“Each day is a fresh start, just as each second is a fresh start, each day, each second.”
– Seeds of Light (p. 124)
We imbue the first day of a new year with symbolic power: the courage to start anew, to begin again, and to embrace change. At the start of a new year, we cherish the thought that we do not have to continue to be that which we once were. Today, then, is often regarded as a new beginning.
What do the words “beginning” and “change” mean to you? Do they inspire new energy or invoke fear? Pause for a moment and see how you feel about new beginnings. You may be brimming with excitement, ready to embrace a new version of yourself. Or you may feel some trepidation as you ponder the bits and pieces of yourself you’d like to leave behind from the year before.
Many people start with good intentions, particularly at the start of a new year. They eagerly jump into new exercise regimes, adopt healthier eating habits, and make their health and wellbeing a priority. A few days or weeks later, however, they find themselves slipping into old habits. The newfound zeal has waned. Other people don’t even bother with new resolutions. They know that they need to exercise more and eat better food and even aspire to make changes, but can't seem to muster up the courage to even try to do things differently. For both, resistance is what keeps them from making serious changes.
Resistance is normal. We all face resistance. Our eating and exercise habits are deeply engrained; we've often been eating the same way our entire lives. Our minds are resistant to change as well. We’ve spent our entire lives following certain patterns of thought; we’ve ingrained them day in, day out, until they feel entirely normal and natural. Those habitual patterns are designed to help us navigate reality as we have come to understand it. To undo them exposes to a new reality, to the possibility that the world isn’t as we believed it to be. In the deepest sense, our world as we know it might begin to crumble. Resistance is powerful because it not only deters you from the choices that would better sustain you, but it also makes you feel bad, as if you don't have enough willpower.
We do not need the start of the new year to embrace change. The truth is that each day is a fresh start; each moment is an opportunity for a new thought, a new word, or a new action. Our challenge, then, is to regard each day, each moment, as a new beginning, full of possibility and change. Include resistance as part of your intentions. Meet it firmly but lovingly, knowing that resistance is just a part of you that is fearful of what's on the other side. Do not listen when resistance says that you’ve failed, particularly when the days and weeks accumulate and the first day of the new year fades into the distance. Remind yourself that each day is a fresh start, that each day can be a new commitment, that every day can be January 1, and start again.