Don’t wait until 2018 to change yourself

Arjun Thakkar

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It’s hard to believe that we’re once again at year’s end.

Decades from now, you’ll be a wise elder among your family, revered and praised for the stories you tell about the “meaningful experiences, lasting friendships and treasured memories” that you experienced in 2017.

You probably facepalmed or threw up in your mouth a little after reading that.

This is perfectly normal after encountering yet another absurd, nonsensical cliché.

Because as much as any year does have it’s rewarding and memorable moments, what we often and perhaps unjustly remember the most are our cringe-worthy failures, our toils, and that wasted, unrealized potential – what we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year with such conviction, such drive, only to fall flat on our faces in disappointment.

At the end of the year, it’s so easy to remember what didn’t go as planned. Maybe it was a personal health goal or a relationship that didn’t develop how you wanted it to.

That regret is what makes the prospect of a new year so appealing. I’ve no doubt that 2018 – or, at least, the first week or so of 2018 – will have its fill of promising New Year’s Resolutions, where many of us set some ambitious goals to accomplish for the next 365 days.

These resolutions are often just vague. Last January, I said I’d be a more positive person, but it’s not like there’s some measurable level of happiness to show I’ve been more optimistic.

Other times, we set concrete goals that can only be met with consistency, and when the drug that is 2018 wears off, that passion won’t be there to keep us going.

I’m sure we’ve all heard from the adults in our lives about the whole fad about finally chopping off those 10 pounds that completely weighed them down this year.

I don’t mean to diminish the value in making goals to tweak one’s life – on the contrary, I think it’s admirable to try and change who you are.
It’s just a bit ridiculous to wait until an arbitrary form of measuring time – from Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century – has run its course before making critical decisions to reform yourself.

You know that feeling when you get a text from someone you’re interested in talking to, and you don’t immediately respond so you don’t seem too interested or creepy?

What if you could just cut to the chase and text them without worrying about how you appear to them? Or better yet, what if you called them or talked in person? That phone icon exists for a reason, you know.

In the same way, there’s no reason to wait ten more days until the time is ripe to say you’re going to lose weight or be more outgoing.

If you feel the need to accomplish some goal or make some change to your behavior, you don’t have to wait till Old Gregory says its time to change the last digit on your calendar and shift the dates a couple positions over.

That’s why I changed my picture for the paper this week instead of next year as I originally planned to. I altered a key piece, albeit in a small way, without waiting for the pointless end of the year.

You don’t have to wait to ask someone out on a date, to improve your work habits, or to start exercising daily. The only thing holding you back is you.

In my case, this means crawling out of my shell and reaching out to others. This year more so than usual, I’ve regressed into a bit of an antisocial mindset.

Rather than degrade myself by focusing on my failures, I plan to develop and grow now, not Jan. 1, because that opportunity isn’t suddenly going to appear in a couple weeks.

With the realization that every day is an opportunity to make progress towards becoming the person you want to be, you can overcome your struggles, even in this frigid cold.

That’s why it’s called the winter and not the lose-ter. Snow kidding.

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