"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
– George Eliot.
First Monday of a new year. The unique occasion where two of the most significant moments for changing ourselves merge into a single point each year. How many times we've heard, or said ourselves, expressions like "New year, new me.", or "I'll start (or quit) X next week"?
A new year brings a sense of hope and possibility, and a new decade even more. It's a blank slate. We have a blank canvas ahead, and we are one year wiser. We are full of intentions, and we believe, we know, things are going to be different this time.
I think that is something to celebrate. Want to create new year goals? Go for it, by all means. It is a great time to draft those! But is it a great time because it's a new year or a new week? No, it is a great time because you want something to change because you know, deep in your own spirit, that you are bound to be a better version of yourself. That, I believe, is a fire worth stoking and welcoming any time it comes, doesn't matter if it's January 1st or April 30th, Sunday evening or Wednesday noon.
The best moment to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best moment is now. – Chinese proverb.
Why do I think it is important we do not give special significance to certain dates to start anew? Because I believe the possibility of change and of improving ourselves lives within us at any given time. We can start over at any given moment. Want to stop drinking? Don't wait until that can of beer is empty. Want to leave your 9 to 5 job? Draft a plan for it. Want to start exercising? Do ten pushups right now. Do one if you can't do ten. Just start.
The beginning is the only thing that we truly control. And things are going to be hard. The goals you've set for yourself might be harder than you thought, and you might despair. You might lose steam in the middle of it all, when life hits you in the way life usually hits, unexpected and uncaring. You might revert back to the old self you wanted to move away from. These are moments where you need to be kind to yourself, allow yourself to see things for what they are, and get yourself back up and restart your goal with renewed intention.
Now is all we have, and now is the moment you could become what you might have been.
I love stoicism. I think the messages from the great stoic minds in history resonate deeply with the entrepreneurial and self-managed people of nowadays. This is a great video where Ryan Holiday paraphrases Marcus Aurelius' reflections on his aim for the day and facing the internal resistance of even getting out of bed.
A quick read on how to apply the Pareto principle to put some focus and prioritize your life. I loved tips #1 and #2 especially. I've started the year analyzing how much time I spend on my high impact tasks, and it's an eye-opening exercise to do every now and then. I always find a few things that shouldn't take so much of my time and energy, and I can recalibrate from there.