When the new wears off, and the old (doesn’t) shine new.

Does anyone actually know how long you say “Happy New Year?” I think it’s just accepted that one day you’re still wishing a happy new year to the cashier and suddenly the response becomes  “Woah, its February, 2019 is 1/6th over!”  This year is no longer new. It’s just this year.  You’re already regretting the things you threw away because that cute lady on Netflix convinced you those wooden spoons had no joy.  Now that we are finally seeing less of the “New year, new me!” commentary, ( I know positivity is my platform, but seriously, same you as December, let’s all be honest here) it’s that time of the year when we start to get back into “ordinary.”  I say it in quotations because it represents a feeling we all know.  That period in which the new has worn off and life goes back to the grind.  The “holidays” are a time period like this too, when regular life gets put on a sort of back burner. In your head you say things like “After the holidays I’m going to eat better.” And “When the holidays are over I’ll call my sister, it’s just so crazy right now.”  January comes and goes, and with it, a big sense of a fresh start. But like all starts, and like Semisonic says, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”  Which is really just a romantic, wordy, ninties- pop-grunge-lovesong way of saying….Where does the beginning stop being the beginning? 

A new year has this wonderful way of making us want to be our best selves. That’s a great thing. A lot of factors can inspire your best self. A new job, a significant other, even just a change of weather.  You feel like “I’m gonna get up early, eat well, go for a jog, study hard, be a great friend, write a book, start a charity, stop world hunger, end corrupt government!” And you get to about “go for a jog” and somehow you’ve lost that forward motion and you’re just trying to make sure there’s groceries in the fridge and that you have enough clean pants for the week.  Some days you won’t even get past “get up early.”  We feel great when we are working towards a better life, but it’s just not realistic to feel this way every day. Inevitably, that “February feeling” creeps up and we all start to lose that New Year vibe. Our goals: personal, physical, and emotional, start to become less important because it’s too hard to keep them a priority. 

How can we keep alive that New Year vibe?  I feel this every year. Admittedly, February and March are my least favorite months of the year.  So this year I’m trying hard to use these months to keep the train moving.  Keep working towards all my goals.  Pushing against that natural sense of “ordinary” that creeps in during these months.  For myself, this year will be especially physically challenging, so one of my biggest goals is to get my body into the healthiest form it can be, so I can take good care of myself.  When the new wears off, you have to find new ways to keep making the old new.  Here are just a few ways to keep up the best self forward motion.  Take one, or take them all.  Try a few and see if they help you.  Above all else, never forget the way you first felt when you put your goals into motion.

  • Write things on a calendar. It’s so simple, but when you look at all you’ve done on paper, the meetings, the appointments, the trips and dinners, you see that you’ve accomplished a lot. See it and be proud of it. Also, it helps you not forget your mother’s birthday.
  • Try making some new morning routines. Maybe a new place to jog or walk. I’m trying to learn some new artisanal coffee preparations, which makes me want to get up in the morning.   
  • Make a note of two or three things you want to do today that will bring that best self closer. I like to write this note in the morning with coffee.  If you don’t do them all, that’s fine. Just looking at them reminds you they are important to you.
  • When you feel overwhelmed, think of small things you are grateful for.  In my industry I see so many people who would love to get up and out of bed, go to the bathroom on their own, dress themselves. This never fails to give my anxiety a little check. I’ve got this. It’s all good. I am lucky.
  • Take a bath instead of a shower if you have the time. Studies show the attention paid to our grooming habits greatly increases our feelings towards our self worth. Plus, I really just like bath salts.
  • Start rewatcing an old tv show you’ve seen.  The hour or so of mindless relaxation gives you a short break, and you already know whats going to happen anyway. (Note, I’m not necessarily talking about spending an entire Sunday binge watching Charmed, just an episode or two….speaking from experience.)
  • Go do that thing that’s easier not to do! I didn’t want to go to the climbing gym when it was raining and cold the other day. I almost got back out of the car. But I finished some routes I hadn’t yet done, I left the gym exhausted, and I slept so much better. The soreness in my body the next day just served as a reminder… “You’re getting stronger. You’re getting closer to the healthiest you you can be.”

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