Wondering How to Celebrate the Year of the Horse? Start Again!

Every year should be the Year of the Horse.
Every year should be the Year of the Horse.

Me: Happy New Year! Time to start on our New Year’s Resolutions.

My Inner Perfectionist: It’s January 31st. 2014 started a month ago. What the hell are you talking about?

Me: The start of the Chinese New Year, of course.

MIP: Who cares?

Me: We do. Here’s a ready-made chance to start again. I thought you liked starting new things with the new year?

MIP: I do. But that already happened. And you’ve already let so many things drop. I have a list here. *rummages around*

Me: Exactly. A perfect chance to start again.

MIP: *holding a list that reaches the floor* You mean start over?

Me: Certainly not. You know I don’t believe in starting over. But I can start again any time I want. So let’s start today.

MIP: You are nuts. It’s not even Monday.

Me: So? Friday is a great day to start again.

MIP: Everyone knows if you’re going to start a new habit, you start on a Monday.

Me: But that’s three whole days away.

MIP: Diets start on Monday.

Me: I don’t want to wait that long.

MIP: Daily origami practice? Start Monday.

Me: In fact, I can’t afford to.

MIP: Llama hoof painting prac— wait. What?

Me: I mean that everything I want to do is going to take me time to achieve. Learning to read faster, getting my studio cleaned out, finishing my novel, making quilts. If something I want is going to take a long time, then my best bet is to start right now.

MIP: This very minute?

Me: This very second.

MIP: *sigh* Waiting until Monday is easier.

Me: Not really. Waiting until Monday just puts the pressure on to do things perfectly in the hopes that the change will be instant and permanent. But behavior doesn’t change like that. It takes practice and mistakes.

MIP: It will be too hard to start on a Friday. The weekend will just mess everything up.

Me: We have to learn how to do the new stuff on weekends, too. Besides, waiting until Monday means three more days of practicing the old behaviors, which will just make it that much harder to change them.

MIP: You are a cruel woman.

Me: Nope. Just determined. It took me ten years of slow but steady baby-steps to have the health and energy I enjoy today. What if I’d kept waiting until Monday or the first of the month or the first of the year? I might not ever have started at all. Then what would I have?

MIP: Plans for Monday?

Me: I’d be as unhealthy as I was 10 years ago, or maybe even worse. And I’d still have a long road ahead of me. The changes might take even longer to make. Better to start today, even if I have to start again tomorrow. As long as I keep coming back to what I am trying to do, I’ll get where I want to go.

MIP: You win. We’ll start today.

Me: Excellent. And I have good news for you.

MIP: What’s that?

Me: If we start again every day, then some of those days will be Monday.

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