I woke up this morning, January 1st, 2017, with such a hope in my heart. I felt lighter and kind of smiley. It took me a minute to figure out why I was washed over with hope and positivity. Then I remembered that it is the beginning of a new year. I think we can all agree that a new year offers the promise of something NEW. Possibilities. Opportunities. Growth and change. Letting go of bad habits and creating healthy ones.
So I thought, why not celebrate every month? After all, the end of each month closes out a chapter and looks ahead to another chapter. We can feel squeaky new and hopeful 12 times a year instead of just one. However, there are some things that I don't like about New Year's and would recommend eliminating from the monthly celebrations.
For example, I don't like to stay up late. At all. I typically go to bed by 9:30 and fall asleep shortly thereafter. I love my sleep, and wake up refreshed at around 6 am the next morning. So the pressure of staying up late "just because" is not appealing to me. Plus, then I am grumpy the next day and my family does not enjoy my company in the brand new year. Also the pressure to do something SPECIAL, drink fancy drinks, and eat appetizers could happily be forgotten. That makes the whole resolution piece a bit easier as well. If we are not gorging on champagne and spinach dip at night, then how much less damage to un-do the next day.
We wouldn't need to plan a party, or even invite anyone over if it was a work/school night. Whew. I feel better about this already. We can just do our normal routine but with a twist. A mini-celebration that is more in the spirit of a mental renewal than an excuse for a party. A monthly looking ahead with the intent to grow and evolve, to change for the better.
I have recently discovered a wonderful podcast and website busting at the seams with great ideas on living a happier life. I love research and science-backed data that can help us in everyday life. I listen to the Happier With Gretchen Rubin podcasts on my runs, giving me simple ideas on increasing my happiness factor. Her website discusses the importance of starting positive habits.
She says, "Habits matter, because research shows that about 40% of everyday life is shaped by habits. If we have habits that work for us, we're far more likely to be happier, healthier, and more productive."
Can it be that simple? Just start a new habit? If it were that easy, then everyone would be doing it, no one would be unhealthy, overweight, or broke. Rubin has written books dedicated to changing your habits, "Happiness Hacks", and determining what tendencies you have as it relates to habits (take her quiz on the website).
But I propose that if we celebrated "New Month's Eve" every month, then we would have more opportunities to look forward with hope. More opportunities to start or resume positive habits. More reminders of our good health, warm homes, vehicles to take us places, families that love us, jobs, amazing pets, and a life worth enjoying. Was last month just "meh"? Well so long, last month! Next month is here!
That in itself can be our first new habit to acquire. Yes! Twelve times a year we will change our attitude, our outlook, and any negativity weighing us down. And if last month was a good month, we can be that much more thankful for it and use it as a springboard into another great month. The point is simply to celebrate hope. Hope in our future. Hope in each other. Remembrance of the great stuff that just happened, knowing that more joy is around the corner.
So note the last day of each month on your calendar and plan to celebrate it. You can start New Month's Eve at any time. Jump in.