Every Day Is A Fresh Start, Don’t Let Guilt Stop Your Journey

prairie-679014_1280Every new year, people take January 1st, and make it their excuse for making changes they’ve wanted to make for a long time. January 1st isn’t a special day in your life, and it’s not even astronomically significant according to Neil Degrasse Tyson. If you’re serious about making changes, randomly postponing until some date in the future isn’t the best idea.

To make matters worse, according to some reasearch only 8% of people manage to follow through on these resolutions. And sure, some people achieve great things because of their New Year’s Resolutions, but could these changes perhaps not have been achieved faster if they had not postponed making the change until a more or less arbitrary point in time? After all the only moment we have any real grasp of is the present. We don’t know when something might change and make it harder, or even impossible for us to achieve the things we’ve dreamed about achieving.
So if there’s something you want to change in your life, don’t wait until next year, start working towards it today.

Already Missed A Day Or Two? Skip the guilt, keep going.

For those of you who have hit your first hurdle with your new years resolutions, this post is a quick reminder that every single day is a fresh start. Every day is a chance to make a change or to keep moving in the right direction. If you slipped up, get back on track.

Don’t feel guilty about not going running, learning, or eating 100% healthy one day, just double down and make sure you show up tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after.

I messed up almost all of last week. I was off the wagon and not going towards my goals for more than 6 months before of that. If I spent my time wallowing in guilt (as I sometimes have been known to do in the past) I would not be surpassing my daily goals today, and I would not have surpassed them yesterday either. I would not be moving toward the Ragnar that I aspire to be. I would not be taking on small web projects for friends to help them (and selfishly gain experience and build my portfolio).

Guilt has stopped a lot of wonderful changes, even transformations from coming to fruition. Don’t let guilt stop yours.

5 Responses

  1. Micah January 20, 2016 / 2:53 pm

    I love this, Ragnar! I was having a conversation recently about this very point i.e., the arbitrariness of New Year’s resolutions and the idea of waiting for a particular point in time to make changes. I’ve read that most people quit on their resolutions after around 21 days but hadn’t realised such a small percentage managed to push through and make their changes stick.

    On another note, I notice from your reading list that we have very similar habits and tastes. I’ve also read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. And am reading Plato’s Republic on and off at the moment. I’m curious what you thought of the Art of War, and have you read Miyamoto Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings?

    • Ragnar January 23, 2016 / 3:10 am

      Hey Micah, glad to see you stop by, it’s been a while! I wonder if it’s a cultural thing. It’s the one time where people know that big changes are expected and encouraged, so they choose to wait for it.

      I didn’t update my reading list in a while, but I still have about 20-30 pages to go in The Republic so I guess it’s accurate enough, haha. If you take the Art of War out of context, and look at it purely as a book, it seemed repetitive at times and some parts lacking context because of the supposedly missing parts, etc. But reading it full well knowing the context made it an almost surreal experience. Here I am reading the thoughts of a person that lived thousands of years ago. Time travel of ideas, haha. The concepts also seemed to make a lot of sense to me, and some also seemed applicable outside of warfare hence I went to the trouble of writing that blog post last year after I read it.

      The five rings is definitely something I plan to read if I can get my hands on a paper copy, especially after I started doing some martial arts, haha. I just checked the index of my local used book store online and they don’t have it at the moment. Might be a bit too obscure… I don’t know. I also read the Tao Te Ching again recently, after my bike had a flat I sat in the grass with my girlfriend and read most of it on my phone while we waited for the repair guy to show up, haha.

      I didn’t read enough last year, and I’m not sure this year will be better, as I’m focused on learning more development/design stuff which will probably be mostly through videos and tutorials online. Maybe I’ll carve out some downtime for reading during weekends. Hmm. Given that we have similar tastes/interests, what is one book(or a few) that you read last year that you’d recommend highly?

      • Micah January 23, 2016 / 6:40 pm

        I get EXACTLY what you mean about time travel of ideas and how many of the principles are applicable beyond their original context. You’ll find the same with The Book of Five Rings if/when you’re able to get hold of a copy. It’s also repetitive sometimes and there are passages that don’t have too much purchase when brought into the here and now but there are some real gems too. Take this one for example;-

        ‘Even if you strive diligently on your chosen path day after day, if your heart is not in accord with it, then even if you think you are on a good path, from the point of view of the straight and true, this is not a genuine path. If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation, then a little bit of crookedness in the mind will later turn into a major warp. Reflect on this.’

        You see what I mean? 16th century Japan and this guy is dropping knowledge on the importance of pursuing your passion.

        As for recommendations, well I read mostly fiction last year (highly recommend Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein if you’ve never read the original text – amazing piece of literature) but one non-fiction book I read that I think you will really really like is The Rise of Superman by Steven Kottler. Amazing book. Incredible insights on performance and mindset. Reading it was a game changer for me.

  2. Eric January 21, 2016 / 3:38 am

    Exactly … 90% of anything is showing up. Somedays, you’ll rock, others you’ll struggle, but in the end, it’ll even out to a respectable result if you keep going.

    • Ragnar January 23, 2016 / 3:10 am

      Truth!

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