The New Year’s Series

The New Year's Series
During the next couple of days, I’m going to be posting a series of helpful (hopefully) tools to get mentally ready for the new year. This is really more for me than it is for any of you (please believe me, I’m NOT trying to shove my ideas down your throat!) but I figured that I would share what I’m learning and going through during this period of self reflection.

What is the New Year’s Series?
I’ll be touching upon the power of habits, why goal setting is important, how one should plan to meet goals, and some of my new year’s goals. I’ll also do a year in reflection for the blog to share with you all some of my favorite posts from this year. It’s going to be a positive series to make sure we are in the best mindset possible before hitting the ground running on January 2nd.

This series is going to be a lot more personal than the majority of my blog posts. Once the series is complete, I’ll put up a set of links to it here:

Why the New Year’s Series? Here’s the back story:
Now that the holidays are coming to a close (which I’m terribly sad about), we’re going to hear A LOT (and I mean A LOT) about New Year’s resolutions.

Geez, can you feel the stigma attached to that phrase? I sure can.

Usually it makes me shudder and want to roll my eyes. But as of lately, I’ve been mustering up the patience to sit down and listen with an open mind.

You may be wondering why I would shudder at something so positive as a New Year’s resolution. I mean, should someone be rolling their eyes at goal-setting? At bettering oneself? At becoming a better person overall?

Well, my question is, why should someone have to wait until a new calendar year arrives before pursuing a goal that will fall off one’s radar in two weeks. We see this happen all the time. People power through trying to improve themselves only to find themselves slipping back into old habits. Couldn’t someone just start a new goal at the end of April or in Mid-August?

Doesn’t the hoopla surrounding this classic end-of-year buzzword makes you want to rip your hair out sometimes? I’m already seeing big media sites filled with articles on healthy eating, dieting, exercising, and of course on making (and keeping) New Year’s resolutions. Why do people  all of a sudden need to set goals NOW anyway?

To tell you the truth, I never saw the new year as a “fresh start” but I’m only now figuring out why.

As an adult, the New Year is one of the freshest starts you can get. 

As a student, you get quite a few fresh starts. In grade school, starting a new school year is means a clean slate. You’re on to a new grade, maybe even a new school, ready to be better than ever. You’re feeling confident that you’ll be way cooler in the 4th grade than you were in 3rd, or that sophomore year of high school is going to be totally kick-ass now that you know what high school is about. In college, every semester (or in my case, quarter) felt like a new start.

Fresh starts were abundant to us, and as I have come to realize, I somewhat took them for granted. As a student, I actually was always in a mindset where I wanted to better myself every quarter. But as a student, I completely missed the fact that we don’t get so many fresh starts once we’re done with school. And the fresh starts we get aren’t necessarily like the clean slates we would get in school.

There were plenty of opportunities as a college student to get a fresh start, which meant that the idea of having New Year’s resolutions bothered me even more.

Even more did the point I mentioned before about waiting for a calendar year to elapse to set a goal make me want to rip my hair out. I was constantly given opportunities to have a fresh start. Didn’t everyone else see that they could start goal setting any time?

Then came along a more real adulthood.

After graduating and working for a few years now, I’ve come to realize there isn’t really a fresh start. You don’t get new classes and professors every 10 weeks. Your report card isn’t new every quarter. You pretty much stick with the same group of people, same bosses, and same company for a few years at a time before moving on to the next opportunity. And even then, you may be moving on to a company in the same industry where things are run similarly or where former coworkers and new coworkers are connected. Sure, maybe getting a new project or transferring to another team is a new start to an extent, but not in the same way as in school. In school, you pretty much get a fresh start at everything. New classes, new teachers, new books, new clubs, and new friends. Even if you get a new start in adulthood, like say a new job, the rest of your life is likely to be static.

Of course, one may argue that the fact we don’t get a completely clean slate is good so that we are stable, but my point really is that a completely clean slate is no longer available.

With all that being said, I’ve really come to start appreciating New Year’s as a time to reset and set goals for the year, especially since I’d personally consider 2013 to have been a…how shall I say…rocky time in my life. I don’t usually use my blog to express personal views and shove my opinions down your throat but given the outcome of 2013, I wanted to use my blog as a way to keep my mind in the right place and really make some changes in my life. Plus, I wanted to share the experience I’m going through with you, if you’re interested. Since I didn’t experience 2013 the way I wish I did in hindsight, I think it would be helpful for me to set my goals and expectations for 2014 as soon as possible so that I don’t have a 2013 repeat (oh god).

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