Whenever we’re thinking about the day to start something new, we often let the calendar guide our decision about when to get going. “Next week” or “next month” is always when the diet, exercise, budgeting, or creative exploration makes sense to start.
And it’s not just the next week or month — it’s a particular day like the 1st or a Monday. Those days, we have determined, are the Days to Start Something New, capitalized because they’re as hallowed as other capitalized holidays.
Of course, what happens is that we decide that we’ll wait until the Day to Start Something New to start those new projects, but when those actual days roll around, life, the unfinished stuff of yesterday, and the urgency spiral link up like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and smash our plans and hopes to bits. Unlike the Power Rangers, they do not wait until the end of the episode to work us over — we know before the Day to Start Something New that it’s not going to happen.
In response, we often add another few bullet points of justification to the negative stories we tell ourselves and decide that we need to wait until the next Day to Start Something New to try again or give up because, obviously, it wasn’t meant to be. Wait, rinse, and repeat.
It sounds absurd when written out, but be honest with yourself: how much of your life have you spent waiting for the next Day to Start Something New? How many projects have you stalled on because you missed your sacred start date?
Time is arbitrary in so many different ways. The 1st of the month is a human artifice, as is Monday and New Year’s Day. As is whatever date Day to Start Something New falls on for you.
That also means that today can be your Day to Start Something New. That 30-day habit streak can start today just as well as the 1st. Your week to get something done can start on a Thursday as well as on a Monday. Tomorrow is the next best starting day, as long as ‘tomorrow’ isn’t your own code word for “never.”
We thrive by doing our best work. Sages from Aristotle to the Dalai Lama have asserted that the goal of human activity is to thrive. Language, cultural context, and nuance varies, but the rough idea is the same.
Switching the emphasis from “thrive” to “human action” reveals one of the surprising double meanings that wisdom maxim usually carry: we thrive via action, or, more simply stated, we thrive by doing. The obvious challenge is that there are certain kinds of actions that lead to our thriving. Luckily, you already know the doing you need to do to move you toward thriving. Yes, it’s tied to the idea that’s nagging you.
I call the work that leads to our thriving best work, but because work is a complex concept that comes with a variety of meanings, contexts, and connotations, I’ll describe what I’m calling best work:
- Your best work can be sacred
- Only you can do your best work
- Your best work serves you and others
- Your best work requires really showing up
- Your best work is easily displaced by other stuff
- Your best work is more than just your “job”
Life is short enough as it is. Don’t spend what few days you have waiting for the arbitrary Day to Start Something New when that day can be today. (Tweet this!)
And if you need help to do more of the work that matters by converting ideas into finished projects, Start Finishing can help.