As the calendar automatically ushers in a new year, we force ourselves to erase old habits, eliminate unproductive rituals, and clarify our life’s purpose. This is a common period of reflection, recollection, and introspection for most. Though the holidays can often deliver a mixed bag of emotions, most new years are filled with the joys of new opportunities and new possibilities. It’s an exciting time.
Friends gather at vision board parties to paint clear pictures of what they want this unblemished, new year to bring. Some begin drafting lists of all of the books that they hope to read within the next twelve months. Others begin planning stay-cations, road trips, and long get-aways as a way of staying on top of their self-care needs, and gyms will be packed with those hoping to finally make a commitment to wellness. But by the time March rolls around, most vision boards will be forgotten, the book-reading will have come to a slow halt, self-care will be abandoned, and most gyms will look like ghost towns compared the January bustle that once was.
It’s common to feel the internal tug and guilt as your new routines begin to fade away in February. You fight with yourself, desperately trying to prove that you have what it takes to go the distance this year. Each productive day is followed by two unproductive ones, and you can’t seem to understand why you’re failing. You want to change; you want to become this updated version of yourself; but everything seems to be getting in your way.
How do you keep the promises that you made to yourself? How do you become the best version of yourself if you’re constantly pushing Reset every January 1st? My answer: start slow and start over.
As opposed to aiming for the decathlon, focus on building your physical endurance. So often we unknowingly set ourselves up for failure by biting off far more than we can chew. Try setting yourself up for success by setting smaller goals. And guess what? If that goal is reached before December, you’re allowed to set a new goal in the middle of the year. Don’t get lulled into the calendar’s trance. January doesn’t own the deed to goal-setting and recalibrating.
That’s actually a pretty amazing concept. That means that if I reach my goal in May, I’m allowed to set a new goal. It also means that if I find that I’ve fallen off of the wagon by March, I haven’t failed. The only failure is in giving up. I am allowed to adjust and start over. Adjust and start over. And let me tell you, there is no shame in that. In fact, I can’t think of a better
way to build your confidence. As everyone else around you throws in the towel, you persist. As everyone else around you calls it quits, you draw a line in the sand and begin again.
Are you really interested in becoming that very best version of yourself? This is how you get there. You start slow, and you start over.
Jasmynne-Shaye Robbins is the author of Still Standing and The Golden Penny. She is also the writer, producer, and performer of the acclaimed one-woman show, Stepping On a Few Toes. Connect with Jasmynne-Shaye at JasmynneShaye.com.