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Start where you are

You know that cliché analogy for the first day of the new year: “Today is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.”I’m not really a fan of putting so much expectation on just one day just because it happens to have a change of digit at the year-end. After all 1 January 2020 is just the day after 31 December 2019, were it not for the change in the year, so it’s just another ordinary day, really. The trouble is most of us place grand expectations on that one day and how it will miraculously turn our lives around on the virtue that it just happens to be the first day of a new year.

I’d rather abide by the adage, “Start as you mean to go on.”As well as, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”“Start where you are” doesn’t emphasise a date chosen and put on a pedestal through the mere circumstances of its placement in the calendar.

“Use what you have” acknowledges limitations we have on our skills and possessions.“Do what you can” allows for human mediocrity; it upholds “what you can” over “your best.”

“Start as you mean to go on” is a promise – you don’t really have to start on a date; as long as you mean to carry on the same way, you can start any day. It has the promise and lightness of a non-New Year’s Day resolution – all the hope of accomplishing a goal, without the fear of failure that comes with having made a decision with a deadline. The freedom of waking up on a spring morning or going to bed mid-autumn with a new commitment, knowing deep in your heart of hearts that change is afoot because something deep in your spirit stirs and tells you that you’re ready for it, not because the calendar says it is the day you should.

The main thing to remember is that it begins with you.Isn’t that just the most liberating thought there could be on this, the fourth day of the new year? You’re not bound by a leaf out of the calendar but by your own free will. If you’re thinking for an excuse this weekend to embrace change and take on a new challenge – be it finally chucking in the dead-end job and looking for a fresh start or shedding off the post-Christmas bulge from 2016 – let that notion guide you. Start as you mean to go on, where you are, with what you have, to do what you can.For goodness sake, and yours too, just please don’t call it a New Year’s resolution.

In this article:
Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo
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