Could it be time to abandon our belief in the power of the New Year?
Posted 26th January 2020
By Mark Nathan Willetts
At the same time every year, the sentiment for the New Year builds up before culminating in a plethora of well wishes and colourful firework flashes across the sky.
It can be a very positive time of the year; a time to reflect and make resolutions for making improvements within our lives for the year to come, so that each new year will hopefully be better than the one that came before.
And yet, isn’t the very premise of a new year holding a significant difference for our lives actually quite flawed, and perhaps even counterproductive? Because, whilst a distinctive symbolic marker for “making a new start” can have a certain appeal, it must be questioned – what stops each and every one of us from making impactful changes for our lives on any other day of the year?
For the past few years, myself and a few of my friends have stopped viewing the build-up to Christmas and New Year as a ticking countdown towards diving in to a fresh start; and instead have been approaching each of December’s final days as an almost game show like time limit, where we challenge ourselves to see just how much we can get done before the new year starts.
But even such challenge does not have to be held specifically for one period of time; as the sense of closure that December seemingly brings, and the “fresh start” that New Year heralds, are purely imaginary. And although the combined group focus and belief of power for a new year may be comforting, it has to be said that the passage of time will rarely improve a person’s circumstances alone.
A new year will not make life better. Only we can do that! The power is within the control of each and every one of us. And although there could be things about our circumstances that each of us may not be able to change for one reason or another, there will always be aspects of our lives that we can change to make life better, and often things that we can work on continually everyday to make things better for the future.
I am sure that most of us will have heard of more than one person that has broken a New Year resolution; which can be totally understandable if we consider that once the impression of a “magical” imagined “future perfect” has begun to fade, the January blues can quite easily take hold, as reality suddenly strikes and a person realises that life in January is much the same as it was in December.
A change in year doesn’t necessarily signal a change for us, because in reality the necessary development for our life must fought for. And if we don’t fight each and every day to make our lives better, even if only for the smallest adjustment of improving our attitude and well being, then it can be quite easy for our hopes to be corked within a bottle; much like a genie buried away until the following New Year celebrations.
The fact is that if a person wants to become fitter and improve their health, then they can start any day, but must also continue to take advantage of each of the following days until they observe the positive gains that they would be happy with.
Likewise, if a person wishes to set up a business, or make a project happen, then they must try to live it and begin setting the groundwork for the reality of the idea immediately. Then step by step, day by day, they have to keep working towards building the strength of that reality; rather than visiting the exciting vision each New Year like a ghost of Christmas future.
It must be said that we don't need to abandon our investment or enjoyment of the new year altogether, as the act of coming together, celebrating, and sharing joy, will always bring a familiar and much needed comfort for many of us. However, it might be good to retire the “New year, new me” mentality that has become so powerfully entangled with the principle of the New Year.
Instead, it can be much more beneficial to have a "new me" mentality each and every day. And through such an attitude we can question “what now?” within each 24 hour period, and determine how to squeeze the maximum amount of benefit from each day from the hundreds of days within a year. And enable ourselves to capitalise on the thousands of days available to us within our life time, so that we can make each and every moment count within the life that we have been blessed with.
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Mark Nathan Willetts is a creative entrepreneur from Nottingham, England. His artistic work has been exhibited internationally. And he has worked as an educator and senior editor at companies such as Experian and Velawoods.
"We must continually grow until our ideas converge for a better future"
- Mark Nathan Willetts