The new year is a time when many of us experience the spirit of renewal and feel an urge to hit the reset button. No matter what’s going on in our lives, new possibilities await us. Whether you want to start a new career, eat healthier, or spend more time with your loved ones, the energies of a new year can give you the push you need to get started. Use these five techniques to get a jumpstart in the new year. (Estimated reading time: 7 minutes)
“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.”— Tony Robbins
Every time the Earth completes another loop around the sun, we experience the spirit of renewal and feel an urge to hit the reset button. No matter what’s going on in our lives, new possibilities loom ahead of us.
Whether you want to start a new career, eat healthier, or spend more time with your loved ones, the energies of a new year can give you the push you need to get started. But to tap into this impulse, you’ll need to step back and engage in reflection and planning.
While most people are busy with holiday shopping and planning parties and trips to celebrate the festive season, you can step away from the frenzy and carve out time to prepare for the upcoming year. When the clock strikes midnight, you’re ready to sprint ahead of everyone else.
Like a runner at the starting line, you’ll run forward with full thrust, achieving the maximum speed in minimum time, ahead of the competition. Make the most of the new year by starting strong and staying the course, then watch your dreams unfold.
Getting a fresh start: why we’re more motivated on New Year
Over the years, there have been many New Year superstitions and traditions all over the world. Those who follow them are said to experience abundance of all kinds. Here are a few interesting ones:
- In Germany, folklore says that eating herring at the stroke of midnight will ensure luck for the following year. People of Polish descent suggest the herring should be pickled.
- In Colombia, locals carry an empty suitcase while walking around their neighborhood to prepare themselves for a year filled with adventure.
- Wearing a red pair of underwear in Bolivia is said to attract wealth into your life for the year ahead.
- Dutch tradition states that the more broken plates and glasses you have at your doorstep, the more popular you’ll be in the following year.
- Filipinos fill their table with lots of round-shaped fruit, representing coins, to ensure prosperity in the new year.
Clearly, the excitement about the promise of a New Year is something we all share.
You might wonder why all the fuss. After all, it’s just another day on the calendar. What causes us to be so pumped up and excited around this time? It turns out that a psychological force drives this intrinsic motivation.
Daily life can get mundane, and complacency sets in if we aren’t constantly challenging ourselves. Even though many people want to improve different aspects of their lives, inertia from a lack of drive stops them from taking real steps to achieve it.
Another reason why it’s hard to change during day-to-day life is that we get mired in our past mistakes and failures. When we allow that to become part of our identity, a sense of hopelessness sets in. We become convinced that we can’t do anything differently to change things.
However, landmark events, like a New Year, can give us insight and inspiration to look past these imperfections and forge a new path for ourselves. These events are called temporal landmarks.
Researcher Michael S. Shum says that temporal landmarks initiate new phases of clarity that stand out from the seemingly ordinary, everyday events. These dates serve as bookmarks in our minds that allow us to differentiate different periods of our lives.
The tendency to act towards achieving a goal during key dates is called the “Fresh Start Effect.” Whether it’s the first day of the week or the first day at a new job, “firsts” have a way of separating our pasts from what is to come next.
We can take advantage of this psychological rebooting to bounce back from setbacks and align our goals with our lifestyles so that we can stick with them.
Tapping into celestial support: how ancients marked new years for a fresh start
There’s something magical about the start of a New Year. The celestial cycle of the Earth and the Sun are a metaphor for our own archetypal soul journey.
As the Earth completes one more revolution around the sun on the 31st of December, it releases a type of cosmic pixie dust that we can use to prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually.
The best way to use this energy for manifestation is by creating rituals. Today, this may include cleansing, decluttering physical spaces, visualization, writing, and meditating on our goals.
According to spiritual teacher Michael Beckwith, these practices are essential to becoming an energetic match to what we want to draw into our lives. According to Beckwith, you must be it, radiate it, and then it’s drawn to you. He elaborates:
“We’re vibrational beings – not just flesh and blood. And when we lift our vibration to what we want to experience, it happens first on a vibratory level. And then it shows up and manifests in our life. So, people who are holding on to rancor, animosity, they’re slowing down their vibration.”
We can take it a step further by taking inspiration from our rich history. Ancients engaged in practices to breathe new life into their futures. Our ancestors were aware of the spiritual significance of the new year and commemorated significant cosmic events for practical and spiritual purposes.
Around 4000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians made promises to the gods that they would pay their debts. If they stuck to their word, they were blessed, and if they didn’t, they were blacklisted. Ancient Romans used the first day of the year to reflect on their past mistakes to make amends in the forthcoming year.
Native Americans celebrated tribal New Year around the time of the Winter Solstice. They did this by partaking in various rituals such as fire and plant ceremonies, creation storytelling, dancing, singing, and prayers.
The Hopi and Zuni pueblos tribes celebrated New Year on the 22nd of December with a ceremony called ‘Soyaluna,’ – a ‘Prayer-Offering’ ceremony where tribe members come together in prayer and wish each other health and prosperity.
We can tap into cosmic support when we show a similar kind of reverence and embrace the natural cycles that govern our existence. In this way, we go beyond the left-brained approach and embody the intentions that we set.
Starting the year strong: how to gain momentum to get ahead in the new year
The key to starting the year strong is by creating plans that use a combination of logic and intuition. Here are five strategies to help you get started:
1. Start small: The best way to create a new habit, or change a current one, that leads to lasting change is by making tiny and gradual changes. Willpower isn’t enough to override our ingrained habits – you must make the behavior doable so that it fits naturally into your life. These compact commitments, when practiced every day, result in big payoffs.
For example, rather than setting a vague goal like “lose weight,” you’ll have greater success with something specific and achievable, like going to the gym four times a week.
2. Apply the slingshot strategy: If you’ve ever used a slingshot, you know that you have to pull back the band before you can launch an object. Similarly, for us to go forward, we must first draw back a little before moving forward. We get that extra push to achieve our goals when we do this. Resting and pausing sounds counterintuitive, but having some quiet moments to be still and reflect at the end of a year creates the build-up to launch forward.
3. Use the Pareto Principle: The basis of the Pareto principle is that 80% of your results and satisfaction come from 20% of your activities. It’s also known as the 80/20 rule. You can use this principle to decide where to focus your efforts in the new year to achieve maximum impact for the least amount of time and effort.
For example, there’s a good chance that you have friends who you enjoy spending more time with than the others. Without cutting other friends out of your life, you could focus on spending more time on the ones who bring out the best in you.
4. Plan your resources: The three major resources we have at our disposal are time, money, and energy. Any goal you have planned will require an expenditure of one or more of them. Getting all your resource ducks in a row is not only efficient, but it ensures that you will invest them wisely.
For example, let’s say that you want to take that dream trip to South America, you’ll need to budget for it and decide how many days you can take off from work. You’ll also need to plan an itinerary that isn’t too hectic and allows you to see places at a leisurely pace.
5. Get your mind ready: A key aspect to maintaining momentum is adjusting our expectations and attitude. While we cannot control the outcome of our year, we can control how we respond.
When reacting from a place of strength, challenges and hassles we face won’t get us down or derail our progress. Maintaining a mindset of growth will keep us hopeful, positive, and open.
As you prepare to close another yearly chapter of your life on planet Earth, give thanks for all the wonderful moments that it gave you. That includes moments of joy as well as moments of learning. When we appreciate the whole spectrum of the human experience, we immerse ourselves in the depth and the layers of life, making us feel truly alive.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: What techniques do you use to get ready for the new year? Which ones have been the most helpful for you?
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