New Year, New Growth


November 27, 2007

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.
Ellen Goodman

This year, when the ball drops at Times Square in Manhattan, New Year’s Eve celebrations make their mark all over the country. In a long tradition of using the New York ceremony as a benchmark for other cities, we look at other ways to welcome change – for ourselves.

Through history, people kept track of time. From the Aztecs, to Caesar’s rendition in 46 BC, history showed us various attempts to make sense of time. The Roman Catholic Church’s revision of the Julian calendar, put into use in 1582, still exists as our current model. Julius Caesar, in his vast range of abilities, developed a calendar which made sense with respect to the tropical year. In spite of his best efforts, modifications since his first calendar formula included adding July (for Julius) as the 7th month, and August as the 8th month to pay homage to yet another reigning Caesar. This resulted in September as the 9th month (instead of the 7th as indicated by the prefix “Sept”). October (originally the 8th month, hence “Oct”) moved to the 10th position, November from 9th to 11th, and December from 10th to 12th. Still, we seldom think about month names and their Latin-root significance, but rather correlate the months themselves with relevance to our celebrations and traditions.

A new year ahead
On the first day of the new year, we put up our new calendars and don’t really concern ourselves with Januarius, the Roman god of doors and gates, but rather we take a moment to reflect on the transition of time. A gate or door opens forward or backwards, allowing us to look in either direction, and a new year also reminds us to reflect on the past while looking forward to new opportunities. When you look at your fresh, uncluttered calendar, you see the possibilities of time to come. The symbolic new calendar also reminds us that we "ran out" of last year, and as much as we want to cleave to the old, it no longer exists.

Like last year, many things about us no longer exist and we move forward whether we want to, or not. Sure, you’ll never be 5 years old again, but the real joy you feel stems from your life experiences and movement through the years. Similarly, once you’ve grown away from behavior and adopted new outlooks, you’ll never again find that former part of yourself stuck in old habits and thought patterns. The clean slate of a fresh calendar presents itself to you not only on New Year’s Day, but the other 364 days as well. Remember never to allow restrictions on your spirituality to equate to limitations of an invisible pattern in time. Every day offers new beginnings for you, new opportunities and experiences!

Goals and planning
Motivational speakers, time management experts and other leaders in the achievement movement, advise us to create goals. Whether at regular intervals or a long-term list, written goals provide us with a focal point of what we strive to accomplish. Your annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals evolve over time and change as you grow throughout the year. Not merely resolutions, defining your goals allows you to articulate what you want in small nibbles as well as a bountiful feast of possibilities.

Take time to review your goals from last year, too. Did you accomplish what you wanted to in 2007? If not, did you make any progress towards the larger picture of what you envisioned for yourself for the year? Or, like many of us, did your resolutions fade away when soon after you made them?

Keep moving forward
We’ve all heard "Time marches on" in quotes and song. Reflecting on the good and positive aspects of the prior year, serves your impetus for forward movement. If you focus on the negative elements in the year you just left behind, you’ll certainly attract more of the same for the coming year. Something in your life changed last year. Take a look at where you started and how far you progressed. Find areas where you learned valuable lessons about what helped you or hindered you. Thank all your experiences for bringing you where you are today and keep moving forward.

Celebrate the new
To reinforce positive results, celebrate your efforts of the past year. Nothing inspires you more than to rejoice in your progress and acknowledge that this past year fostered your growth and offered you a little more wisdom than a year ago. Allow yourself the luxury of looking backward through the door of time to see your movement and growth. Then, turn toward the future to embrace all you hope for in the fresh 525,600 minutes coming your way. Happy New Year!



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