January 1st might be the most hopeful day of the year.
The first breath we breathe as we open our eyes on the first day of the New Year seems to carry a little more oxygen to our lungs than the last conscious breath of December 31. We know it’s symbolic; we know the day is not really so different from the 365 before it; and yet this knowledge doesn’t weaken the symbolic weight of a fresh start. Because it is a new day in a new year and we can be new people, if we want.
But something happens day by day, as we open our eyes each morning and breathe in that first breath of the day, and that breath no longer seems to carry a surplus of oxygen. The symbol is gone, and sometimes it takes us a while to even remember what day it is, because Monday and Tuesday and every other day starts blending together.
In January we were resolved to be new and different and better.
In February we are resigned to the reality that excitement has an expiration date and commitment is really damn hard.
What if we were able to give new meaning to the lull in our motivation? And what if this new meaning turned those lull’s into no more than temporary plateaus in the longer journey up the mountain to achieve all of those resolutions we thought were written in stone?
In the book “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” Daniel H. Pink observes that “Elite performers have something in common: They’re really good at taking breaks.” What if this applied not only to each work day, or taking a vacation every once in a while, but also to the less tangible concept of motivation? What if embracing the dip in inspiration after a season of intense self reflection and goal setting could actually contribute to the likelihood of us finishing the year having fulfilled our commitments, accomplished our goals, and become a bit more like the people we set out to be?
Eleven months from now, when you are looking back on 2022, if you feel regret about all of the resolutions you failed to stick to, the goals you gave up on, and the personal growth you didn’t prioritize, it won’t be because of a brief lull in motivation. It won’t be because on February 2nd and 3rd and 4th you failed to take the actions that would lead to change. It will be because the small plateau became so comfortable, you decided to build a house and stay; when it should have been only a short respite from hard work, where you caught your breath and rested your body before continuing your journey up the mountain.
This year, I hope you remember that a pause does not have to become permanent; a day does not have to become a month and a month does not have to become a year. The symbol of a fresh start, the reminder to get moving, does not have to be assigned only to January 1, and in fact, must be a card we play over and over and over again if we truly desire progress.
We’re rooting for you,
Megan and Rebel