A Fresh New Year: Why Is That So Important?

If you’re like many people, you place at least some significance on January 1st. Whether you make resolutions or set goals, you feel that something important is supposed to happen because the page on the calendar has turned.

Although I’m not usually one to make New Year’s resolutions, this day is still unlike any other day of the year for me. I have a couple superstitious rituals that I usually follow: I do some type of house cleaning as a way of starting fresh, and I eat sauerkraut to bring good luck in the coming year. But you know what? I eat sauerkraut all year long, on regular old Mondays or Tuesdays, on the 3rd of the month or the 21st of the month. When I feel like having it, I do. What happens to me in the days afterward has nothing to do with that meal. Eating a particular food doesn’t bring good luck, I know that. But the superstitions persist, for me and millions of other people. I think part of the reason is that it’s human nature to try to find cause-and-effect patterns in events so that we feel more in control of our lives. We think that if we just don’t walk under that ladder, we’ll prevent bad things from happening to us. Or if we carry a four-leaf clover, we’ll win the game. We’re funny animals, aren’t we?

This was the sky as I ended my walk today.

This was the sky as I ended my walk today.

Anyway, I was thinking about all this as I took a brisk walk around the city park today, with the cold wind chapping my cheeks and stiffening my fingers. I was there because it was January 1 and it felt important to get outside: I wanted to see my first birds of the year, and I wanted to start my year off right by exercising and getting fresh air.

Paint Creek in city park

But why do we make such a fuss about starting our year off right?  Why not start the next day off right? Or the next minute? Life is filled with opportunities to change our habits or make other positive changes. We can do it whenever we want to.

And for that matter, every moment of every day is a chance to improve our lives. Every moment is a fresh start. I remember hearing this advice when I was trying to change my eating habits a couple years ago. Let’s say you’re having a bad day at work and you indulge in a bag of cookies at lunch to soothe yourself. Then you berate yourself for the weakness and decide that you’ve already ruined the whole day, so you might as well have ice cream and cake for dinner too. Well, if you remember that each moment is a chance for a fresh start, all you have to do is decide that in the next moment, you aren’t going to eat junk food. In the next moment you’re going to drink a big glass of water. That’s all. You don’t have to throw away an entire calendar segment just because you ate some cookies. What matters is what you do now, not what you did in the past.

I’ve been through a great deal of difficulty in recent months, as my regular readers know well. I’m so thankful that, in the past few weeks, I have somehow found the strength to pull myself back out of despair. I’m using lots of different things as tools, and I may tell  you about more of them soon. But one of the most important has been the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, who shows us how to live in the present moment, the Now. Rather than worrying about the past or the future, learn to accept “what is” and ignore the endless stream of thoughts that run through your mind. I’ve been practicing being in the moment, and it really does bring me some peace. I’ve also been learning to meditate better, and that seems to give me positive energy so that I’m more inclined to focus on good things during my day rather than dwelling on fears or negativity. (Here’s a link to one of Mr. Tolle’s videos on YouTube for those of you who aren’t familiar with him yet.)

And here’s a video I shot today. Animals live in the moment; no worrying about past or future for them!

I’m learning a new way of experiencing gratitude and how to be mindful of the moments in life. Most importantly, I’m learning that our thoughts create our feelings, and if we can manage our thoughts we will vastly improve our outlook on life. It’s a skill worth practicing.

So, in the spirit of living in the moment, instead of wishing you all a Happy New Year, I’ll wish you a Happy Now. It’s a very good place to be.

Trees in fog for blog with quote by Eckhart Tolle

 

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22 Responses to A Fresh New Year: Why Is That So Important?

  1. jkissnhug says:

    Wishing you a Happy Now.

  2. Donna Madrid-Simonetti says:

    Happy New Year, Kim!
    One moment at a time.
    Peace to you! More Nature 2017. 🙂

  3. Patricia Clair says:

    You said our thoughts create our feelings but I always thought it was the other way around-If my feeling get hurt then I have bad thoughts! Interesting how it works both ways. I love your writings Kim.

  4. Sparkyjen says:

    Nice reblog from your archives. I also eat sauerkraut. It’s a great way to alleviate acid reflux, so I eat it every morning before breakfast. I thought about this with my 2nd tablespoon full today, and felt thankful that I have added this wonderful habit to my daily doings. Interestingly enough, I have been blog hopping today as usual, and have run into several blogs that have also published traditionally New Year’s superstitions. I had no clue, but how interesting. I love learning about new and different things, and that’s one of the many wonderful perks we get from reading post from our fellow bloggers. Just a mention…I listened to one a E.Tolle cd before I went to sleep last night. It’s great for doing Reiki too! Happy New Year…each and every day. Just Being able to live one present moment at a time is truly a gift we can choose for ourselves 365 days of the year!!!

  5. Rob Weir says:

    Your blog is always refreshing and insightful. Wishing you a Happy Now and a most Enjoyous Everyday.

  6. Reblogged this on Nature Is My Therapy and commented:

    Reblogging this New Year’s post from my archives because many of you liked it. And I do too. See you in 2017!

  7. Cindy says:

    Great post, Kim! I found it all good but the most helpful was the part about the cookies. Man! How often have I “thrown away the day” by doing just what you described. Living in the moment is actually the secret to living right. It´s good to have that brought back to mind. Thanks!

  8. Kim I love that last quote and realising we can change out though patterns in each moment is a great way to stop the downward thoughts and just start living with more optimism and awareness. Happy New Year to you. I love the ducks they are so beautiful.

  9. Judy P. says:

    Kim,
    The beginning of the year is a perfect time to look inward, to set aside time to work on ourselves, to change the things that no longer work in our lives, and to make time for things that make us happy. Thank you for writing about Tolle, as I have not read him yet. Like you, I have begun to look into meditation, and have discovered an app that you may like. It’s called calm.com and includes guided meditations for 2-30 minutes on such topics as self acceptance, focus, and forgiveness. Best wishes for the year ahead!

  10. I have decided to quit smoking and I remember last year I did the same thing for 3 months but as soon as I slipped up I considered it a fail and started smoking again. It is not an option this year. One day at a time. Good luck in 2015.

  11. An excellent post! We all need reminding of this. And I absolutely LOVE Eckhart Tolle. I’m currently reading You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and finding many of the same messages in her book. Really good stuff for taking control of one’s thoughts.

  12. QuietKeepers says:

    What a beautiful — and helpful — New Year’s message, Kim. Thank you for it and for redirecting me to the moment. Happy Now to you, too!

  13. Littlesundog says:

    I have never followed the superstitions that many people insist on. Down here in Oklahoma it’s Black-eyed peas that one must consume on New Year’s Day. And you are right, being mindful about change and being cognizant of the pitfalls and triggers that take us off course help us focus on the moment of now. I love Eckhart Tolle’s approach to being mindful. He’s one of my favorite modern day philosophers!

  14. Redterrain says:

    You’re so absolutely right. Most often I analyse what I could be doing better (I make mistakes!) and try to be a good person always. I hope you get to see plenty of natures gifts over the next 12 months!

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