New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday. Don’t ask me why, because I wouldn’t be able to reasonably explain it, especially when there are so many other “important” holidays: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, to name a few. But, there’s always been something special about New Year’s to me.
My family never does anything special for the holiday. A typical New Year’s Eve consists of my dad, mom, sister, and I eating a good meal, maybe dancing a little bit in the living room while Dick Clark’s “Rockin’ New Year’s Eve” plays on television and we wait for the ball in Times Square to drop. The truly magical part of New Year’s — apart from the commercialized image of champagne, glitter, and that romantic New Year’s Eve kiss — is the global idea of a fresh start.
What is it about this idea of a fresh start or new year that seems to resonate with the entire human population? Throughout history, humans have improved and built upon previous generations, and although we see new discoveries occurring in our own day, like paper straws and Bitcoin, it seems like my generation is fairly complacent and comfortable.
People now question the importance and lasting influence of New Year’s resolutions because they seem outdated and likely to fail, but isn’t that why we set goals? So that we can refer back to them when we do mess up and refocus ourselves? If we don’t think through our goals and try again when we fail, will we have a direction going into the new year? Without a target or an end, we will not only grow stagnant in society, we will digress.
With a new year comes new fears and new failures, but it also comes with an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and right our wrongs.
People are usually uncomfortable with the idea of small goals, always wanting to aim for the biggest, brightest, and boldest goals first, and on top of that, to do it right the first time. This is wishful thinking. We are human beings prone to error and inevitable failure, but what we find in the New Year’s celebration is that humans want to be better.
People are usually uncomfortable with practical goals, too. Individuals find that they want to drop half their body weight in an overly-ambitious, daily workout routines, or travel to seven different countries in a single year. If we don’t recognize the beauty in the mundane everyday life and find goals to complement our daily lives, we will never feel accomplished or capable of success.
Take procrastination, for example. Begin with a small and practical goal like beginning each week by writing a to-do list and the days those tasks need to be completed by, or breaking your bad habit of not responding to emails after you read them. Maybe a month in, you find yourself scrambling and back to your old procrastination routine. Start again — it’s still 2019 after all! New Year’s is a beautiful holiday that anyone can participate in, but many choose to sit on the sidelines while those who are willing to fearlessly fail actually succeed. Don’t be one of them. 2019 has only just begun so set goals, remember these goals, fail, but get back on it.
In this new year, seek discomfort. Think of something in your own life that needs improvement, though that needed change may not be easy to admit. Then, write it down. Make it tangible. Be able to look at it, and have it stare you down too.