Growing up in Japan, New Year was always a very important time for us.
The end of the old year would be spent doing a big clean-up of the home, and on New Year’s Day we would get up very early and go to the temple to pray for success in everything that we wanted to achieve that year.
So it was very much a time of new beginnings, new goals, and looking forward to the future. I guess things are not too different here in the West. We all look forward to the New Year and set resolutions for things that we want to change and improve in our life.
Of course a lot of people look forward to making improvements to their health and wellbeing around this time, so they try to give up bad habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Because of this, the next few weeks will see a surge of people joining the gym, as happens every year, and then over the following few weeks and months after that, the numbers will slowly drop back down to normal levels once again.
It’s part of our nature that our emotions fade with time. When something bad happens to us, such as a relationship breakup, we get over it in time. When something exciting happens, such as buying a new house or a new car, in time the novelty dies down.
It’s the same with New Year’s resolutions. People get excited over all the new things they intend to start in the New Year and jump into them with lots of excitement and energy, but then it all slowly fades and more often than not, things soon go back to normal.
The bottom line is that if you’re really serious about starting something new in your life, you don’t need to wait for a certain calendar day to get started, you do it right away. The reason a lot of people make New Year’s resolutions however is that change is always painful, and so it’s sometimes hard to get excited about what they have to do. So they wait for the excitement of the New Year to fuel their actions instead.
The problem is that the excitement of the New Year just doesn’t last. With all the things in our modern lives that take our attention, even after just a week into January the whole feeling of the New Year is usually long forgotten. So resolutions, as exciting as they may seem, just don’t carry a lot of weight.
The secret is to genuinely get excited about your goals, so you don’t need to rely on artificial sources of excitement. Work out your reasons for wanting to change and get excited about those. Immerse yourself in the journey and motivate yourself each and every day so that your excitement never dies.
Remember that emotions and motivation fade over time so you need to recharge yourself regularly. Forget about New Year’s resolutions and focus on making daily resolutions. Each day is a new opportunity for you to improve, and you should resolve to make the most of it.
So from now on, forget about “Happy New Year”. Make your new mantra “Happy New Day”!