It’s the start of a new year. You can forget about last year and all the mistakes it’s been marked with. Hope is abundant as we look forward and plan to make each element in our lives better. It’s time for a fresh start. You’d better do it now before the opportunity passes and you have to wait another eleven months for January to come round again.
I’ve been thinking about the concept of starting over. Routines are broken over Christmas and New Year, and so it’s hard not to think about our lives as we slow down for a couple of weeks. After using this time of year as an excuse for excess, what usually follows is an overload of “I must give ups”, and “I must start doings”. Good approach, works every time right?
Plans are so shiny and bright that you feel invincible. Surely you’re going to succeed in every task you set? But after a few weeks, when the shine’s worn off and the effort that it takes to make progress feels too much, we veer off track. And that’s the end of that.
It’s one little thing at a time. You’ll have moments where you won’t want to train, so you don’t. You don’t care about your nutrition or sleep, so you let that slide. Doesn’t matter that you gave up drink because you really need to relax with a glass of wine. Losing motivation at work makes getting up in the morning that much harder. All that hope slowly drains away. But improving your life and improving yourself doesn’t have to be done through this annual unsustainable pattern.
Starting over is uncomfortable and confrontational because it means facing the reality of whatever your situation is, and it means letting go of whatever it is you feel you’ll be nothing without. That can be a habit, a person, a place, a job. But starting over can also mean the difference between happiness and growth through aggressive ups and downs, and standing still with little or no satisfaction in the life you’re living. Which one would you choose? I’ve had to start over in the past few years numerous times. I’ve quit so many jobs, started relationships almost as fast as I’ve ended them, injuries and illness have stripped my training right down to basics, I left England. I came back. And I’d change none of it, because every experience good or bad has helped me take a step forwards. I’ve never waited for the new year to make changes, I make them when they need to be made.
It’s scary as hell to make big, extreme life changing decisions, but it can sometimes be scarier to look at yourself on a day to day basis and acknowledge your mistakes, of which there will always be many, as well as your achievements. The reality is we do start over every day. You don’t need the excuse of the new year to do better, or be better. Find a way to move forwards and focus on the next steps. Ask yourself what it is you want and how can you make this sustainable. Figuring out what you need to be happy is an ongoing process of trial and error. It doesn’t suddenly stop on the 1st of February.
It is important to look back over the year and reassess where you’re at. But don’t berate yourself if you haven’t made one hundred and one brand new life goals. You have the choice to do this whenever you want to, and maintain changes for as long as you want. We improve every day, we have the luxury of time, and we all have far more inside us than we realise. You are so much stronger than you realise. Yes, you, the person reading this right now. So whatever change you want to make for yourself, do it without fear. Start over each day and make it count. Tomorrow, be stronger.