Time has taught me that each new year is full of Groundhog Days and with that reference I mean the Bill Murray holiday movie and not the day when a furry creature does or doesn’t see its shadow.
Let me explain.
On New Year’s Eve while people counted down, drank champagne, smooched and hugged their loved ones, and watched the Times Square ball drop, I bet many of those same folks considered a bevy of resolutions: measurable ones like losing weight or self-improvement ones like being kinder.
But here’s my 2016 confession: I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t believe in them. For many years my January 1st resolve petered out and my ‘fail’ left me feeling meh.
However, I do believe in striving to become the best version of me that I can be.
So after years of resolution disillusion, my little internal voice asked, “If a New Year’s plan expires before the gallon of milk I bought at the end of December, does that mean the whole plan goes down the drain?”
The answer: No way.
Instead, I now see every day as an opportunity to reboot waylaid goals—a.k.a, a personal Groundhog Day where though all may appear the same, I have the power to change past behaviors. A time to begin again.
It’s something I put into practice four years ago with the idea to run my first marathon. My January 1, 2012 plan to start training fell short. I revived it in April, and then on November 4th of that year, I completed my first-ever marathon. Two years ago, I was struggling to shed ten pounds. January 1st diet plans didn’t last until President’s Day. Mid-February, I dusted off my resolve and by the end of summer, I’d shed the weight.
So if by the time you read this some of your best intentions haven’t panned out, don’t fret. Today is as good a day as any January 1st will ever be. And that day doesn’t have to be a Monday either, because Tuesday or Wednesday can be perfectly fine days to start something new.
So what’s a resolution-adverse gal like me going to do in 2016 without a list of grand goals? I’m so glad you asked, because I’ve created a Gratitude Jar, an idea I stumbled upon in late-December while surfing the Internet. Throughout the year I’ll write down the things I’m grateful for as they happen—be it a piece of writing accepted for publication or a new recipe that turns out to be a winner—and then I’ll tuck them in my jar. At the end of 2016, I’ll get to read them and I am smitten by the idea of coming to the end of 2016 with a few handfuls of fortune cookie-like slips to remind me of all the good things that transpired.
And if “life happens” in 2016 and my jar goes light on gratitude for a week, a month, or even three, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean the whole idea is a goner.
I will not wait until January 1,, 2017 to begin again. Any day can be my new year if I choose.
It’s up to me.
There’s a reason for the old saying, If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. To that I’m attaching this addendum: Try again on whatever day suits you, whatever time of day you want—be that morning, noon or night.
There are 365 days in a calendar year and any one of them can be the first day in your personal new year.
Now it’s up to you, too.