January First. It’s so tempting to declare today a new start, something significant, an obvious reason to make goals and checklists and SPREADSHEETS and for someone who looks for ANY reason to make a new spreadsheet.
There are a couple of reasons to treat this day like any other. One is to avoid disappointment of failing to keep up with resolutions. Another reason is that well, it IS just a day like any other. We place significance on new years, months, birthdays…we have probably all delayed starting a task until the clock read a nice round on-the-hour time. We feel as if we have to have an official start.
But we can start over at any time.
And more effectively: we can make small changes at any time.
Why suddenly declare to eat completely healthily, for example, when it’s probably more of a realistic and less painful challenge to cut back a little bit at a time?
I’m not arguing against resolutions per se. Just advising against the pressure to make grand overambitious ones just because the calendar told you to. No need to wait for a pretty-sounding day to start forming a new habit, and no need to glorify this day over any other.
And January 1st? It’s a weird mark in pretty much everyone’s year. It makes more sense for me to divide time into terms in Oxford and vacations at home, meaning SIX “new years” per year! Those are more legitimate starts and finishes for me, so it makes sense to evaluate and take action during those times.
I do have to give credit to this day – January First – for the unity it inspires. It’s the one day each year in which the most minds are whirring with reflection, privately or through their first blog posts in a week or so. It is the day that everyone around the world shares.
(Except maybe China.)
(Nope, just googled it. They were celebrating last night.)
(So they get TWO new yearses!)