We are on the verge of 2024. A new reset. A new beginning. A new start for whatever you want.
Yet who decided that the 1st of January should be the starting line of a new year? And why? What is the role that these firsts & starts play in our lives?
Did you ever think of it?
- 1 century = 100 years
- 1 decade = 10 years
- 1 year = 12 months
- 1 season = 3 months
- 1 month = 30 days
- 1 week = 7 days
- 1 day = 24 hours
- 1 hour = 60 minutes
- 1 minute = 60 seconds
There are so many cycles we guide our lives by and yet…what are, actually, their roles besides just measuring time?
- From a MINDSET perspective, timelines help us set correct expectations toward achieving a goal.
- From a VALUE perspective, they help us evaluate the things around us, at scale, through a pragmatic pair of lenses – the time input.
- From a VISION perspective, they help us set resilient and realistic mindsets. Remember and note this down: great outcomes and goals take time and perseverance.
- … last but not least: from an ANTHROPOLOGICAL standpoint, timelines help us have a SENSE OF PROGRESS which is one of the most important factors in any equation we address in life, whether it’s business, social capital, economics, health, or artistic. This is what I want to talk to you about today.
We are human beings wired to evolve. Therefore, having a sense of progress plays a fundamental role in our capacity to stay motivated toward our goals.
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU DON’T SEE PROGRESS, EVEN IF IT’S THERE, AND THERE IS A NAME FOR THIS IN NEUROSCIENCE: THE HABITUATION EFFECT.
The habituation effect refers to our tendency to overlook or become less aware of things in our lives once they become routine or familiar to us.
It is a psychological concept explored (among others) by Tali Sharot – neuroscientist and professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London and MIT in her book Look Again: The Power of Noticing What Was Always There. The book presents a groundbreaking new study of how disrupting our well-worn routines, both good and bad, can rejuvenate our days and reset our brains to allow us to live happier and more fulfilling lives.
> Here’s a great episode that deconstructs the subject & how it affects multiple areas of our lives.
WHAT IS THERE TO DO WHEN YOU DON’T PERCEIVE A SENSE OF PROGRESS IN YOUR LIFE? (whether it’s not there or you just don’t see it)
1) You temporarily break your routines. You shake & shift your attention to better acknowledge where you’re at in your life.
2) You introduce something different to refresh your creativity & perspective. (It could be a new hobby / a new book / a new experience or a habit).
3) When there’s an area where you acknowledge progressing, yet it’s rather slow-paced and without too much of what you can do to accelerate it (Growing a startup could be a great example) you can introduce a temporary pursuit, to fill in for that sense of progress (such as preparing for a marathon). It’s easier to mark milestones and gives you a sense of ownership.
What’s important to keep in mind is that life is not a one-way option, It’s a crossroads highway. When a road gets blocked, there’s always another way you can take that can lead you to the same desired destination, as long as you just keep moving.
Bestselling author and Marketing Professor, Adam Alter, approaches various options on how people & organizations keep moving forward in his bestseller The Anatomy of a Breakthrough.
Adam has spent the past two decades studying how organizations and people get stuck and what is the path to get back on track with progress.
> This is a great podcast episode on the matter to give you a deeper understanding of the topic.
To sum it all up and get back to the title of the article: why does the beginning of a New Year set us to start new pursuits? Because it’s the breaking point that we need to go through, before starting a new cycle.
It’s the temporary interruption of our routines – a step that we need to take to re-acknowledge how far we’ve actually come.
A powerful technique to make you feel grateful first and motivated to start new goals…or reinforce your commitment to sticking with the current ones.
Timelines and cycles not only serve as measures of time and other life aspects but have also a profound influence on our individual and psychological development – to calibrate us so that we can move forward.
Have an amazing 2024!