I’m not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions. Most people fail at them within a few weeks. So then they give up… until next year.
But hold on! Maybe there’s a better way to approach self-improvement, one goal at a time.
The start of the new year, in my opinion, just one occasion for creating change. Think about how many new beginnings occur every year:
- New Year’s Day, first of the year, start of the First Quarter (in business)
- Beginning of Winter Quarter/Winter Semester (in school)
- The first day of Spring
- Opening Day in Baseball
- Start of the Second Quarter
- Memorial Day (the “official” start of summer)
- the first day of Summer
- Start of the Third Quarter
- Start of the NFL exhibition season
- Beginning of the School year
- the first day of Autumn
- Start of the Fourth Quarter
- the beginning of the year-end holiday season
- Return from Vacation (any time of year)
- Completion of any long-term project… and the start of another
- Starting a new job
- Getting a promotion
- Starting a new task on the same job
- The start of any new month
- The start of a new week (e.g. Sunday, or Monday…)
- Add your own: _______________
Little Changes, All the Time
Every time you experience a new beginning, you have an opportunity to start over in some area of your life. Will you fail, sometimes? Yes. When you carry a perspective that things are CONTINUALLY new, however, you give yourself permission to fall down, get back up, and try again in a few days or a week, rather than giving up on yourself until next Jan 1.
When you adopt a mindset of “little changes, all the time” you can make self-improvement part of Who You Are, rather than some Big Event that is all scary and hard and ‘different.’
When you fail, you can look to the next “beginning” in your life to restart your efforts in earnest.
Having multiple beginnings in your year also allows you to FOCUS your goals. Instead of having to create change in five major areas in January, pick one. Yes, just One. And let go of the rest, for now. Practice the one shift every day, every day, every day, until it starts to feel routine. Then pull up the next goal and introduce the next little change a few months later, at your next beginning point.
The path to Happiness is not direct and continuous. The path is winding and full of twists and turns and backtracking and sideroads that lead nowhere. Give yourself permission to keep coming back and starting over on the path you really want to take.
Make a list of all the times in a year you can declare a “new beginning.”
You have as many chances as you give yourself!
What a great concept. So wonderful to think of all the new beginning opportunities rather than feeling bad about yourself for having fallen off the wagon. This is a very interesting site.
Karen, this is all about how we look at things, isn’t it? After I wrote this piece a reader reminded me that the word Commencement — which is a name and event we typically associate with endings (graduation from HS and college) — actually means beginning or start. That’s how life is, really: every ending is a beginning, so every time you end one attempt at habit shift, it can be time to start another!