Groundhog Day: When New Year’s resolutions die

Happy Groundhog Day! This funny old holiday, based on a tradition that if the groundhog sees his shadow on this day, if it’s a sunny day, that means there will be a long winter yet to come.
And if the groundhog does not see his shadow, if it’s a cloudy day, then we will have an early spring.
Now, I enjoy holidays like this, these old traditions from around the world, where we can have a little bit of a special flavour for every day.
So it is just another day, in perhaps the dreariest of all months, February, but it has a special flavour now, as Groundhog Day.
And this time of year, in the Christian tradition, Candlemas.
In the pagan tradition, the cross-quarter between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
It’s that halfway point between beginning of winter and beginning of spring.
And it does feel like this time of year is really when you start to see the sunlight coming back here in the north.
January: of course the days are getting very slightly longer, but it really has this feeling of stasis, where it’s just permawinter, and just every day kind of the same coldness and darkness just ongoing.
But by this point, beginning of February, you just start to see that each day is getting just that little bit longer, and there’s that feeling that the sun is coming back.
Now, it seems way premature to call this the beginning of spring, but it really is like this hint of the beginning of pre-spring, you could say.
I almost see this time of year as like this little New Year’s.
It’s like that next step of New Year’s.
Because January has a feeling of its own.
January is this whole month that we have to really get things started with the year.
And by the time we get to the end of January, now it’s that time when that new year feeling has really worn off, that kind of freshness, the new start feeling.
Well, after four weeks of winter in January, Christmas long gone, New Year long gone, that feeling has usually faded by now.
And it’s also the time of year when New Year’s resolutions are quickly dying off all over.
I see this as a time to really look at your New Year’s resolutions, look at your New Year’s plans, and really kind of give them a fresh review and see where you are.
Because this is really the time when either these resolutions die, or they can be sustained through the new year.
Because this is the time when that initial wave is done, the initial enthusiasm, the initial burst of motivation that comes from that fresh new year number.
That’s all worn off by now, and all there is is just the year.
It’s just normal year time.
So all those dreams and aspirations and plans that were no deeper than that first wave of enthusiasm: they will be dead by now, or almost done.
But resolutions, plans, projects that are real, that have real commitment to them: they will survive.
And once they get this far, if they can go that extra step, they can make it all the way through the year.
Because this is the biggest test of all.
If you can survive that initial burst of enthusiasm and get through that wave, and then ride through the trough after the wave, the trough of no enthusiasm, no special motivation, just regular, normal days- if you can continue what you started in the high and enthusiasm of the holiday season and make it through this trough, then you can make it all the way through to the next wave in the spring, the second wind, when things start to take off, start to see results, start to see progress, and then can keep going.
And then, when the troughs come again, you know that you’ve survived that first trough of no motivation.
So I find now is a great time to take a look at my resolutions, my plans for the new year, and see where I’m at, and see: am I ready and willing to continue? Can I move things forward past this transient New Year’s spike of enthusiasm, comes by every year and just as quickly evaporates? Can I get through that and make a real change this year? And if you can dig in and do it, you have the light on your side, light is coming back, sun’s coming back.
Very slowly, the spring is coming.
And you can carry your new changes, your new life, right through into it.

#newyearsresolutions #newyearsresolutionfail #groundhogday

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