You’ve probably heard the phrase “New Year, New Me”. You’ve possibly used this phrase yourself. You probably know that about 8 times out of 10 it turns out to be garbage, and I’m being generous.
It’s a thing. 1st January, the beginning of the new year in the Roman calendar, is a day of many, many promises being made. Only a few are ever kept, but that’s a different matter. Why is it that promises are made on 1/1?
I believe the most reasonable answer is that of the reboot. Often one feels overwhelmed with everything going on in their lives and trying to make even the littlest change seems to be an insurmountable problem. For the average person, having to deal with the grind of daily life, the expectations of friends and family, and of the self, the pain of the previous day and the dread of the next is too much to start a new habit on a random date.
New year offers a reprieve from some of those. New Year’s Day follows a holiday period, both physical and mental, and a time when people spend precious time cherishing, or at least believing that they should cherish, their families. As such, the end of December effectively reduces the negative impact of daily grind and expectations. The pain and dread of things past and things to come are dealt with by the holiday period and the change of year respectively.
Therefore, this is a time where people feel that they can action a change in their life or satisfy a need, wherever it stands on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Actions such as starting a gym habit (safety of health and body, and increase in esteem), saving money (safety of financial well being), being in touch with relatives more (love and belonging) or any act of self-actualization (art and travel come to mind) are common promises made.
But like mentioned before, too few of these promises are really kept and imbibed, or at least the bevy of jokes concerning new year’s resolutions seem to indicate so. So is it really worth the fuss, or are we just deluding ourselves so that we feel better for a while?
As with a lot of things nowadays, the answer, for myself at least, comes from within. Last year, my resolution was to pay more attention to the blog, besides landing a good job and to do well with the last semester of college and I did all of those things. But most importantly I felt a great sense of purpose. As it stands, 2014 was a great year for me. That may have been a coincidence, that may have been unrelated effort, or that may have been the universe in action. Karmic law states that positive begets positive, and doing things and having a plan make me positive.
2015 hasn’t kicked off the same way. I made no resolutions this year, and I was already feeling down until I made my master-list (more on that in a future post), since which I’ve been feeling better. Before that, I felt directionless and underutilised (which to be fair, happens often). My master-list has acted as a substitute for a resolution, in that both provide goals to aspire to.
And that is why I must conclude that New Year’s is an important time, only because we choose it to be. It is a time when the date resets, and we choose to let it mean a reset on our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you rememb… sorry, got lost in a little Doctor Who memory. But it all just disappears, doesn’t it, everything you are, gone in a moment, like breath on a mirror? Sorry (not sorry), Doctor Who references.
The important thing to note that it is important to us, because we make it important to ourselves for a myriad of reasons. In essence, New Year’s Day represents our will to grow and make ourselves better, and to make ourselves less extreme in our behaviour. At the core of the hype, is a will to be better than oneself, and on that positive note, I leave you to ponder. Thank you for reading.