New Year Reset: A Different Approach

December 18, 2022


There is one aspect about entering the New Year that I deeply enjoy being mindful of: resetting the count for everything I’ve ever achieved.

Come January 1st, I look at all my usual regular achievements and mentally reset them to zero, allowing some mild panic to ensue by feeling like a beginner at everything again.

“I ran 2000km last year? It doesn’t matter. Today, this year, I have 0 kilometers logged. It’s up to me to do the work to become a 2000k runner once again.”

“I wrote 310 personal gratitude entries last year? It doesn’t matter. Today, this year, I wrote 0 personal entries. It’s up to me to do the work to become a more mindful individual”.

“I’ve spent 80 hours learning something new last year? It doesn’t matter. Today, this year, I have done 0 hours of self-learning. It’s up to me to create those habits for self-learning”.

Of course, going for that first run of the year feels as easy as ever; creating the habit to write or watch a course feels easy too because the habit was never lost. But part of the reason why I’m so eager on setting them back into my calendar is fuelled by this gentle little panic from having mentally resetted so many things that fundamentally define me, back to zero. Very often, embracing the uncertainty that comes with being a beginner (even if you’re really not a beginner) is a very powerful nudge that forces you into re-evaluating how much something means to you.

But what if you don’t end up adding one of the processes back into your schedule? I wouldn’t immediately frame that as a failure: maybe this re-evaluation process revealed to you that it wasn’t that valuable to you anymore, and you’re better off replacing it with something new. A sort of chaos monkey built into this thinking, if you will.

As the New Year approaches, I feel tempted to double down on the same goals from last year, both the ones I’ve met and the ones I didn’t. But more so than previous years, I’m also trying to remember that there’s something freeing about being back to 0.

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Written by Ricardo Magalhães who works for the Internet. By day, a front-end web developer with a passion for typography and design. By night, he sleeps. Follow me on Mastodon.