“There is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and never return” Marcus Aurelius
If you have broken or completely abandoned your New Year’s resolution this early in the year, don’t worry you are not alone. Truthfully, often it is those who decide to wait until New Year’s Day to introduce important changes to their life that are most likely to “fall off the wagon” and lose their habits.
This begs the question: Why did you wait until New Year’s to adopt important habits? Of course, there’s the obvious symbolism and popularity of the New Year’s resolution. “New year, new you” as the mantra goes. While I think it is great that so many people want to create new disciplines for their life that will have a positive impact in the long run, waiting until a calendar date to implement a new discipline is unnecessary. Simply reaching a certain day does not provide motivation to maintain a newly added behavior.
When you tell yourself “I will wait until next week, month, or year to begin doing __________” you are acknowledging the necessity of the behavior but procrastinating its implementation. If you lack motivation now, why do you think your will be more motivated at a later time? This is not to mention the usual exhaustion and hangovers that accompany celebrating the New Year.
Instead of waiting again until next year to implement a new habit, I invite you to adopt an attitude of “New day, new you.” Epictietus, the Greek Stoic philosopher, puts it well:
“From now on, then, resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside. And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable, or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now: you are at the Olympic Games, you cannot wait any longer…”
If you have have broken or abandoned your resolutions, I encourage you to get back into them. Those who have stuck to their newly added behaviors, I applaud you. If you currently aren’t trying to introduce new habits to grow personally or professionally, I invite you join in the pursuit of growth.
Rogelio H. Charles