I find New Years Day rather endearing and inspiring; maybe it’s the conciseness of the date 01/01, or maybe it’s the communal sense of a fresh start rippling through the crisp wintery New Years Day. However, I have come to acknowledge for myself that the dates January 1st usually doesn’t align with my internal clock for change.
With the winter solstice occurring about a week before the New Year, I find myself still in full-on hibernating mode on January 1st; no part of my body or being finds this to be a natural start for new projects and change old habits. The wonderful thing about ‘fresh starts’ is that it doesn’t have to be determined by an arbitrary date imposed from the external world, I’d like to think that we all have an internal rhythm for change and the likelihood of integrating and sustaining change is when it’s incongruent with our internal rhythm.
Many cultures around the world have new years that are not based on the Gregorian calendar. New years are celebrated around harvest time, equinoxes and solstices, lunar calendars, and many more occasions throughout a gregorian/solar calendar year. These new years are not only rooted in the seasons of the natural world, but they are often further emphasized with traditions and ritual. I grew up celebrating the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated with elaborate traditions and rituals (and copious amounts of food that all have symbolic meaning) that all share the common theme of gathering luck and auspiciousness. Though personally, I find the season of spring to intuitively be a season of change and inspiration for me. In the springtime, the natural world is bursting with growth and imbues me with the same fiery quality that makes it much easier to start a new project (coincidentally, the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, happens right around the spring equinox).
Regardless of whether your cultural background offers a more seasonally aligned new year for you to celebrate, having a ‘new year, new start’ doesn’t need to correlate with a particular date. Maybe your ‘fresh start’ comes spontaneously or maybe the completion of your ‘year’ is more/less than 365 days, either way, celebrate your unique movement and pace for change; we don’t all grow and change at the same time and the same speed, so why should we all embark on a resolution for change at the same time?