anew.

We feel that every time, when the snow comes, the ball drops, the crowds cheer, the kiss that does or does not happen. A new day. A new year. This time, we can change. This time, we can start running. This time, we can keep the weight off. This time, we can be a better version of ourselves, the best version.

The feeling fades, though, as the new year grows stale. The newness evaporates, like that new-car smell. It just becomes another year. A similar year. A year where we continue to be the same or similar version of ourselves we always figured we would be. Days go by.

Same shit, different day. We return to our habits, return to the things perhaps we wanted to change, return to old form. We figure next year, we can change, next year, we will make a resolution. So it goes.

The issue isn’t making resolutions when we begin a year. Many people scoff at those who make resolutions when the new year comes. Why do something simply because you have to replace your calendar? The truth is we shouldn’t scoff, at least they are trying to improve or better themselves in some way. Some see the new year as a new beginning and what’s the harm in that? New beginnings are hopeful.

I think, though, to be successful in changing behavior, you cannot simply see the new year as a new beginning, refreshing, inviting, exciting, full of potential…But to see every day in that way. Every day is new, every day can bring change, potential, possibilities. Bring hope every morning.

Wake up and realize today can be the day you work for the better. Was today not such a good day? Did you return to old habits? Think about why, then welcome tomorrow. A new day to try, to change, to take steps.

It’s easy to visualize and imagine all the things we want to do in a year, but difficult to break those goals down into managable steps. What can you do today to work toward those goals, those resolutions? What can you do tomorrow? If you falter, do not give up, try again. See the new. One day of failure can begin a whole shameful week of giving up, becoming a month, until you see uselessness in trying again. Do not think yearly. Do not think one misstep begins a fall to failure. Catch yourself. Pick yourself up. Get ready for the next day, the next hour, the next minute, the next moment.

Maybe you messed up today, or five minutes ago. Leave that behind. What are you going to do this moment? The next? How are you going to work toward those goals?

Act towards your goals first. Ask questions later.

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