2017 — the year of possibilities

1st Jan 2017
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A new year always brings with it new possibilities, and the thirst to set out on the path to the ‘better me’. New beginnings will always present themselves to us; we just have to make the most of them.

2017

We are always fascinated by fresh beginnings. Every candidate who promises a new beginning captures the imagination of the voters. We will all make New Year resolutions. We think of new behaviours that we will adopt as we put a fresh calendar up on the wall. It symbolises a chance to do what we have not done before. It is an opportunity to restart a project we abandoned midway. The first day of the year seems like an unopened gift package whose contents, while unknown, never fail to trigger hope. In many countries, even government agencies make known their New Year resolutions.

Aspirational behaviours

What is it about the first day of the year that creates this desire among millions of people around the world to try to do something challenging? Religion also offers us the opportunity to make a fresh start. Confessions or seeking forgiveness are two common methods by which a religion infuses hope among its believers. Festivals are symbols of fresh starts. Birthdays and vacations are all opportunities that motivate us to try out aspirational behaviours.

Mental accounting

A job change is a chance to reimagine one’s career. Life events like marriage and the births and deaths of loved ones can prompt us to swear to try out new ways of living. A major life event is a chance to create a new version of ourselves.

To try out a new behaviour, we have to tear ourselves away from old patterns. A brand new notebook and pen can inspire someone to start writing a novel. A new semester, the transition from school to college, or a new relationship could all be triggers to try out life-altering choices. Psychologists have found that our choices are altered by mental accounting periods. When we create a new marker, we create a mental balance sheet where we turn away from the old “me” and start designing a new, upgraded version.

Creating a break in the way we perceive time allows us to disconnect ourselves from an imperfect self. A new mental account will allow us to distance ourselves from the past. It is no wonder that Google searches for the word “diet” and “exercise” peak on 1st January every year. Whatever be your resolution, remember that you have many opportunities for a fresh start throughout the year. Any day that can create the feeling of a new beginning is an opportunity to complete an annual goal.

Many opportunities, many lives

If there is a behaviour you wish to start or stop, then this year will provide you with plenty of opportunities. You could start on 1 January 2017 to mark the New Year, or on 2 January, which is a Monday. The Chinese New Year will be celebrated on January 28. If you miss that, then keep in mind that the Bengali New Year is on April 14. The Parsi New Year in 2017 will be on August 17. The Jewish new year will be on September 20-21.

The first day of the week or month or year has the potential for being a new beginning, a fresh start. The world has not agreed on any one common calendar. Therein lies the opportunity. Every religion offers a different day of the week as a fresh beginning. Think of 2017 as the year of the “&”. That is a symbol of possibilities. You can start on a Monday & on any other day. You can start on the first of January & then again on any other day.

Let 2017 be the year of exploring new possibilities. If you falter, remember that you can restart that very day itself. Someone, somewhere, has already created a reason for you to celebrate anew on any of the 365 days of the year. That’s what I am going to do. Every day is an opportunity to work at your resolution. Do you agree?

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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