I saw a funny gif recently that said “New Year, Same Me.”
It’s a joke – meaning the same lazy person that eats chips on the bed is still the same person on January 1st that they were on December 31st… even after the New Year’s celebrations.
But I see a deeper meaning and application to this gif. The gif is true. Just because a calendar changed from one year to the next doesn’t mean you have changed with it. And before you beat yourself up, let me say that people change over time, not from one magical day to the next. Positive change in humans is usually not instantaneous.
So cut yourself some slack at the beginning of this new year!
And just so you can keep your emotions and perceptions in check, moving from 2020 to 2021 hasn’t created any magical change in our world either. We’re pretty much in the same state now as we were a few days ago (some will say it’s worse). I don’t mean to be a downer, just to bring some reality into the feelings we may all be having as we elicit stronger senses of hope that may or may not be misplaced due to a change on a calendar.
Here is something you can know for sure: you are a valuable person. You bring value to others in your life. And a calendar changing didn’t make you more valuable. You have always been valuable to your family, your friends, your clients, your team, your partners, etc. Your value is a fact. I’m not saying we don’t all struggle to believe we are actually valuable sometimes. I know I do, and I need people to remind me that I’m valuable. I’m reminding you – you are valuable and this new year doesn’t add to or detract from that fact.
Though the calendar has changed, you can live within the reality of who you have always been, whether it’s 2020 or 2021. Now that we’ve established who you are and your value, and that you didn’t magically change from the turning of one day to the next, let’s talk about how humans do change.
People are strengthened and forged by the experiences and hardships they encounter through life. That’s a tough perspective and one we all struggle with, but it’s the truth that what we go through makes us who we are. We don’t magically become a new person from one day to the next (usually), it takes time as we experience the ups and downs of life. Some of our experiences are more traumatic than others, and we learn more about ourselves in one situation as compared to another, but we are still always learning about ourselves through our trials. And since this is true, the way in which we respond to those trials is a key to our becoming stronger over time.
One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately are my choices and my feelings of being a victim. ‘Being a victim’ is one option as a response to the trials we encounter. And truly it feels justified when we have gone through difficult things. We can’t always control what other people or what situations have done to us – but we do always own our responses. We are the ones with the sole power to control how we respond to situations and the choices we decide to make as a result. This skill of making better choices through life’s ups and downs is what produces strong people (not the change of a calendar). It’s a process, and it is a process for everyone, no matter what you think you see in other people.
And since it is a varying process for everyone, it is not valuable to compare your process to someone else’s process. The process of maturing is highly individual and intimate to each and every person on the planet. So it is unhelpful to compare our maturing journey to someone else’s journey. Comparison leads us to inaccurate conclusions that confuse us and make our continued journey of maturing through our trials much more difficult. Further, the process of maturing is done internally by the people around you. So you often aren’t seeing the internal battles the people are fighting behind those bright and shiny Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin posts. Humans rarely struggle openly so you will make inaccurate conclusions about their journey of maturing if you compare your internal struggle (which you know all too well) to the public persona seen on social media posts. Comparison is just dangerous.
Let’s write down some takeaways from my personal journal entry here:
- Moving from one day on the calendar to the next didn’t do anything magical.
- People typically change over time, not instantaneously.
- The trials and tribulations we all walk through are what change us.
- We have the power to respond to our trials with better and better choices.
- Don’t compare yourself to others as they go through their journey of maturing because it will most certainly be an inaccurate comparison.
This has been a personal journal entry for me at the beginning of this year. I wrote this because I need these reminders. This was for me, and I hope it helped you too as we begin a new year and a new day.
Jason is the Founder of Thriveal and the Chief Innovative Officer of his CPA firm, Blumer & Associates. He is the co-host of the Thrivecast and The Businessology Show and speaks and writes frequently for CPAs and creatives, his firm’s chosen niche. Jason loves to watch documentaries on just about anything. He lives in Greenville, SC with his wife and their three children.