What is different about New Year’s Day from any other day of the year? Nothing. And everything.
New Year’s Day is another day, like the day prior and the day after. Nothing is inherently special about that day… The sun comes up the same way on January 1st as it does on April 23rd, June 5th or any other calendar day.
Yet, it feels different, doesn’t it? It marks a new year and that typically carries a wave of freshness to our lives and gives way to greater collective possibility thinking than any other time of the year. Seems the whole world feels it with us.
One of my favorite books of 2021 is Katy Milkman’s book “How to Change.” In it she talks about the Fresh Start Effect is a key trigger to us wanting to start something new. The reason, she says, is that psychological research suggests that we view our lives in episodic fashion. So the ending of something and the beginning of something else (a calendar year) create an incredibly satisfying fresh start.
Let’s take full advantage of New Year’s Day and use it as the springboard to create the best you.
With this yearly built-in fresh start, we have environmental motivation to do something great! We see and hear others doing and saying the same thing. “This year I’m going to get in shape.” “This year I’m going to build my business.” The list goes on and it’s awesome enthusiasm. Go with it!
Motivation comes easy because of the fresh start. Our slate is blank and the past is put in its rightful place – the past.
So, make those New Year’s resolutions. Don’t be scared of them because they haven’t worked for you in the past or because people like to say they don’t work. Frankly, another way to say “New Year’s resolutions” is simply “goals.
Regardless of what you call it – a goal or a resolution – the 2nd phase is more critical. It’s the how. How will you meet your goal or realize the outcome of the resolution?
This is where the problems come in. Most people go directly to the action. Action is important, no question. There’s something even more important than just what you’ll do. It’s answering “Who do you want to become?”
Your “who” is critical. It’s who you are that informs what you’ll do for a long period of time. Our identity is really the goal to be chasing.
James Clear writes in his book “Atomic Habits” that our goal shouldn’t be, for example, “lose weight,” rather “be healthy.” Why? Well, losing weight is hard and no fun. It also requires that you have to do things. And, the worst part of the goal of losing weight is actually hitting your goal. Because, once the goal is complete, you go back to whatever you were doing before… thus the weight comes back.
Instead, when we “become healthy” it informs our diets and our exercise. Hopefully it also extends to our mindset and relationships. Eating well is not a chore to a healthy person. Consistent workouts are simply what you do when you’re a healthy person. Then a reduction in weight is a byproduct of being healthy. The identity is what creates the chain of events in the action that allows for the body you desire. And, because you’re healthy, your body more easily stays that way.
In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) teachings we call it: Be. Do. Have. When you have the motivation to change, make your identity the focus and when you do, everything else falls into place.
Take advantage of the new year’s fresh start and use it to become the person that has everything you want. It’s all possible this year, isn’t it?