As soon as Christmas is over, we start looking toward New Years. A new start. A beginning.
This is indicative of the way we live our everyday lives. We often say things (and much more often think things) like, “just six more weeks until our trip”, “the weekend is just around the corner”, etc. We are constantly measuring our lives by the reprieve, and perceived fresh start, just around the corner.
The Trouble With Newness
The problem with newness is it rarely happens out of nowhere.
As a kid, New Years Day was always my favorite holiday. To me, it represented a fresh start, a new beginning.
What always troubled me was how much the new day felt like the old day. January 1st bears a striking resemblance to December 31st. And, the real point here, January 5th looks even more like December 28th.
The trouble with newness is that it happens on the heels of what we are currently experiencing. We put a lot of hope in the newness. We want the calendar to turn and change everything. The pile of unaccomplished resolutions in February show us just how little we change.
And I think the reason we change so little is because we put the cart before the horse. We think the changes in our lives will come as a result of an arbitrarily new circumstance. The calendar will inspire us to change our habits.
But this is not how we operate. Our choices change our circumstances, not the other way around.
The best and most underrated thing we can do to make the most of a new season is end the old one well. The person you are on the last days of December will have a huge say in what you say and do the early days of January.
We are people of patterns. Habits are powerful and very hard to break. We cannot rely on the turning of the calendar, an upcoming vacation, or the weekend break to turn us into better characters. Better character is the result of better choices.
And so, as the new year approaches, here is your reminder that a current year is ending. Make the most of it. The way your year ends affects the way the new year will begin.
We cannot put so much hope in the calendar change. It is no true shortcut. We need to take ownership of the hard work of intentional living, character building, pattern redemption, and the beautiful opportunities of the present.