Don’t fall into the New Year trap

201512-pexels-new-year-s-eve-ceremony-champagne-sparkling-wineNew Year’s Day is approaching. With it will come all the predictable talk of resolutions and discipline.

And that stuff is fine. As long as you avoid the New Year trap, which comes in two forms:

  1. Hyping the new year so much that the first time you stumble, you give up and wait for next year’s resolutions.
  2. Focusing on January 1 so much that you miss other opportunities throughout the year to change course.

The power of a new year is that it feels like a new beginning. When you wipe the slate clean, you feel empowered to try new things. You can forget past failings. All eyes on the future.

And that’s great. It really is. The problem is there’s nothing magical about January 1. So when this power is focused toward a single date on the calendar, its versatility is lost. The new year feels all-or-nothing. And all-or-nothing rarely leads to all.

You’re going to see a thousand articles about how to set meaningful resolutions, and how to fight through the obstacles that will get in your way. Some of those articles will be good. But you’ve seen them before, and you’ll see them again.

I’m not throwing a wet blanket on the New Year talk. I’m arguing that you should embrace the power of releasing the past…all year long.

Every day is an opportunity to start fresh. Every past mistake is an opportunity for you to learn something new and be compassionate toward yourself. You don’t have to wait for January 1 to rid yourself of these burdens.

If the New Year’s traditions work for you, that’s great. Use them. You have a lot of company, and you can gather great strength from the support of others in a similar position.

But be mindful of other times when it will be helpful to “start fresh”, so to speak. It’s not a once a year thing.

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