Beginning a New Year

Ah, 2010. We’ve finally come into a new year with new opportunities to change and grow. I’m finally going to finish writing that novel, lose that twenty kilos, stop drinking and – Oh! Leftover Christmas pudding!

Darn. Maybe I’ll do it in 2011.

I have always regarded each new year with a degree of apathy, even growing up. While I recognize the cultural significance of coming into a new year, that’s where the bus stops. Wiping the slate clean for a brand new year sounds great, but it rarely happens when you have all those unfortunate New Year’s Eve incidents starting with kissing your girlfriend’s best friend at midnight (oops) and ending with smacking the wrong person on the bum while getting off the train to go home.

Of course, you might not wake up with memories of these incidents. If so, consider your slate cleaned.

I suppose what really doesn’t work for me in regards to the new year traditions is the New Year Goal List. Something like half the goals set at the beginning of the year will fail in one way or another by the end of January. Do you really have to wait that extra eleven months to give it another go?

I think not.

You could say that moving across the world has given me the personality trait of frequent self-reinvention. After all, you don’t truly know who you are or what you hold dear (and what about yourself you would like to change) until you leave it all behind for a significant amount of time. However, I have always been one to make goals throughout the year rather than at one particular point – especially not on New Years or my birthday.

Some people say that it’s too much pressure to make a goal or goals on New Year’s Eve. It’s all about bettering yourself for the year, which is huge and prone to failure.

Sure, that’s part of it, but I think it’s more of an excuse than anything else.

Look at it this way: You make the goal (likely not for the first time) to lose that twenty kilos this year. Australia Day rolls around, you have the dessert at your friend’s barbie and BAM! You’ve fallen off the wagon. Instead of getting back on, you think ‘screw this’ because it was your ‘new year’ goal and you’ve just screwed it up.

Magically, you don’t have to worry about the weight loss for the rest of the year. Oh, sure, you might think about it, but it won’t be the same quality goal (if a goal at all) as it was when you started because it’s not a ‘New Year’s Goal’.

And that is the kind of mentality I have avoided all my life, because I would much rather believe that there is never a better day to reinvent yourself than today.

This all being said, I don’t mean to pop anyone’s bubble of enthusiasm for 2010. I think a new year does represent something almost mystical in quality, like a new car still fresh with that ‘new car’ smell. The kind of thing that makes you want to take off your shoes before you drive so you don’t mess up the new floor mats.

But a new year shouldn’t be the only event that makes you feel that way. Add in your birthday and you have two starting points per year.

Yes, a brand new starting point is a beautiful thing, but it shouldn’t be exclusive to the new year. You can reinvent yourself at any time. I reinvented myself in October of 2006 when I moved here. I reinvented myself earlier this year when I became a permanent resident.

And they weren’t even on Mondays.

Make your goal list for 2010 and have fun with it, but try doing something bold or a bit strange. Start the moment you finish the list. Or put it away for a fortnight, revise and start then. (Revision is essential, especially if you’re inclined to vow self-improvement in the midst of old friends and older bottles of wine.)

In the end, it’s not about the day, it’s about the changes you want to make for yourself. Sure, January 1st is a good starting point, but you might be surprised at how different you feel about the whole thing if you start December 28th or January 4th.

Until next time...


Jenera said...

I will NOT be making resolutions this year. Instead I will continue on making the changes I've already started to make.

JM said...

That sounds like a great way to go. I was thinking about a 2010 goal just for the year chunk of time, but I don't think I'll go for that.