Why Wait Until Midnight To Make A Change?


Every year many of us trek through the cold and snow in our highest heels with even higher hopes that this new years will be the best New Years Eve…EVER. We gather together in overcrowded bars with an overpriced open bar package, snap pictures, spill drinks on each other, wait on long lines for the bathroom, and dance around in our sparkly dresses. All the while waiting for the clock to strike midnight and expecting with each chime our lives will somehow reset with the start of the new year as well.

On New Years Eve, champagne seems to magically transform into a bubbly elixir meant to cleanse our palates and the entire last year of our lives with each sip.  “New Year, New Start” is splayed across social media as a promise that this year, yes THIS year, will be DIFFERENT.

The following days and weeks that follow show some people on their New-Years-Eve-Resolution best behavior. By the next month though, not so much. It’s as if the champagne’s mystical powers have worn off by then. And those same people will be found in that same overcrowded bar with an overpriced open bar package promising that things will be different next time around.

When resolutions fall through by February, I am not surprised. Of course people revert back to their old ways. It is not because we are lazy. It is because the resolutions we make are usually lofty and just not realistic. We get caught up in the New Years hype and try to shoot high, out of our comfort zone. Never going to the gym to promising yourself you are going to go every single day, twice a day, is just not realistic. For some reason, somewhere down the line resolutions stopped involving baby steps.  Even though the year resets overnight, doesn’t mean we need to too.

I am approaching this New Years Eve with more reflection than resolutions. Some years will be better than others, and that is just the fact of life. There is no way to realistically state that this approaching new year will be any better, or worse, than the other 28 years of life.  So, instead of vowing to myself to make this the “best year yet,” I realize that that is simply out of my control and whatever is going to happen this year, will happen. I can only hope that if I continue on this path that I am on, accepting that I am not perfect, I have made mistakes – a lot of them, in fact, but I am a good person, that the universe will somehow gift me with some positive vibes over the next year.

Change is not going to happen faster than it took you to pick out your New Years Eve outfit.  My question has always been why wait until New Years Eve to turn your life around? To make a change? To make that move or join that gym? To call your mother? To kiss your lover?  You should begin each day, not just every year, in eagerness, not in a hushed voice. Tomorrow is never promised. Midnight doesn’t always arrive. So make today count, and tomorrow, and celebrate 2015’s arrival without feeling like you need to entirely abandon your old self overnight or make a drastic change just because it’s January.  Baby steps to change still lead to change, and if you are taking any type of steps to get where you really want to be in life, then be proud and feel accomplished.

As the ball descends and the crowd starts counting down to the start of 2015 – I hope each and every one of you are celebrating what really matters: being together in a world where even that simple pleasure is never guaranteed. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Alicia Cook is a writer and award-winning activist living in Newark, New Jersey.

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