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SkillsTalk

Why you don’t have to wait for the new year to change your life

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 02 December 2020


New Year’s Day: a time for friends, family, and celebrations – but most importantly, a time for change.

Or so people say. While the holiday is typically known for new beginnings and lifestyle changes, studies show that 25% of New Year’s resolutions lose their steam by a mere one week, with only 10% fully kept by the end of the year.  

The problem lies in our tendency to value immediate results over slow, steady changes – a mindset often fostered by the idea of “New Year” change. 

SkillsTalk discuss this common perspective below, and why you don’t have to wait for the new year to start changing your life. 

It’s just a date 

Similarly to other commercial holidays, we’ve been conditioned to view January 1st as a “special occasion” – and, in this case, the ideal pivot for change. 

Picking a specific date for starting a “new you” can also help you emotionally prepare for this transformation; and what better date than the start of a new year? It symbolises a clean slate, the chance to start over and set new, better goals.

The problem with this mindset is that the New Year is, ultimately, an arbitrary time for reinvention. Who says you can’t start now? After all, there isn’t much difference between December 31st and the 1st of January – you’re still the exact same person, in the exact same relationships, in the exact same career path, just as you were any day before the date. New Year’s Day is simply just that: a day which, despite being like all others, we’ve falsely built up as a magical slingshot for change.  

Transforming your life starts with taking control and acting now, not waiting for a random event (however globally celebrated) as a catalyst for action.

You rob yourself of the vast opportunities for change

comfort zone concept

Habitually delaying change until the year’s end can rob you of all other opportunities for self-development throughout the year. 

As mentioned, January 1st is simply an internationally-recognised, commercialised event – not some miraculous agent for reinvention. When we limit our endeavours to set calendar dates, failing to achieve a goal or set a habit will likely result in waiting for the next significant date to roll around. 

This therefore gives you limited tries to “start over”. Waiting every New Years’ Day gives you a single chance for major self-transformation. Waiting every first day of each month still gives you a mere 12 tries. This restricts us from continuously and persistently striving towards our goals, resulting in procrastination and missed opportunities. 

It stifles a proactive attitude

By waiting around for specific dates to kick off our goals, we’re also suppressing what could be consistent, disciplined action. 

There’s a lot to be accomplished between now and the new year, and delaying action only loses you valuable time. Saving this for January 1st only makes it feel like a bigger, grander commitment – leading to greater disappointment and motivational loss when plans don’t (initially) pan out. This is how New Years’ Resolutions are often abandoned; when you start off the marathon with a sprint, you’re bound to burn out before progress takes place.

Instead, it’s best to approach your goals by taking small, consistent steps towards change. A new lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight – it takes place through continuous planning, practice, and a re-evaluation of goals over time. And the best part is, you can start any month, at any day of the year. 

It takes a whole lot of pressure off 

relaxed man looking at laptop screen

Finally, making lifestyle changes now removes any additional stress of starting them by the new year.

Waiting for a “special” date can lead to unreasonably high standards for yourself, adding unnecessary pressure to achieve your goals. With the New Year revolving around “brand new starts” and big decisions, you may even feel compelled to share your goals with others – leading to the added stress of meeting their expectations or avoiding the embarrassment of potential failure. 

Pursuing change now will more likely result in long-term commitment, as your actions will be fuelled solely by self-drive, rather than by pressure of societal traditions. You’ll also get a head start on that “new you” before anyone else, helping you feel more motivated and accomplished by the new year. 

Change can start today!

The most effective resolutions abandon fancy dates and occasions. They take place when the person feels most moved and motivated – and succeed through individual persistence, rather than societal pressure. 2021 may be underway, but you needn’t wait for the calendar to start changing your life; take control and start right here, right now. 

Levelling up your career for the new year and beyond? Upskilled currently offers a wide range of training courses for personal and professional development any day of the year. Upgrade your skills in IT, community services, business, and more. Best of all, you can learn at your own pace through our flexible, online delivery.

Enhance your skills and knowledge – no matter the date – and contact us to find out more. 
 
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