Just a few days ago we entered into a brand new year, giving each of us a clean slate and a chance to start over and I, for one, am excited. If you are anything like me, once the calendar gets to November, you give up on changing anything for the rest of that year and put off all sense of betterment until the clock reads 12:01 a.m. on January 1. It’s not that I think the last two months of the year are a lost cause; it is more that I am generally so busy, any attempt to begin a new habit would be futile.
However, come that fateful day each January, I vow to make a fresh start. I forgive myself of my indiscretions from the past year and set goals of what I want to accomplish in the new one; generally planning to exercise on a daily basis, put a little money from each paycheck into my savings and to at least start working on the novel that I have always wanted to write. I have the best of intentions and usually make some progress through the first month of the year or so.
Yet, then it seems something always gets in the way; I get a cold and don’t feel like exercising for a week, I spend what little extra money I have on new clothes, or I write so much at work the last thing I want to do when I come home is write some more. More often than not I end up feeling like I have failed myself in some way, even when I have tried my best and made some form of advancement in achieving my goals.
While I was working on this column, I started thinking about all the things I want to do to better myself in 2013. The list is growing longer by the minute and if I look at it realistically, I’m sure I will miss something on any given day. But just because I am too tired to go to the gym one day, it doesn’t mean I should cross it off my list of things to do for the rest of the year; it is only January 4, I still have 361 more days to start back up.
Making a change at the beginning of the year is a good plan in my opinion, but not allowing for any setbacks in 12 months time is unrealistic. Unless you are as perfect as the Almighty Himself, it is not likely to happen. We are going to slip up and fall back into old habits because they are just that, habits. But fret not, we are all given a second chance; each day you wake up is its own version of New Years Day and you have the opportunity to make a change if you so wish.
I found a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that is something I feel we should all keep in mind. He said, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.” If we follow his advice, then hopefully 2013 will be off to a great start. Happy New Year!