When something doesn’t go the way we want it to, we often long for a “do-over.” The concept of “New Year” as a holiday is the ultimate do-over. We create a big celebration on its eve, and all of us jump into the do-over together. In the softball game of Life, if you were losing 12-0 in 2013, this is your chance to say “new game!” If you were winning 12-0, you get to declare victory and hopefully move on to another one.
Who doesn’t find the idea of a fresh, clean slate seductive? It’s a blank canvas to design your new life. If you don’t like what’s happened in the last year, flush it! If you didn’t reach some goals, hit the reset button! If you like how things are going, it’s time to ask “what else might I achieve, or become?”
Making a collective holiday of just one day a year to set new intentions is genius in a way, and so artificial in another. Genius because so much collective focus means that millions more people actually reflect on their lives and set new goals at New Year’s than at any other time of the year. There’s some real power in that. And it’s artificial because the same thing could arguably be done on any day, and every day (and hey, that’s what I do as a coach with my clients). We always have a fresh start if we claim one.
New Year’s Day is tied for my favorite day of the year (my other favorite is the day in the fall when we set the clocks back an hour, creating the illusion having an extra hour that day. Is that not the best?) I love having today be recognized as a holiday, giving me permission to take the time to reflect and plan. And I love that it comes so quickly after Christmas, which to me is about hope and generosity. Hope is the foundation for setting new intentions. Without hope, we would not try.
Over the years, I’ve created many different models for setting intentions and goals. I did two big Vision Boards last year, and I think they’re still valid for this year. So for 2014, I’ve created 3 categories: How I want to grow (change), tangible goals I want to accomplish, and a list of habits I want to create that will leverage my growth and achieving my goals.
Out of those habits, I’m choosing just one as my Keystone Habit – the one that will provide the highest leverage, even if I did no others. It sounds crazy, but it’s going to bed at 10 PM. It’s really hard for me and it’s almost always within my control. I know that when I’m successful with that one thing, it will leverage a bunch of other things. I’m also creating a list of crappy habits I want to break. Oops, using sloppy language like “crappy” is on that list.
So Happy New Year it is! Always, because who doesn’t love a do-over?